No. 9 seeded Alabama (16-15, 8-10 SEC) faces No. 8 seeded Tennessee (17-14, 9-9 SEC) at 1 p.m. in the second round of the SEC Tournament on Thursday. The winner of the matchup will advance to the quarterfinals to play No. 1 seeded and regular season champion Kentucky on Friday.
- The matchup will mark the 16th time Alabama meets Tennessee in the SEC Tournament
- Alabama leads the all-time series against Tennessee 79-70, which started in 1914
- Alabama has been seeded No.9 or No.10 in six of the last seven SEC Tournaments
- Tennessee has advanced to the SEC Championship in each of the last two seasons
The last meeting was a close one
Tennessee beat Alabama 69-68 in their last matchup on Feb. 4. Volunteers junior forward John Fulkerson led the team with 22 points and three rebounds in the game, but he wasn’t the only one who reached double-digit points.
The Volunteers had two others post double-digits. Guard Jordan Bowden scored 20 points and guard Yves Pons had 14.
The Vols, however, were unsuccessful in slowing Alabama’s leading scorer, guard Kira Lewis Jr., last time out.
Lewis posted 19 points, four assists and three rebounds against the Volunteers. The 6-foot-3 guard averages 18.5 points per game and 5.2 assists this season.
Players to Watch
Lewis is only the second player in Alabama basketball history to reach 1,000 points in two seasons.
Can find these clips of Kira Lewis Jr in most Bama games but doesn’t make them any less impressive: speed, balance, and finish pic.twitter.com/Us9OhwOYMr
— fendo (@dancingwithnoah) March 4, 2020
Pons, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, has blocked a shot in every game this season. He leads the SEC with 2.4 blocks per game.
Yves Pons with an incredible block pic.twitter.com/MIM5Qitzau
— Jordan Dajani (@JordanDajani) February 8, 2020
On the other side of the ball, Crimson Tide forward Herbert Jones also made the SEC All-Defensive team. He averages 6.4 rebounds per game, despite playing with a fractured left wrist for all of February.
Jones may play without a cast on Thursday after practicing without it on Wednesday, per Al.com Alabama beat reporter Michael Casagrande. This means Alabama fans may see some two-handed free throws from their lefty guard come Thursday.
— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) March 1, 2020
Amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, the NCAA released a statement Wednesday advising that schools refrain from hosting public events in an effort to slow the spread of the virus and to protect players, employees and fans.
At this time, the SEC Tournament is still open to fans.
The @SEC is aware of the statement just released by the @NCAA. Tonight’s SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament games will continue as regularly scheduled. We are evaluating plans for the remainder of the tournament. More to come.
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) March 11, 2020
However, the SEC has taken measures to keep players, coaches, staff and attendees safe during the event. They have posted prevention signs throughout the Bridgestone Arena and sanitized the practice basketballs.
Tennessee just practiced for the SEC tournament and Alabama starts in a few minutes. First, they are switching out racks of balls with sanitized ones. pic.twitter.com/QYs2lJDnV7
— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) March 11, 2020