SEC Tourney Prediction: Alabama Crimson Tide visit Florida Gators
Friday, March 09, 2012
by Mike Stewart
The No. 19 Gators average 76.8 points and have five starters who average in double figures, but will likely find the going more difficult against an Alabama defense that allows only 65.1 points.
Florida won the only meeting during the regular season, using a 16-0 run coming out of halftime to break open a tie game and earn a 61-52 win. Florida has beaten Alabama four straight times and six of the last seven games.
Alabama Crimson Tide (21-10): The Tide hung with the Gators in the first game as a result of shooting 58.8 percent in the first half, but lost it by shooting only 28.6 percent in the second half. The Tide has won four of its last five games, but can occasionally disappear on the offensive end. It will be important for all-SEC choices JaMychal Green (13.8 points, 7.3 rebounds) and point guard Trevor Releford (12.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists) to stay engaged. Green was suspended for the Florida game. Alabama will also need to find some offense from candidates like Andrew Steele (who had 11 against the Gators), Levi Randolph, Nick Jacobs and Trevor Lacey. Alabama beat South Carolina 63-57 in the first round of the tournament.
Florida Gators (22-9): The Gators enter the tournament having lost three straight, which dropped the Gators into the same bracket as Kentucky. Florida is led by first-team all-SEC players Kenny Boynton (16.8 points, 2.5 assists) and freshman Bradley Beal (14.4 points, 6.5 rebounds). Elusive 5-foot-8 guard Erving Walker (12.4 points, 4.7 assists) was a second-team all-conference pick. Patric Young (10.5 points, 6.5 rebounds) had 19 points against Alabama in the first meeting. The Gators are the top 3-point shooting team in the country; they make an average of 9.9 per game and have hit 10 or more in 19 games.
1. The winner plays No. 1 seeded Kentucky in the semifinals.
2. Alabama holds a 7-4 edge over Florida in the SEC tournament; Alabama won the last meeting 80-69 in 2008.
3. Although the league dissolved its divisions this season, Florida went 6-0 from the teams in the SEC West.
NCAA BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Gators 68, Crimson Tide 62.
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