By Chris DePew
Feb. 10, 2018
Where to watch: Alabama (15-9, 6-5 SEC) vs. No. 15 Tennessee (18-5, 8-3) – Today 5 p.m. Central, Coleman Coliseum, SEC Network
Who to watch: Avery Johnson Jr. For a team sorely in need of experienced leadership, there are crazier ideas than starting one of the only two scholarship upperclassmen still available. Mostly regarded as back-of-the-rotation filler this year, Johnson has made the most of limited minutes in his last two games, scoring 10 points at Florida and nine more at Mississippi State. A reduction in minutes has caused a decline in his counting stats, but he is shooting better and turning the ball over less compared to last season. And he could provide a jolt to a backcourt that has grown stale outside of Collin Sexton. Starters Dazon Ingram and John Petty have combined for 13 points over the last two games, with each of them having been shut out once in that span.
What to watch for: Can Bama stand tall? Tennessee is riding a six-game winning streak and just finished off a sweep of its most-hated basketball rival with a 61-59 win at No. 24 Kentucky. But even though the disappointing Wildcats lost, they may have handed the Crimson Tide some clues. Attack the undersized Vols in the paint, cash in on their propensity to foul and attack their backcourt with taller guards that can defend well. Alabama has the pieces to execute that kind of gameplan, and if it can get a respectable number of shots to fall it could mean an improbable fourth straight victory against a Top 25 team.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris
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