Alabama welcomes a surging Florida team to Tuscaloosa

Texas A&M v Alabama
Texas A&M v Alabama / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

No. 13 Alabama vs no. 24 Florida will tip off at 6:00 CT (7:00 ET) in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The game will be televised on ESPN. 

Alabama should be well-rested heading into Wednesday’s top-25 showdown with the Florida Gators. In the two full weeks since a humbling loss at Auburn, the Crimson Tide has played just two games. It won both handily, beating LSU by 17, Texas A&M by 25, and scoring over 100 points in both contests. It appears the rivalry loss to Auburn forced an Alabama Basketball squad that has been at or near the top of the SEC all season to refocus.  

Even at home, where the Tide has burned up the nets en route to a 12-1 record, it won’t be easy to keep it rolling against a talented and confident Florida team.

The Gators, winners of seven of their last eight games after an ugly 1-3 start in conference play, are one of the hottest teams in the SEC. Their most impressive wins during this stretch include a win over Kentucky in Rupp Arena and a largely uncompetitive win over a good Auburn squad. 

Florida is led by its dynamic backcourt duo of transfers Walter Clayton (Iona) and Zyon Pullin (UC-Riverside). Much like Coach Nate Oats, Florida’s Todd Golden has found success poaching standouts from the mid-major level. 

Clayton leads the Gators with 16.4 points per game, while Pullin contributes 15.5 points per game along with a team-high 4.9 assists per outing. Both are experienced, high-level creators and shot-makers that can give opponents headaches. In some ways, they have similarities to the Alabama backcourt of Mark Sears and Aaron Estrada.

Florida is also dangerous on the wing, where it has two athletic scorers in Will Richard and Riley Kugel, both of whom are scoring in double-figures. Down low, 5th-year senior and Seton Hall transfer Tyrese Samuel does a lot of work for the Gators, averaging just under 13 points and eight rebounds per night. 7-foot Marshall transfer Micah Handlogten has been impactful as well, and the Gators will bring significant size and length off the bench with freshmen Alex Condon and Thomas Haugh. 

This should be a competitive game against two teams that are firmly situated in the top half of the SEC. If Alabama is truly the class of the league, however, it should handle the Gators in Coleman Coliseum.