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Game 18: Vanderbilt Commodores at Alabama Crimson Tide — Open Game Thread

Hey look, the first-place team in the SEC, this will go well.

University of Alabama Campus Photo by Lance King/Replay Photos via Getty Images

6-11 (2-9)
NR (Coaches)
115 (KenPom)

February 20, 2021
12:00 PM CT
SEC Network
Radio: WLAC 1510 AM / WNRQ 98.3 FM(Affiliates)

17-5 (12-1)
8 (AP)
9 (Coaches)
8 (KenPom)

The Vanderbilt Commodores continue the long slog of the 2020-21 season today when they make the trek down to Tuscaloosa to face the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The last time Vanderbilt went to Coleman Coliseum was last March, when Vanderbilt actually beat the Tide by a score of 87-79. That doesn’t seem likely to happen this time around: Nate Oats has turned the Tide basketball program around in a hurry, with Alabama having already surpassed its win total from last season with a 17-5 start, and their 12-1 start to SEC play is actually their best since... 1975. Unsurprisingly, Alabama won the SEC that year.

The biggest improvement for Alabama since last year has come on the defensive end, where the Tide rank 2nd nationally in defensive efficiency after finishing 114th last season. That’s actually obscured a bit by the fact that Alabama plays at a fast pace; they’re allowing an average of 70.1 ppg, but in SEC play opponents are averaging 90.2 points per 100 possessions. (Bama also has the most efficient offense in the conference, too, but the gap between Alabama and the rest of the league is much closer on that end of the floor.)

So, yeah. Have fun, expect to win.