Alabama Drops First SEC Game in Knoxville

Alabama Guard Jahvon Quinerly (5) looks the pass the ball against Tennessee at Thompson- Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee on Wednesday, Feb 15, 2023.

Alabama has dropped their first SEC game of the season by way of a loss in Knoxville to the 10th ranked Tennessee Volunteers. It just simply wasn’t the Crimson Tide’s night, falling in an extremely physical game in which they turned the ball over 19 times. Alabama could not match the level of physicality that Tennessee brought, and ultimately it got them beat.

In the grand scheme, Alabama will have every opportunity to put this loss behind them and have it not mean much other than a learning experience. Of course, you never want to lose a game at all, especially to one of your most bitter rivals, but the reality of the situation is that running the table and going undefeated in conference play is nearly impossible to do in today’s day and age. The Crimson Tide still have everything in front of them and still should be able to hold on for their second SEC regular season title in three years, barring an epic collapse.

The other side of this is that while Tennessee is 9-4 in conference play and still trails Texas A&M by 2 games, they are a fantastic team that is good enough to make a very deep run in March. The combination of guards with Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi outclassed Alabama in the backcourt, and the Tide were outmuscled on the glass by Jonas Aidoo and Uros Plavsic.

Tennessee’s ferocious defense played a huge role in forcing so many turnovers for Alabama (as did an atrocious display of officiating), but Alabama was careless with the basketball and simply did not deserve to win last night. Nate Oats must use this game as a teaching opportunity, and ideally Alabama will ultimately be better for it.

We are heading into the stretch run of the season and the Crimson Tide still have every opportunity to go where no Alabama team has gone before. So take a deep breath, have some perspective, and enjoy the ride.