2021 SEC Men’s Tournament – Semifinal
No. 4 Tennessee @ No. 1 Alabama
Mar. 13, 2021 – 1:00 p.m. ET
Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
The SEC tournament semifinal round is set for Saturday as the No. 4 seed Volunteers will take on the No. 1 seed Crimson Tide in Bridgestone Arena.
The winner will advance to the SEC Championship Game on Sunday at noon.
In many ways, Alabama had the season that many expected Tennessee to have before the year started. A dominant run leading the division would end up resulting in the number one seed in the conference tournament. But Alabama played above their expectations, and Tennessee struggled at times down the stretch of the season. Throw the expectations and predictions out the window though, because, at this point, both teams have one win in between them and a shot at the SEC crown. Which means anything can happen.
After Tennessee defeated Florida on Friday, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said that he would be “surprised” to see John Fulkerson play on Saturday after sustaining an injury against the Gators.
Alabama won’t be walking into the game without injuries of their own, however. The Tide lost SEC All-Freshman guard Josh Primo to a knee injury on Friday. Primo had to be helped off the court. Tide head coach Nate Oats said that he is hopeful his guard can play against Tennessee but is awaiting MRI results.
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Odds and Statistics
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- Spread: Alabama -4 (-110)
- Moneyline: Tennessee +154/Alabama -184
- Over/Under: 140 (-110)
- Tennessee Point Total: O/U 68 (-110)
- Alabama Point Total: O/U 72 (-110)
The Vols are 47-60 in 107 games since 1949-1950 against Alabama.
Rick Barnes’ Tennessee teams have won three out of their last five games against the Tide.
- Alabama 71 @ No. 7 Tennessee 63 – 1/2/2021
- Tennessee 69 @ Alabama 68 – 2/4/20
- Alabama 68 @ No. 3 Tennessee 71 – 1/19/19
- No. 15 Tennessee 50 @ Alabama 78 2/10/2018
- Alabama 54 @ Tennessee 59 – 3/4/17
- Points: Jaden Springer – 12.4 PPG, 48.4 FG%, 80.4 FT%
- Assists: Santiago Vescovi – 3.1 APG, 2.0 TOPG, 28.9 MPG
- Rebounds: Josiah-Jordan James – 6.1 RPG, 4.0 DRPG, 2.1 ORPG
- Points: Jaden Shackelford – 14.4 PPG, 40.8 FG%, 75.2 FT%
- Assists: Herbert Jones – 3.1 APG, 2.8 TOPG, 27 MPG
- Rebounds: Herbert Jones – 6.1 RPG, 4.1 DRPG, 2.0 ORPG
There’s no doubt about it, Tennessee is likely going to have to play their best game of the year against Alabama. With a spot in the SEC Championship Game on the line, Tennessee will likely be without their engine of the team, John Fulkerson. Yet, at the same time, losing standout guard Josh Primo is going to be just as big of a loss, production-wise, for Alabama.
Alabama climbed the ranks all season long after racking up win after win, especially early in the season. Additionally, the Tide burst onto the scene with their high volume and make percentage from behind the arc, and is what they are known for now.
But, judging by the win against Florida, maybe something has finally clicked for Tennessee. Tennessee looked like a different team than just a few games ago, playing an aggressive and up-tempo, yet patient and balanced style of basketball. The Vols had a team effort on the scoreboard in their win against Florida and will need to continue that on Saturday if they want to have any chance.
The Vols SEC semifinal matchup is going to be a tough test, and luckily, it’s just on the road to the big dance. Tennessee has already helped their seed stock with a win against Florida, so a loss here wouldn’t be too detrimental. Ultimately, I expect Tennessee to compete. They have been playing well as of late, and have extra motivation after the flagrant foul to Fulkerson in the game before.
Unfortunately, I don’t think Saturday is going to be the game for the Vols. But that doesn’t mean the team can’t gain some confidence and momentum in a hard-fought loss.
Alabama 76, Tennessee 72