Alabama senior leader Levi Randolph and his teammates leave to Knoxville today for Saturday’s Southeastern Conference basketball game against Tennessee. There’s reason to suggest confidence would be higher if the game was in Tuscaloosa.
Levi Rancolph said that despite Alabama’s poor record on the road – 0-11 last year and 0-2 this season – that Crimson Tide Coach Anthony Grant has given them something of a roadmap to success. “Coach tells us that defense travels,” Randolph said.
Bama will be taking its defense to Tennessee for Saturday’s 1 p.m. CST game. It will be telecast by the SEC Network.
A problem, though, is that will be a good defense waiting on the Tide.
Grant said the Tennessee press causes “chaos,” and that the Vols then set up in an effective zone.
The teams are fairly even statistically in defense with the Vols giving up 62.8 points per game and the Tide allowing 63.4 per game. (Offensively, Bama is averaging 71.6 ppg, UT 65.9.)
Both teams head into the second conference game of the year off good wins. The Vols took a 61-47 win at Mississippi State, while Alabama played perhaps its best game of the year in dispatching of Texas A&M 65-44 in Coleman Coliseum.
Tennessee is now 9-4 overall and Alabama is 11-3. Both teams have five-game winning streaks, Bama’s wins all coming in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama has good reason to expect a tough game Saturday. The last four times the teams have met in Thompson-Boling Arena have resulted in games decided by a total of only 12 points. There have been two overtime finishes. Alabama’s last win in Knoxville was in 2011, a 65-60 overtime decision.
Alabama is led offensively by Randolph, averaging 15.7 points per game. Junior guard Ricky Tarrant is averaging 13.2 ppg and senior wing guard Rodney Cooper 10.5. Sophomore forward Michael Kessens leads in rebounds, 5.8 per game.
Tennessee is led by senior guard Josh Richardson, who averages 16.1 ppg.