Alabama (13-8) at Vanderbilt (13-8)
The Line: Vanderbilt -7 1/2
Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009; 7 PM EST
While neither of these teams is out of it when it comes to postseason play, they both need to win games like this one to keep their hopes alive. Bama and Vandy are both decent teams and are far better than some of the smaller conference champions that are going to get automatic bids; such are the rules that are in place for tourney entry.
Alabama comes into this one as winners of their last game but winners just twice in their last six games. Saturday was their first win since the coaching change, which has defined this season for the Tide. Vandy enters from a similar situation, where they won last time out but were losers in four of their last six.
These teams, aside from having identical records, are pretty even across the board, as Vandy has played the 104th-ranked schedule and Alabama has played the 99th.
Alabama enters this game at 6-10 against the spread, while Vanderbilt is 7-10-1 against the number. Alabama is 0-4 against the spread in their last four games as an underdog and 0-6 against the spread in their last six overall, all against SEC teams.
Vandy is 5-1-1 against the spread at home against teams with a losing road record but just 1-6-1 in their last eight against SEC teams. The underdog is 5-2-1 against the spread in the last eight meetings between these two, but Alabama is 1-6-1 against the spread in the last eight in this series; something has to give.
Mitch's Pick: Vandy -7 1/2