Alabama (13-18) vs. LSU (18-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 13, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Georgia Dome (71,228) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: SEC Network, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Alabama 13-4, LSU 13-3. Away Record: Alabama 0-11, LSU 3-8. Neutral Record: Alabama 0-3, LSU 2-1. Conference Record: Alabama 7-10, LSU 9-9. Series Record: Alabama leads, 103-68.
GAME NOTES: The second round of the SEC Tournament continues on Thursday night, as the 10th-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide tangle with the seventh-seeded LSU Tigers at the Georgia Dome.
The winner will advance to the quarterfinals, where it will take on second- seeded Kentucky on Friday night.
Alabama has turned things around of late with wins in three of its last five bouts, including a convincing 83-58 triumph over Arkansas in the regular- season finale, but it has still been a disappointment this season at 13-18 while finishing 7-10 in conference action. The Tide have yet to win a game outside of Tuscaloosa, going 0-14 combined in road and neutral-court matchups.
LSU (18-12, 9-9 SEC) was once in the conversation for NCAA Tournament consideration, especially after its Jan. 28 win over nationally-ranked Kentucky, but it has gone just 5-6 since then. The Tigers' regular season wrapped up with a home loss to Georgia, 69-61.
LSU won the only meeting during the regular season, 82-80 in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 25. Alabama leads the all-time series, 103-68.
Alabama enjoyed their most dominant SEC victory of the season last Saturday, outshooting Arkansas from the field, 54.7 percent to 31.3 percent, in the 25- point triumph. Trevor Releford paced the winning effort with 24 points on 7- of-12 shooting from the field. Shannon Hale came off the bench to net 18 points, while Levi Randolph and Jimmie Taylor poured in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Tide's offense has underwhelmed this season at 68.2 ppg and 44.7 percent field goal shooting (33.6 percent from 3-point range), which spoils a solid defensive effort (.416, 67.2 ppg). Releford is one of the league's premiere playmakers with 18.8 ppg, 3.1 apg and 2.2 spg, while Retin Obasohan (9.6 ppg), Randolph (9.5 ppg) and Hale (8.8 ppg) have also been solid.
LSU battled through five ties and 10 lead changes in its most recent contest but could not hold off Georgia in the eight-point loss, as it shot only 36.4 percent from the floor, including a woeful 5-of-23 from 3-point range. Andre Stringer put up 22 points, Jarell Martin had 13 points in a reserve role and Jordan Mickey was stellar up front with nine points and eight boards.
The Tigers have kept afloat this season thanks mostly to a strong offensive attack, which shoots 44.3 percent from the field for 75.6 ppg, but unfortunately their scoring defense (71.3 ppg) ranks just 12th in the league. The team is led by a great frontcourt duo in Johnny O'Bryant III (15.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and Mickey (13.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.2 bpg), who both shoot greater than 49 percent from the field. Rounding out the balanced unit are Stringer (11.9 ppg), Martin (10.2 ppg), Anthony Hickey (9.0 ppg) and Shavon Coleman (8.8 ppg).
Despite Alabama's upward swing in recent weeks, it has still been terrible outside of its home arena. LSU's offensive explosion will give it the upper hand in this one, especially with its clear advantage in the frontcourt.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: LSU 74, Alabama 67
03/13 10:35:02 ET