The University of Alabama men’s basketball team, looking to reverse the momentum of a two-game losing streak, will open play in the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville on Thursday against the Tennessee Volunteers.

Alabama (16-15, 8-10 SEC) is the No. 9 seed in the event while Tennessee (17-14, 9-9 SEC) is the No. 8 seed. The winner of Thursday’s game will face No. 1 seed Kentucky, the league’s regular season champion, on Friday afternoon.

Tennessee defeated Alabama 69-68 in the regular season meeting between the two teams in Tuscaloosa on February 4. The Crimson Tide led by as many as 15 points late in the first half before the Volunteers came back behind a 22-point effort by John Fulkerson.

Alabama lost to Vanderbilt last Tuesday, then fell 69-50 at Missouri on Saturday.

“It was a disappointing defensive effort in the second half,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said after Sunday’s game. “We just have to put it behind us. We’ll take Sunday off and try to get as healthy as we possibly can by Thursday.”

Alabama has finished as either the No. 9 or No. 10 seed in the league tournament for six of the past seven years. The Crimson Tide has won at least one game in the tournament in each of the past four years.

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