It’s tournament time for Tide Hoops, as the Crimson Tide opens up SEC Tournament play with the 11th-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores tonight in Tampa, Florida. The Tide prevailed over the ‘Dores in their first meeting in Nashville just a few weeks ago, but it certainly wasn’t easy, and Vandy is playing its best ball of the season at the right time. This will be a legitimately tough game for Alabama to prevail in tonight.
The main reason for that is because Vanderbilt is finally healthy and playing its best five together for, really, the first time all year, with Rodney Chatman and Liam Robbins joining Scotty Pippen Jr, Jordan Wright, and Myles Stute in the starting unit. Alabama will likely counter with Jahvon Quinerly, Jaden Shackelford, Keon Ellis, Noah Gurley, and Charles Bediako, although Quinerly had one his best performances of the season off of the bench against Vanderbilt in the last meeting.
While the Tide’s place in the NCAA Tournament is secure, there is still a lot at stake tonight. For one, Alabama will be trying to defend its SEC Tournament title from last season. Seeding in the Big Dance will also be on the line, and Alabama’s current psyche could really use a strong performance coming off consecutive losses to start the month of March last week.
The game will tip 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Mississippi State - South Carolina game that is currently ongoing. SEC Network will carry the broadcast. The Tide is a 5-point favorite.