The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (21-3, 11-0 SEC) on Wednesday travel to South Carolina (10-17, 3-11 SEC). Alabama is 16-point favorites, according to ESPN’s PickCenter.
Winners of five of its last six games, the Crimson Tide come off a 49-point win over Georgia. With a perfect 11-0 conference record, Alabama sits atop the SEC a half-game ahead of Texas A&M. Joe Lunardi ranked the Crimson Tide as the top overall seed in his most recent 2023 NCAA Tournament Bracketology.
On the other side, South Carolina has rarely had the same success as its opponent. The Gamecocks have lost nine of its last 11 games, which includes eight-in-a-row from Jan. 14 to Feb. 7. South Carolina snapped its losing streak with a 64-61 win over Ole Miss before losing to Vanderbilt 75-64.
In its most recent outing, the Gamecocks defeated LSU 82-73 behind 20-point performances from Gregory Jackson II and Meechie Johnson. Jackson II leads the team with 15.3 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Controversy Surrounding the Crimson Tide
Off of the court, the Alabama men’s basketball program has battled a slew of recent off-court issues.
On Jan. 15, Alabama forward Darius Miles, 21, and Michael Lynn Davis, 20, were charged with capital murder following an off-campus shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Harris. Miles is no longer with the program and had bond denied by a judge on Tuesday.
Alabama guard Brandon Miller, who leads the SEC with 18.7 points per game, provided the handgun used in the murder, according to the police in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Miller has not been charged with any crime and remains with the program.
Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats found himself a part of the controversy after his comments following the news about Miller’s involvement.
“We knew about that,” Oats said according to an article from ESPN. “Can’t control everything anybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. … Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble, nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at the wrong time.”
He later apologized for his comments in a statement released Tuesday night.
“In no way did I intend to downplay the seriousness of this situation or the tragedy of that night,” Oats said. “My prayers continue to go out to Jamea Harris’s family.”
Around the SEC
In addition to Alabama and South Carolina, six more SEC teams are in action Wednesday night.
To start the night, LSU (12-15, 1-13 SEC) hosts Vanderbilt (15-12, 8-6 SEC) at 7 p.m. Florida (14-13, 7-7 SEC) looks to get revenge against Kentucky (18-9, 9-5 SEC) in a rematch of the Wildcats’ 72-67 win on Feb. 4.
Following the conclusion of the LSU-Vanderbilt game, Auburn (18-9, 8-6 SEC) hosts Ole Miss (10-17, 2-12 SEC).