With a newly appointed #1 ranking at its side, the Alabama Crimson Tide head to the treacherous town of Knoxville, TN to take on the top-ten Tennessee Volunteers. In what would easily be the SEC’s Game of the Year if not for Tennessee’s recent slide, Alabama will absolutely need to bring it’s best if they want to keep that top ranking in all of the land intact, because the Vols are still among the nation’s best when they are playing to their full potential.
I’m prewriting this as of about 4:00 PM CST - gonna be on dad duty for the next few hours - but there are some looming injury questions hovering over this game. We know the verdict on one of them, as senior wing Josiah-Jordan James will not suit up for the Vols tonight:
Tennessee wing Josiah-Jordan James is out for Alabama game tonight with ankle injury, per UT assistant Rod Clark. Julian Phillips is game time decision with hip flexor— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) February 15, 2023
As per usual, Nate Oats is playing Charles Bediako’s knee issue close to the chest:
Alabama's Charles Bediako (knee) is a game-time decision for tonight's game against Tennessee, but is "leaning towards a go", per Nate Oats. Averages 5.6 PPG and 5.3 RPG.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 15, 2023
So, a lot of question marks going into this one. But it’ll almost certainly be a dandy. Expect Thompson-Boling Arena to be as raucous as Neville Arena was on Saturday, except with a lot more folks than can fit in that little shoebox in Auburn. Even with Tennessee’s recent issues, the Vols are likely still the second-best team in the conference, and there is a very good chance these two will be meeting with much larger stakes come March.
A wounded animal is a dangerous one, and that’s what Alabama will find awaiting them tonight. In fact, Tennessee is listed as a 3-point favorite. The game will tip at 6:00 PM CST and will be televised on ESPN2.