Tennessee (20-11) vs. Alabama (20-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 15, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bridgestone Arena (20,000) -- Nashville, Tennessee.
Television: ESPN U. Home Record: UT 13-3, Alabama 14-3. Away Record: UT 4-7,
Alabama 4-8. Neutral Record: UT 3-1, Alabama 2-0. Conference Record: UT 11-7,
Alabama 12-6. Series Record: Alabama leads, 75-66.
GAME NOTES: The quarterfinal round of the 2013 SEC Tournament continues on
Friday afternoon, as the fifth-seeded Tennessee Volunteers take on the fourth-
seeded Alabama Crimson Tide at Bridgestone Arena.
The winner will advance to Saturday's semifinals to face the winner of the
Tennessee is the SEC's hottest team, as it has won nine of its last 10 games,
including a convincing second-round victory over Mississippi State on Thursday
afternoon, 69-53. The Vols hot streak has allowed them to improve to 20-11
this season, and they have proven to be a serious contender for the tournament
Of the four teams that received double-byes into the quarterfinals, Alabama is
the one coming in with the most question marks. It was bailed out by a game-
winning half-court shot to win its regular-season finale, 61-58, against
Georgia last Saturday to improve to 20-11 overall, but it had lost three of
its previous four leading up to that matchup. Without a strong non-conference
resume', the Tide will almost certainly need a deep run in this event to be
considered for the NCAA Tournament field.
The Tide hold a 75-66 edge in the all-time series over Tennessee, which
includes wins in three of the past four meetings. The season series was split
this year, with each team winning on the road.
The Vols found themselves up by 16 points at the half against Mississippi
State in the second round and cruised from there, winning by that same margin.
They were able to outshoot the Bulldogs from the field, 51.8 percent to 34.5
percent, and they were paced by a 17-point effort from Jordan McRae. Trae
Golden netted 15 points on 6-of-8 from the field, while Jarnell Stokes (nine
rebounds, three steals) and Quinton Chievous chipped in 10 points apiece to
the winning effort. On the season, Tennessee has a rather modest scoring
attack, putting up 66.9 ppg on 43.6 percent from the field, but it complements
it well with strong defensive pressure, holding teams to just 63.2 ppg. McRae
is the top scoring option with 16.2 ppg, while Stokes (12.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.2
bpg) can go toe-to-toe with any big man in the league. Golden brings 12.2 ppg
and a team-best 4.0 apg to the table.
Alabama saw its 13-point, second-half advantage disappear down the stretch, as
Georgia came storming back to tie the game with under a minute remaining
before Trevor Releford's half-court prayer was answered to secure the all-
important double-bye for the Crimson Tide. Releford finished with 19 points on
4-of-7 from 3-point range, and the SEC All-Defensive Team selection also
swiped three steals. Rodney Cooper was the only other player in double figures
in the winning effort with 11 points. The Tide ranks in the lower-half of the
SEC in scoring offense with just 63.7 ppg, but they are saved by an
outstanding defense that surrenders only 59.7 ppg to opponents. Releford
scores 15.6 ppg on 49 percent from the field and racks up more than two steals
per contest, while Trevor Lacey (11.9 ppg) and Cooper (10.7 ppg) are also in
the midst of solid campaigns.
With two premier defenses matching up in this one, expect points to come at a
premium. Alabama has the perimeter defenders to slow down the Vols up top, but
it doesn't have an equivalent answer for Stokes in the paint. That combined
with Tennessee's hot hand should result in a berth for the Vols in the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee 64, Alabama 60
03/15 10:42:05 ET
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