Alabama basketball will have the opportunity to add another material element to its historic season. After earning a record 28th win in Saturday’s SEC Tournament semifinal against Missouri, the Crimson Tide can claim their second conference title in three years on Sunday as they take on Texas A&M.
Top-seeded Alabama advanced to the Finals by knocking out Mississippi State 72-49 on Friday before coming alive in the second half to defeat Missouri 72-61. Meanwhile, the No. 2 seed Texas A&M notched wins over Arkansas (67-61) and Vanderbilt (87-75) to earn their ticket to the title shot.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game.
How to watch
WHO: No. 4 Alabama (28-5) vs. No. 18 Texas A&M (25-8)
When: Noon CT, Sunday March 12
Or: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Show: ESPN (play-by-play: Karl Ravech; analyst: Dick Vitale; sideline: Marty Smith)
Listen: Crimson Tide Sports Network (game by game: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink; engineer Tom Stipe)
Alabama’s projected starters
Javon Quinerly: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, senior
Stats: 7.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.8 apg, 37.8% FG, 33.3% 3pt
Mark Sear: 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, junior
Stats: 12.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.6 apg, 40.9% FG, 35.3% 3pts
Brandon Miller: 6-foot-9, 200 pounds, freshman
Stats: 19.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.0 apg, 45.9% FG, 40.7% 3pt
Noah Clowney: 6-foot-10, 210 pounds, freshman
Stats: 10.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 0.9 apg, 49.1% FG, 27.8% 3pts
Charles Bediako: 7 feet, 225 pounds, second year
Stats: 6.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.6 apg, 65.4% FG
Texas A&M’s planned starting lineup
Wade Taylor IV: 6 feet, 185 pounds, sophomore
Stats: 16.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.0 apg, 41.0% FG, 36.5% 3pt
Tyrece Radford: 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, senior
Stats: 13.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 39.5% FG, 32.2% 3pt
Dexter Dennis: 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, senior
Stats: 9.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.2 apg, 39.3% FG, 29.6% 3pts
Henry Coleman III: 6-foot-8, 245 pounds, junior
Stats: 9.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.0 apg, 54.0% FG
Jules Marble: 6-foot-9, 245 pounds, junior
Stats: 9.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.4 apg, 53.1% FG
A chance for redemption
After Saturday’s semifinal win over Missouri, Alabama said it didn’t care who it faced in Sunday’s final. However, deep down in Crimson Tide, he was hoping for a chance to get revenge on the Aggies.
Texas A&M handed Alabama its latest loss, beating the Tide 67-61 at College Station in the regular season finale earlier this month. In that game, Alabama shot just 33.8 percent from the floor, including 19.4 percent (7 of 36) from deep. He also turned the ball over 18 times and kept Texas A&M alive at the free throw line where he converted 27 of 28 attempts.
“I would like to see A&M again because it is one of our two [SEC] losses, and we lost to them in a close game,” said first-year guard Rylan Griffen, a native of Dallas. “So I would love the opportunity to face them again and have a chance to go out there and beat them since we lost to them the first time around.”
Since taking over Alabama in the 2019-20 season, Oats is 0-3 against the Aggies. Texas A&M recorded a 74-68 victory inside Coleman Coliseum in its freshman year while the Crimson Tide road game the following season was canceled due to weather conditions. Last season, Texas A&M beat Alabama 87-71 in Tuscaloosa.
“They’re good,” Oats said. “They are tough, they cause problems.
Stopping Texas A&M focuses on slowing second-year guard Wade Taylor the IV. The All-SEC first team has scored 20 or more points in seven of its last 10 games, including a career-high 28 points in the Aggies’ win over the Crimson Tide earlier this month.
In his previous meeting against Alabama, Taylor was 8 of 15 from the floor, including 2 of 7 from deep. He also reached the line 10 times, making all of his free throw attempts. The 6-foot, 185-pound Dallas native is averaging 16.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting 41.0 percent from the floor and 36.5 percent from deep this season. He also leads the SEC with an 87.2 free throw percentage.
Taylor is part of a trio of talented guards for Texas A&M along with Tyrece Radford and Dexter Dennis. Radford had 21 points in the win over Alabama and is averaging 13.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the Aggies. Dennis leads Texas A&M in rebounds (5.7 per game) and blocks (0.6 per game) and is also averaging 9.0 points.
– Alabama won a record 28-game program, passing the 2001-02 team for most wins in a single season.
– Brandon Miller set the program record for most points scored in a first season, surpassing Collin Sexton’s mark of 632 points in the 2017-18 season. Miller has 645 points in 33 games. Reggie King holds Alabama’s overall single-season scoring record with 747 points in 33 games during his senior campaign in 1978-79.
— Miller’s 99 made 3s this season for fourth on Alabama’s single-season roster, 14 shy of Eric Washingtons mark of 113 set in 1995-96.
– Nate Oats’ record in the SEC Tournament is 5-1 with a .833 winning percentage, which is the second highest since 1979, behind Rick Pitino (17-1, .944)
–Oats joins CM Newton as the only two Alabama head coaches to lead UA to multiple SEC regular-season championships.
– Alabama is 15-16 against the AP’s top 25 teams during Oats’ tenure
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