Men's Basketball Set to Face South Carolina in SEC Tournament Opener - Alabama News - SECTalk.com

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Men's Basketball Set to Face South Carolina in SEC Tournament Opener

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Alabama (20-10, 9-7 SEC) vs. South Carolina (10-20, 2-14 SEC)


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March 8 | 2:30 p.m.

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Basketball Home | Season Statistics | Roster | Media Guide | TideTV - Watch the games online! | SEC Basketball | NCAA BasketballMarch 7, 2012

NEW ORLEANS -

The University of Alabama men's basketball team begins postseason play Thursday afternoon when it opens up Southeastern Conference Tournament play against South Carolina. The fifth-seeded Crimson Tide and 12th-seeded Gamecocks are scheduled to tipoff at 2:30 p.m. CST at the New Orleans Arena.

"We're excited to be here in the city of New Orleans and looking forward to this year's SEC Tournament," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "I think for our team, having a chance to compete for a championship is something that we've talked a great deal about and are looking forward to the challenge that this year's tournament will bring."

The Crimson Tide comes into Thursday's game as the winner of seven of its last 10 games and four of their last five to finish the regular season with a 20-10 overall record and 9-7 in conference games.

In the first meeting between these teams, the Tide fell to South Carolina, 56-54 in Columbia. Freshman guard Levi Randolph led Alabama with 12 points. Randolph tied the score at 54 with just over a minute to play on a layup and game remained tied until South Carolina guard Bruce Ellington hit a jumper with under a second left to lift the Gamecocks to the win.

"We're playing a South Carolina team that beat us in the only game that we played this year against them," Grant said. "What's impressive is how hard they play and the things that they do both offensively and defensively that we have to be prepared for."

The Tide is 3-0 on the season in true neutral-court games with all three victories coming by virtue of winning the Puerto Rico Tip Off in November.

South Carolina enters the game with a 10-20 overall record and 2-14 record in league play. They come in on a five game losing streak including an overtime loss to Mississippi State.

Alabama is led in scoring by senior forward JaMychal Green with 13.8 points per game and sophomore guard Trevor Releford with 12.0 points per game. Earlier in the week, the pair earned second team All-SEC honors. Aside from those two veterans, Alabama has received significant contributions from multiple freshmen this year including Trevor Lacey who is averaging 6.7 points and 3.0 rebounds and Levi Randolph who has started every game this season for the Tide.

The Crimson Tide has leaned heavily on its defense this season and will continue to do as the team ranks ninth in the nation and first in the SEC by allowing only 57.9 points per game. Alabama also boasts the 13th best field goal percentage in the nation, allowing their opponents to connect on only 38.7 percent of their attempts from the field.

Thursday's contest will be broadcast on SEC Network outlets and on the radio affiliates of the Crimson Tide Sports Network. The winner of the game will advance to face fourth-seeded Florida on Friday at 2:30 p.m.

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