Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
The battle for men’s basketball supremacy in the SEC will look a whole lot like a similar battle on the football field.
Alabama and LSU advanced to the SEC Championship Game with a pair of impressive wins Saturday, setting themselves up for a clash of rivals that typically takes place at Bryant-Denny or Tiger Stadium.
Here’s a recap of how they got there, along with a look at how to watch Sunday’s title game.
SEC Championship Game Schedule
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Alabama 73, Tennessee 68
Herbert Jones had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Jahvon Quinerly added 19 points off the bench, leading Alabama to a 73-68 win over Tennessee.
The Tide trailed by nine points at halftime and as many as 15 in the second half before storming back with an aggressive approach on both ends. Tennessee shot just 35 percent in the second half and turned the ball over 19 times overall, including several that helped spring Alabama’s comeback.
Keon Johnson scored a team-high 20 points for the Vols, and Jaden Springer added 18. Victor Bailey Jr. had a chance to tie the game with nine seconds remaining, but his three-point attempted ended in an airball. Keon Ellis made a pair of threes to salt the game away for Alabama.
The Tide could wind up with their first No. 1 seed in program history if they’re able to bring home SEC regular-season and postseason championships. Alabama was previously a No. 2 seed in 1987 and 2002. Both of those appearances ended in heartache, with the Tide being eliminated in the Sweet 16 in 1987 and in the second round 15 years later.
The program’s only Elite Eight appearance came in 2004 as a No. 8 seed.
Nate Oats has led what can only be described as a remarkable turnaround in just two seasons, with the program reaching the NCAA tournament only once since 2012. One more win would give the Tide their first conference tournament win since 1991.
LSU 78, Arkansas 71
LSU is one win away from its first conference tournament win in more than 40 years.
Cameron Thomas scored 21 points and Javonte Smart added 19, as LSU held on late for a 78-71 win over eighth-ranked Arkansas.
The Tigers’ victory was spurred by a 17-2 run midway in the second half, which saw LSU go from trailing 50-47 to leading 64-52. Arkansas got back into the game with a flurry of buckets with under two minutes remaining, drawing within one point on a Justin Smith layup with 34 seconds left.
Smart knocked down a jumper on the Tigers’ next possession then put the game away with a pair of free throws after a JD Notae turnover.
LSU’s run to the conference title game will likely see the Tigers move into the 5-6 seed conversation. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had them listed as a No. 7 seed in his latest update, but a win over an Arkansas team currently on the No. 3 line should result in a bump.
Coming off a strong regular season, Arkansas should have little reason to worry about dropping down on Selection Sunday. Moses Moody had a game-high 28 points and Justin Smith had 21 for the Razorbacks, who shot a frustrating 6-of-26 from three-point range.