#6 Alabama (18-6, 13-2) didn’t seize the moment on its first opportunity to clinch the SEC Regular Season title. We can talk all day about what went wrong during the game at Arkansas, but that’s neither here nor there at this point. It’s time to hit the reset button and try this again. This time the foe to beat is Mississippi State. Here stands Alabama in a prime opportunity to clinch its first regular season title since 2002. And I believe they can do it.
“Going into Mississippi State, we have got to do a lot better, play harder and come in more focused,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “We can’t get out-toughed like I thought we did (Wednesday).”
The Bulldogs (13-11, 7-8) have won two in a row after a midseason slide. Mississippi State ended Ole Miss’ four-game winning streak on Feb. 20 and routed South Carolina 69-48 on Wednesday.
The Tide defeated the Bulldogs 81-73 on Jan. 23 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
In its past four victories, Mississippi State held its opponents to an average of 54.8 points and a collective 32.9 percent shooting from the floor.
Mississippi State held South Carolina to 29 percent shooting and 19 percent from 3-point range. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Gamecocks 49-24, their largest rebounding margin against an SEC opponent since 2002.
The Bulldogs had 16 assists on 24 baskets after having 15 assists on 25 baskets against Ole Miss.
Alabama will need to buckle down, play tougher than the opponent and keep them away from the free throw line if they want to be successful and clinch the SEC title. They have a great opportunity to do that tomorrow evening.
My Prediction: Alabama 81 MSU 61
Layne Gerbig is the lead basketball analyst for Tide Talk Sports. He can be followed on Twitter via @LayneG_TTS.
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