I reached out to Zack White over at Cocky Nation to get his thoughts on the upcoming game. He was kind enough to provide us with the response below. If you visit Cocky Nation, please follow the rules of their site and be a good representative of the University of Alabama.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
The JSU basketball program has been on stagnant for the past few years but better than it was under previous head coaches. As you could likely guess, Jacksonville State is a football school. Under Coach Green, the Gamecocks have hovered around .500 in the OVC, which is a conference loaded with mid-majors (Belmont, Murray State, etc.).
The strength of our basketball team is defending beyond the arch. JSU is 2nd in the OVC in 3-point defense. The team also does a good job protecting the ball and forcing turnovers (+3 for the season). Defense and maintaining possession is Coach Green's calling card.
There are many weaknesses on this year's team, but arguably the biggest issue is a lack of returning starters. The team has had fruit basket turnover in the roster for years, and it shows when JSU plays a team like Belmont, that features 5th-year seniors that are familiar with each team in the league. Our basketball staff writer, Austin, delved deeper into the roster issues earlier this year: http://cockynation.com/2015/10/19/mens-hoops-exodus/.
The Crimson Tide are on the rise. I knew when they announced the hire of Avery Johnson, it would only be a matter of time until Alabama would be a competitive team again. With the way Alabama is playing this year, I could easily see this becoming a lopsided score early.
Good luck to the Tide in the college football playoff. My father is a UA alumnus, so I'll be rooting for them a few days after the Gamecocks play in Frisco.
I'm also rooting for JSU in their football game, hopefully the state of Alabama will have a couple of football national championship within the next few weeks. As for basketball, this is a game we should win, but we aren't good enough to just show up and get a W, hopefully our guys will come back focused after the long break.