Members of the Florida Gators bench react after a teammate hit a three pointer against Texas A&M during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in College Station, Texas. Florida won, 83-66. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

Up Next for Gator Basketball: Alabama

Coming off a big win over Vanderbilt, the Gators men’s basketball team is set to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Both Teams in the Bubble

With the Gators being 5-6 and Alabama 6-5 in SEC play, both teams are around .500 mark. The Crimson Tide are coming off a terrible loss to Mississippi State and have had a bumpy season so far.

With March approaching fast, both teams need to perform in order to have any chance of being able to play in the tournament.

What to Expect for Alabama

 (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

For the Tide, this is the best offensive team Avery Johnson has had during his time in Tuscaloosa.

With players such as Kira Lewis Jr., John Petty, and Donta Hall, the Tide have been moving the ball around well and creating great opportunities all season.

But, there has been some inconsistency. In their previous loss to Mississippi State,  the Tide gave up 18 turnovers leading into 28 points for the Bulldogs.

The Tide are still one of the best three-point shooting teams in the SEC and are third in the SEC in rebounds. Defensive wise, there isn’t much to look at but they do have playmakers that can make some noise.

They have a block percentage of 12.7 percent, which is 40th in the country. Much of this defensive interior presence comes from 6’9″ Donta Hall.

Florida Expectations

For the Gators, the game needs to be won on the defensive side of the court. Alabama knows how to spread the ball but they are also a team that produces turnovers.

With the Gators being ranked 2nd in SEC in takeaways they have to capitalize on any turnover to win just like Mississippi State did.

Offensive wise its been the same thing all season. The Gators need to spread the court and look for open opportunities. KeVaughn Allen, Jalen Hudson, and Noah Locke also need to knock their shots with hopes that the rest of the team will find their rhythm.

Both teams are fighting for a spot in the big dance and it is crunch time. Both teams have had solid strength of schedules and have their ups and down.

It should be an interesting matchup coming this Saturday and definitely one the NCAA tournament committee will be looking at come selection Sunday.

About Juan Varela

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