Bubble Watch: Alabama Crimson Tide Likely to Find Themselves in Quarterfinal “Play-in” Game

Kelly Lambert-USA Today Sports

If you look at the bracket within the SEC Tournament, you will see that the Alabama Crimson Tide earned the No. 4 seed. This gives Alabama an automatic bye into the quarterfinal round, but if you look at who their eventual opponent is, you can instantly get the vibe that that quarterfinal match-up may just be a “play-in” game between two teams that currently sit directly on the bubble.

The 5th seed in the tournament field is none other than the red-hot Tennessee Volunteers, who have virtually burst onto the scene out of nowhere thanks in large to the leadership of Jarnell Stokes and the scoring prowess of Jordan McRae. Considering the Vols can dispatch of either 12th-seeded South Carolina or 13th-seeded Mississippi State, Tennessee would move forward to the quarterfinal round, establishing a date with the Crimson Tide in the process.

Although things can certainly change if either the Gamecocks or Bulldogs put an end to the Vols’ chances of dancing, but let’s just assume Tennessee and Alabama square off on Friday. During the regular season, the two teams split their season series, with each team taking care of business on their respected home courts. With two teams that are so similar within their respected resumes, there is no doubt that the winner of this potential match-up would easily have the upper hand.

Over the weekend, Alabama caught a break when Trevor Releford buried a legitimate half-court buzzer beater to break a tie and give the Crimson Tide a much needed victory in their regular season finale. Albeit they hope a half-court buzzer beater is not what they’d like to rely on, Releford is.

The team’s starting point guard needs to set the tone early in their quarterfinal match-up, no matter who their opponent is and prove that Alabama belongs in the NCAA Tournament.

 

Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS

 

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