Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Arkansas Razorbacks Pick & Prediction MARCH 9th 2024

About two weeks ago, No. 16 Alabama appeared to be among the teams peaking at the right time thanks to an offense scoring at least 98 points in a three-game winning streak, putting the Crimson Tide in contention for the Southeastern Conference regular-season title.

Despite recent struggles, the Crimson Tide hope to secure the second seed in the conference tournament when they face Arkansas in the regular-season finale on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Crimson Tide (20-10, 12-5 SEC) enter the weekend tied with South Carolina, Auburn and Kentucky for second. To finish second, Alabama needs to take care of Arkansas while Kentucky must lose its game at Tennessee.

The Crimson Tide hold tiebreakers against Auburn and South Carolina.

Alabama enters with three losses in four games since a 7-1 stretch that returned the team to the Top 25.

The Crimson Tide saw the streak stopped with a 117-95 loss at Kentucky but rebounded with a 103-88 win at Mississippi.

An 81-74 loss to Tennessee on March 2 and a 105-87 defeat at Florida on Tuesday extended Alabama’s misery.

“It’s a disappointing loss,” Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats said following the Gators game. “We haven’t had back-to-back losses in conference play in a couple of years. We have to bounce back and be ready to go on Saturday to see how high of a seed we can get going into Nashville.”

Alabama allowed at least 80 points for the fifth straight game and for the ninth time in conference play. The Crimson Tide compounded their defensive woes by allowing Florida to get to the line 46 times, where it made 40 free throws. Alabama made 20 foul shots, on 25 attempts.

“It’s not a recipe for winning games when you get doubled up at the free-throw line,” Oats said.

The defensive breakdowns and constant fouling continued a trend for the Crimson Tide, who are allowing a league-worst 80.1 points per game and have yielded a league-worst 732 free-throw attempts.

Alabama also wasted a big night from leading scorer Mark Sears, who scored 29 of his 33 points against Florida after halftime. It was the second-highest point total of the season for Sears, who averages 21.1 points and has scored at least 20 in 12 of his past 13 contests.

Arkansas (15-15, 6-11) has won three of its past five contests following its 3-9 start in conference play, and the victories are courtesy of some high-scoring showings by Khalif Battle.

Battle has scored 141 points over the past four games, the most in a four-game SEC span in 20 years.

Battle scored 29 on Wednesday in a 94-83 win over LSU in the home finale, and he started his binge with a career-high 42 against Missouri two weeks ago.

“I always feel really confident,” Battle said. “I don’t think anyone can guard me one-on-one.”

Even with his scoring spree, Battle is averaging only 14 points. He failed to reach 19 points in any conference game before the current four-game stretch.

“The way that he’s evolved as the season’s gone on, he’s done a great job of buying in,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said.

Battle’s big performance on Wednesday was part of a night when the Razorbacks shot a season-best 60.8 percent and held LSU to 44.8 percent from the field after allowing Kentucky to shoot 56.7 percent on March 2.

–Field Level Media

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