Alabama Hoops must handle business, should get help this week

Florida v Alabama
Florida v Alabama / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

Coming off a deflating loss at Kentucky, Alabama Basketball has another tough week ahead. The Crimson Tide will endure another road environment at Ole Miss before coming home to host no. 4 Tennessee, currently the top team in the SEC.

While Alabama and Tennessee have identical 11-3 conference records, the Vols have the head-to-head advantage, having beaten the Crimson Tide handily in Knoxville. While Bama has two difficult games this week that are far from guaranteed wins, it should get some help in the SEC title race this week assuming the Tide takes care of business. 

In addition to Alabama and Tennessee, two other schools are one game out of first place with double-digit SEC wins. 11th-ranked Auburn and 18th-ranked South Carolina both have 10-4 league records. Just like Alabama, all three of the other schools in the championship hunt will have challenging weeks. 

South Carolina plays at Texas A&M on Wednesday night. Though the Aggies have been relatively unimpressive this season, they are a dangerous team and feature one of the best shot-makers in the league in Wade Taylor IV. Beating them on the road is not a given.

The Gamecocks also host no. 24 Florida on Saturday night. The Gators took Alabama to overtime in Tuscaloosa and have been a very good offensive team as of late. Between these two games, it’s not hard to see South Carolina dropping at least one game this week. 

The other two teams in the top four of the SEC, Auburn and Tennessee, will face off in a top-15 showdown in Knoxville on Wednesday evening. This should be a high-level college basketball game from start to finish. While either outcome would both help and hurt Bama’s title odds in a way, there is a best case scenario.

Ideally, the Tigers and the Vols will beat each other up all night, and maybe even need an overtime or two. The Vols ultimately win a close one, giving Auburn a loss, but then can’t find their legs and fall to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. 

Even this back-to-back stretch against top-15 opponents won’t be Tennessee’s last opportunity to lose. The Vols get South Carolina and Kentucky next week, closing out the regular season against four straight top-20 teams.

The SEC title race looks like it's going to come right down to the wire. Even outside of the top four, Kentucky and Florida are looming with 9-5 records and could easily play their way back into the conversation. 

Look for some contenders to fall this week, as Alabama Basketball tries to navigate a gauntlet of its own.