TAMPA -- Alabama defeated Vanderbilt 82-75 on Thursday in the first round of the SEC Tournament at the St. Pete Times Forum. Palm Beach County native Alonzo Gee led the Tide with 25 points. Bama plays Tennessee at 7:30 on Friday night in the quarterfinals.
The Crimson Tide (18-13) played considerably better than their record on Thursday. Could they be this year's Georgia? Remember Georgia last season? The Bulldogs entered the SEC Tournament with a sub-.500 conference record but won four games in four days to win the SEC Tournament. Could Alabama, which went 7-9 in conference play this season, do the same thing this season?
[PICTURED, Anyone remember this tornado?]
Alabama is certainly athletic enough to hang around for four days in Tampa. Gee is a possible draft pick, 6-1 guard Senario Hillman can jump through the roof, 6-5 guard Mikhail Torrance (of Eight Mile, Ala.), who had 20 points on Thursday, is long, 6-9 freshman JaMychal Green is coming into his own at the perfect time.
Interim coach Philip Pearson, who took over for the Mark Gottfried during the middle of the conference schedule, has now won five of his last six games. Alabama, despite its poor conference record this season, was one of only two SEC teams to defeat both LSU and Tennessee this year. The other team to do it was Auburn.