Saturday's 12 p.m. ET tilt between No. 25 Alabama and LSU on CBS is a battle of SEC foes in need of momentum entering the postseason. Both the Crimson Tide (19-11, 9-8 SEC) and Tigers (20-10, 8-9) were ranked in the top 15 this season and have flashed greatness on several occasions. But neither have been playing their best recently with the SEC Tournament looming next week.
LSU enters off a 77-76 loss at No. 14 Arkansas in which it snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The Tigers led by four with under two minutes to play before the Razorbacks rallied for the win. After a 15-1 (3-1 SEC) start that included wins over Kentucky and Tennessee, LSU is just 5-9 over its last 14 games.
Alabama appeared to turn a corner this month with five wins in its last six games entering Wednesday's home tilt with Texas A&M. But the Aggies knocked the Crimson Tide back down with an 87-71 win that highlighted once again how this Alabama team pales defensively in comparison with last season's squad. Coach Nate Oats said afterward that he was "embarrassed," and it will be fascinating to see if Wednesday's outcome prompts an inspired effort Saturday.
The Crimson Tide took the first meeting 70-67 on Jan. 19 at Alabama. But LSU senior point guard Xavier Pinson missed the game due to injury, and fellow senior Darius Days was also limited to just 12 minutes in that contest due to injury. Both are healthy for the rematch.
How to watch Alabama vs. LSU live
Alabama vs. LSU prediction, picks
Both teams are headed for at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. Both are also guaranteed to begin SEC Tournament play in next Thursday's second round and will be on track to face a challenging quarterfinal opponent. So it's not as if this game has some massive implication in the league standings. But it's a huge contest for two teams needing momentum. Home court advantage has been huge in the SEC this season and is too much of a factor to ignore here. Prediction: LSU 79, Alabama 72
Who wins every college basketball game? And which teams could sink your bankroll? Visit SportsLine now to see how to pick every college basketball game, all from the model that simulates every game 10,000 times and has generated over $2,000 in profit the last four-plus years.