Saturday, December 26, 2015

Game Preview: Jacksonville State

Alabama will return to the court on Tuesday, December 29th for a game against Jacksonville State. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM. No TV for this one, but you can watch the game via Sec Network+ if you have the Watch ESPN app. Attendance at Coleman has been disappointing so far this season, and I don't expect that to change for Tuesday with students on break and many fans preparing to or making their way to Dallas for the football game on Thursday. For those of you who can make it out to Coleman, lend your voices. This team has been a joy to watch so far, and deserve a better home environment in Tuscaloosa than what they've seen so far.

Jacksonville State enters the game at 4-10. The Gamecocks have been competitive, but have failed to win close games (their average defeat in their 10 losses has been by 7.6 points). They're currently projected to finish last in the OVC, and their RPI rank is currently 343 out of 351 teams. Alabama will be heavily favored in the game, and must avoid any post-Christmas funk as a loss would be a lingering bruise on their resume moving forward.

Stats



Alabama
Jacksonville State



66.2 PPG 70.5
67.1 OPP 72.0
.437 FG% .419
.397 OPP .453
.340 3PT% .314
.352 OPP .312
.656 FT% .710
.692 OPP .694
34.1 RPG 32.2
37.9 OPP 38.2
14.5 TOPG 10.1
13.3 OPP 13.0

Malcolm Drumwright leads the team in scoring at 16.1 ppg, and assists at 3.7 ppg. Justin and Retin have had to face their share of very good point guards already this season. Drumwright will be yet another challenge. Two of the Gamecocks' top three scorers have been out in recent games. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find any information on the reasons for their absence so I have no idea if they will play on Tuesday. Erik Durham (13.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) has missed the last three games, while Cameron Biedscheid (10.0 ppg), a transfer from Missouri, has only played in three games this season since becoming eligible in early December, and has missed the last two games. The numbers suggest this is a better team when those two are playing. The fact neither has played in all 14 games could also be a factor in why Jacksonville State currently sits at 4-10.

With so many unknowns about this roster and what it will look like come Tuesday, it's difficult what players to highlight, outside of Drumwright, when discussing this team. Alabama's roster is also uncertain. Shannon Hale's status remains fuzzy, and how healthy is Arthur Edwards after suffering an ankle injury in the Oregon game? I suspect Avery will update their status in his next press conference. But one thing is clear, and that is the Bama players that are playing in this game need to come out focused and ready to take care of business. Our guys have put together a nice season up to this point, but all it takes is one bad loss (and losing to no. 343 in the RPI would count as a bad loss) to put a dent into a promising season. 

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