It's been an exciting SEC tournament, but the best is yet to come. Possibly the biggest match of the tourney, this Saturday's semi between Florida and Alabama, is sure to be a classic.
Alabama kicked its tournament off right, beating Tennessee 58-48. But the Tide will face their biggest test this weekend taking on top seeded Florida.
Not only would a win bring Bama one step closer to an SEC championship, it could also be the big win that puts the Tide into the NCAA tournament.
The Gators started their season hot, but were inconsistent down the stretch. They handled their first tournament opponent (LSU) with ease, and trumping Alabama would be the last test on their way to another SEC crown.
With this exciting matchup on tap, here's a preview of what to expect in Saturday's semifinal.
Start Time: 1:00 PM ET
Viewing Info: ABC
Alabama Player to Watch: Trevor Releford
The Crimson Tide average only 63.7 points per game, and a large part of that is a lack of scoring depth off the bench.
But Alabama has some great starters, and leading that bunch is junior guard Trevor Releford.
The sharpshooting Releford has been the go-to man for the Tide. In the regular season, he led the team in points per game and three-point percentage, while shooting 49 percent from the field.
The guard played a stellar game against the Voles, putting up 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
If Alabama is to upset Florida, it needs its offense at its best. Releford has been the leader in that department all season long, making him a key player against the Gators.
Florida Player to Watch: Erik Murphy
The Gators play superior defense—their 53.2 opponents points per game is the third-best in the NCAA—but inconsistent offense.
Personifying that is senior guard Kenny Boynton, who led the team in scoring with 12.5 points per game, but shot only 39.5 percent from the field.
Boynton struggled in Florida's touney match against LSU, but there to pick up the reins was senior forward/center Erik Murphy.
Murphy was second on the team in scoring during the regular season with 12.4 points per game, but unlike Boynton, he shot a solid 53.4 percent from the floor. He also had a penchant for sharpshooting, hitting 46.6 percent of his threes.
If the Florida offense is going to re-establish its consistency, things need to move through the actions the veteran Murphy.
This should be a great game—and a close one at that. While Alabama has been more consistent down the stretch, Florida's defense will be too much for the Tide's low-scoring offense to handle.
Florida 62, Alabama 55