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No. 4 Tennessee at No. 14 Alabama: How To Watch, Prediction, Complete Preview

DraftKings Promo Code Tennessee Alabama basketball
Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee basketball heads to Tuscaloosa for possibly the biggest ever matchup between the Vols and Crimson Tide on the hardwood.

Alabama and Tennessee enter the game tied with one another atop the SEC standings. With three games left in the regular season, whoever wins this game will likely claim at the very least a share of the title.

Here’s everything to know about the highly anticipated matchup.

More From RTI: Making The Case For Dalton Knecht To Win Player Of The Year

How to Watch – No. 4 Tennessee (22-6, 12-3 SEC) at No. 14 Alabama (20-8, 12-3 SEC)

  • Start Time: 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT
  • Location: Coleman Coliseum
  • TV: ESPN. PxP: Dan Shulman. CC: Jay Bilas. Sideline: Jess Sims
  • Online Streaming: Watch ESPN
  • Radio (Knoxville): The Vol Network/The Vol Network App

Betting Lines

Draft Kings

  • Tennessee PK Alabama
  • Over/under 166.5


  • Alabama -1 Tennessee
  • Over/under 169

What Tennessee AC Gregg Polinsky Said About Alabama

On taking the success Tennessee had defensively at home against Alabama on the road to Coleman Coliseum

“That’s always the key. Does defense travel? We think it does, but obviously the energy you get playing in Thompson-Boling Arena, Food City Center, is tremendous. You guys saw at the roar of the crowd down the stretch in the last game (against Auburn) was big time. The crowd here just would not allow us to lose that game. And we’ll just have to bow up. I mean that will be, I’m sure, a very vibrant, hostile environment. Lived there nine years. These type of games, they’re what you kind of come here for, go there for, playing in the SEC for. So we’re going to have to bow up and play like a group of grown men.”

On anticipating Alabama mixing up things from the first matchup

“I think their concepts, and we talked about this, and philosophy, the way they play is off of NBA analytics and their schemes are terrific. I mean, what they do, how they do it, their timing, their spacing makes them uniquely difficult and the players they’ve recruited. So none of that works without really good players. And then if you have really good players, none of it works without what I just said. Right? The former. So for us, it’s going to be a great challenge. I think Coach Oats said this here, we (Tennessee) did a good job of staying out of rotations. So if you said a couple things we got to do, we got to do our very best, it’s not going to happen all night. You’re not shutting them out. They’re on a prolific scoring run, you know what they’ve done here in the SEC, but as much as we can do a great job guarding the basketball and then not give them, I think right now they’re all the way up to the fifth best offensive rebounding team in the country. That’s a nasty combination to work with, to defend. So we’ve got our work cut out for us, but I think if we can manage those two things we’ll at least give ourselves a chance to be in the game down the stretch.”

On how critical the first four or five minutes of the game will be with how Alabama jumps on teams and it being in a hostile environment

“I don’t think it’s the first three or four minutes. I think it’s all those four minute segments. I mean, you’re talking about a team that came back from 16 down in Georgia. I’m watching the first half in the locker room the other night and I think Ole Miss has them 37-23. They don’t worry about it. You talk about lightning bolts, they got a bunch of them, you know? So with them you have to understand there’s going to be runs. You have to be mature enough to play through those runs. You can’t let your emotions dictate your enthusiasm to guard. So hopefully we’re gonna even mature enough to do that and hopefully we’re gonna score the ball and do the things that, you know, we were talking about earlier offensively.”

Probable Starters

Tennessee (via UT Game Notes)

Alabama (via last game)

Team Statistics (via Sports Reference)



Stat Leaders


Points: Dalton Knecht — 20.8 PPG, 48.2 FG%, 41.4 3PT%

Rebounds: Jonas Aidoo — 7.6 RPG, 4.8 DRPG, 2.8 ORPG

Assists: Zakai Zeigler — 5.9 APG, 2.2 TOPG, 30.3 MPG


Points: Mark Sears — 20.6 PPG, 51.1 FG%, 44.3 3PT%

Rebounds: Grant Nelson — 5.6 RPG, 4.1 DRPG, 1.5 ORPG

Assists: Aaron Estrada — 4.5 APG, 2.3 TOPG, 29.2 MPG

Last Five Games


  • 92-84 win versus Auburn
  • 86-51 win versus Texas A&M
  • 72-67 win at Missouri
  • 88-53 win versus Vanderbilt
  • 92-63 win at Arkansas


  • 103-88 win at Ole Miss
  • 117-95 loss at Kentucky
  • 98-93 win versus Florida (OT)
  • 100-75 win versus Texas A&M
  • 109-92 win at LSU


Alabama hasn’t lost at home in SEC play this season and is out for revenge after Tennessee handed the Crimson Tide a 20-point loss in Knoxville back in January.

A lot of things point to Alabama winning the heavyweight clash but I like the matchup for Tennessee. The Vols have had success against high tempo, strong offensive teams this season and should have the advantage in the interior. Tennessee has been a tough out this season when they control the paint.

This one feels like a true toss up as the game line suggests. I’m picking Tennessee to win a tight one.

Tennessee 87, Alabama 85

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