Tennessee Tougher Than the Tide, Takes Down Bama on Wednesday
The Alabama Crimson Tide, fresh off receiving it's first number one ranking since 2002, hit the road to take on Tennessee in Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday night and unfortunately came up short. The Tide was out-muscled on the road and lost to the Vols 68-59 for its first SEC loss of the season.
Alabama becomes the eighth team to lose in 2022-23 while ranked No. 1, making it the most times the No. 1 team has lost since 1948.
The Crimson Tide's turnover problem was on full display as Alabama gave it away 19 times in the contest and largely struggled to find its offensive rhythm, putting up a season low in points by five points.
“Tennessee proved why they have the No. 1 defense in the country. They did a great job on us, and we turned the ball over way too much. They had nine turnovers, we had 19 turnovers; we scored two points off their turnovers and they scored 26 points off our 19 turnovers, to me that is the biggest area of the game and to me it was their physicality," said head coach Nate Oats.
They got into our guards, and we did not handle it well and we obviously didn’t do a good job of preparing our guys to go against the physicality that was going to come with this game. The underneath out-of-bounds where we turned it over, I have to do a better job of getting us ready to play a game like this. We only get them once and if we get them again it will be in the SEC Tournament so hopefully we are better prepared to play against a defense like this because we have seen it. That is the reason why these guys are good and I know their record isn’t what everyone thought it was going to be in conference but maybe they have been the unluckiest team I have seen with the last two losses. I don’t think I have ever seen a team lose back-to-back games like that, but this is a really good team and they showed it tonight.”
Alabama was led by its freshman once again as Brandon Miller scored 15 and Jaden Bradley tallied 14, however there just wasn't enough offense on the floor as Nimari Burnett was the only other Alabama player in double figures with 11.
The victory was huge for Tennessee as they had lost three of its last four contests and needed to get the season back on track. Unfortunately for Bama, the loss kept the door open for Texas A&M to win the SEC regular season. The Tide still maintains a one-game lead on the Aggies with five games to g, and the two programs play each other on the final day of the season for what looks like it may be for all the marbles.
Alabama looks to rebound on Saturday with a home matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs. The Tide will take on the Bulldogs at 5 p.m. CT in Coleman Coliseum on Saturday, Feb. 18.