What is the frequency of a heavyweight matchup in the SEC that does not feature Kentucky? This year, Alabama as well Tennessee seem to be the two best teams in the SEC.
The excitement surrounding this game has been somewhat dampened by Tennessee's recent results. Two consecutive games the Vols have lost on buzzer-beating 3-pointers have robbed college basketball fans of a top-five matchup.
These are still the best teams in the league, and we have the No.1 team in the nation going on the road into a hostile environment.
Alabama is a bit of an anomaly in terms of a team. Only ten teams have been ranked among the top 10 in Adjusted Tempo (dating back from 2001-02) and Adjusted Defense Efficiency (AdjDE) using pre-tournament KenPom data.
It is only four teams that have achieved this feat since 2010, namely 2022 Gonzaga and 2021 Gonzaga. 2019 UNC and... 2021 Alabama. The 2023 Tide are poised to join this illustrious group. They currently sit second in Adjusted Tempo and sixth in AdjDE.
This combination is extremely rare, as it is very difficult to do. Transition possessions can be played quickly, which is why they are more efficient than half-court ones.
Nate Oats cracked the code. He brought in a wide roster of defenders, and the Tide are especially dominant at the rim.
Charles Bediako & Noah Clowney make a frightening duo in the low post. They both possess shot-blocking instincts and have mastered the principles of verticality, which allows them to challenge everything.
Nationally, the Tide ranks third in Shot Quality's "Rim & 3 Ratio" on offense and 10th defensively.
They are mathematically superior every time they take to the court.
This is how you can create a juggernaut by giving that edge to a talented roster. Brandon Miller is the obvious star, but Mark Sears, a mid-major import, has quietly been a star.
Rylan Griffen, a four-star freshman, has become a crucial two-way player.
After the Vols dropped three of their last four games, many are panicking about Tennessee. Two of those were on the road to non tournament teams.
However, I will still encourage patience.
Unfavorable shooting has played a major role in the downturn. For most of the season, no one was making 3s against the Vols defense. Vandy and Mizzou combined went 24-of-51 (47.1%) deep and suddenly, the sky is falling. You can be sure that this team is still an outstanding defensive unit. Volunteers have Zakai Zeigler, an on-ball bulldog. They also have copious size at all positions. Health is the main concern in Tennessee. Two of its most versatile players, big wings Josiah Jordan James and Julian Phillips, are currently dealing with injuries.
Phillips was unable to return after playing only 10 minutes. Tennessee is much more vulnerable without those Swiss Army knives players they have been missing.Both players are being reported as being game-time decisions for Wednesday's epic clash. As the opening tip approaches, keep an eye on their status.
For many seasons, the Vols have been plagued by problems on the offensive side of the ball. Rick Barnes manages a motion-based offense that includes off-ball screening. This helps to minimize the responsibility of individual creators.
It has been critical that the attack has slowed down against smaller foes and zone defenses. Tennessee is able to overwhelm opponents inside due to its size and the roster boasts skilled shooters, including Santiago Vescovi.
However, the Vols may experience droughts if they are unable to get paint touches.
The last matchup between these two teams was in December of 2021 and the Tide rolled 73-68 at Tennessee.
Miller - ALA
J.Quinerly - ALA
JJJ and Phillips for Tennessee are huge when considering betting on this game. If they are both healthy and ready to go then Tennessee might be your bet, Either way, I like Bama getting +2.5 points.
With the over under in this game at 145.5, I will hammer the under on this game. Tennessee has issues sometimes shooting the ball especially if the inside game isn’t working. I look for a game in the mid to high 60s. Bet the under.
Alabama vs Tennessee How to Watch 🏀
📅 Date: Wednsday, February 15
🕚 Game Time: 7:00 pm
📺 How to Watch: ESPN2
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