The second game of the third round of the SEC tournament will be between the No. 4 seeded Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 5 seeded Tennessee Volunteers. These two teams split the regular season meetings with only a four point difference for both games.
Alabama needs this game to make the NCAA tournament; it’s as simple as that. The Crimson Tide have lost too many bad games this season to make the tournament without a few marquee wins. Alabama’s best wins all season were against Tennessee, Villanova, and Kentucky; all of which are bubble teams. The Crimson Tide cannot make the NCAA tournament without at least two wins in the SEC tournament.
Tennessee is the hottest team in the conference and is coming off a huge win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Volunteers have the opportunity to make the NCAA tournament even with a loss, but a win would mean that they wouldn’t be nervous on Selection Sunday. The more momentum that builds for the Volunteers, the more potential NCAA tournament opponents don’t want to face them.
The game between the Volunteers and the Crimson Tide will be one of the best games of the entire tournament because both teams are on the outside looking into the NCAA tournament and a win would cement their position. Both Tennessee and Alabama are strong defensive teams, so expect this game to come down to a shoot out between Trevor Releford and Jordan McRae. Expect that ultimately the game will rest on the play of Tennessee’s point guard Trae Golden. Tennessee believes they can win the SEC tournament, and it is going to take a much better team than Alabama to stop the Volunteers.