Now where were we when we were so brutally interrupted? Oh yes. An hour before Alabama and Tennessee launched into Nashville at the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament last March, word got out. The mysterious threat of the new coronavirus resulted in the tournament being canceled. The resulting COVID-19 disease has proven to be deadly beyond fears and impaired athleticism.
The return to normal is not easy, and not there yet. But Crimson Tide and the Flights – albeit new teams – will be back on the court together as this basketball season’s 2021 segment begins.
Never doubt that Rick Barnes built a great basketball team in Tennessee. The volunteers, ranked sixth in the nation, went on the road for their opening of the Southeastern Conference and routed No. 12 Missouri, 73-53.
Alabama also had a nice opener for their SEC season, but it was a home win over unranked team Ole Miss, 82-64.
The task is now tough for Nate Oats coach Crimson Tide as Bama heads to Knoxville on Saturday for a 6 p.m. EST (5 p.m. CST) game which will be televised by ESPN2.
Alabama is 6-3 while the volunteers are (7-0). UT’s game at Mizzou is his only road game this season. Bama has played four games away from Tuscaloosa, but all on neutral venues.
Alabama are led by Jaden Shackelford at 13. 4 points per game, in rebound from Herbert Jones at 6.3 per game and in assists from Jahvon Quinerly at 3.2 per game. Oats doesn’t appear to have settled – or, due to injuries and suspensions, managed to settle – on an outright starting lineup. Most likely may be Shackelford, Jones (12. 1 ppg) and Quinerly (13. 1 ppg), with 6-10 Jordan Bruner (6. 7 ppg, 5. 2 rpg) and John Petty, Jr. (12. 1 ppg, 5.5 rpg).
Bama is a 77-year-old team. 3 ppg, but the Vols are even more prolific, 79. Sept. Additionally, UT was much better defensively, allowing only 52. 7 ppg. The Tide dropped out at 70. 4 ppg. Likewise in rebound, Alabama gets 40.8 per game, but Bama’s opponents are pulling down 38. 4. Tennessee has a 40-29 advantage on the boards.
Statistical leaders for UT are Victor Bailey, Jr., in scoring (12. 6 ppg), John Fulkerson in rebound (6.3) and Santiago Vescovi in assists (4. 1).
The Crimson Tide leads the all-time streak against The Flights, 79-70, but Tennessee leads in Knoxville, 44-23. This is the only scheduled game between the two this season.
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