Thursday, December 15, 2016

Game Preview - USC Upstate

Alabama will play their first home game since November 29th when they host USC Upstate on Thursday night. Tip time is 7 PM CT. If you can't make it to Coleman, the game will be televised on SEC Network+. This will be the first meeting between the two programs.

The latest news on Nick King is that he was diagnosed with a lung infection. He lost 15 lbs in a week, but is receiving treatment that will hopefully get him back in good health. Needless to say, he's out indefinitely. This latest setback for King makes one wonder if he was ever healthy this season, and perhaps that explains his struggles on the floor. If he does have to miss the remainder of the season, he should be eligible for a medical redshirt.

Stats

Alabama                                                 USC Upstate


67.6 PPG 79.7
62.8 OPP 78
42.6 FG% 46.2
41.9 OPP 42.7
49.7 EFG% 52.5
48.4 OPP 50.5
33.7 3PT% 34.9
37.1 OPP 34.6
64.8 FT% 63.6
68.2 OPP 68.8
36.9 FTRATE 32
38.5 OPP 30.4
34.8 RPG 41.8
33.1 OPP 36.8
29.5 OREB% 33.7
26 OPP 30.6
13 TOPG 13.6
16 OPP 10.3
19.3 TO% 18.5
23.7 OPP 13.5
81 KenPom Ranking 232

My Two Cents: This time of the year is always difficult in college basketball. Teams go long stretches between games due to finals so rust is always a concern; and with the holidays on tap, it's not rare for perceived favorites to find themselves distracted, leading to struggles or losing outright to underdog teams in guarantee games. The team has a list of issues that the coaching staff is trying to correct so they can't afford to overlook anyone.

Players to Watch: I believe Dazon Ingram needs to be more aggressive on the offensive end. He was scoreless in the 1st half vs Oregon, but was more aggressive in the 2nd, scoring 8 points. Dazon's jump shot has improved, and he can get to the rim, he can post up smaller guys, and he's a decent free throw shooter. I believe he can be a 15 ppg scorer if he wants to be. Donta Hall's first start was a successful one as the big man scored 14 and grabbed 7 boards. Was that game an anomaly or is Donta ready to step up his production?

For Upstate, Michael Buchanan (all 7'0, 285 lbs of him) is averaging a double-double (14.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg) so he's obviously a concern. But Upstate has five players averaging double figures in points, and a sixth player averaging just under double figures at 9.5 so this is far from a one-man team on offense.

Prediction: It goes without saying that Alabama needs to get back in the win column after back-to-back tough defeats. Upstate gave Auburn all it could handle earlier this season, and they could do the same in Tuscaloosa. The Spartans have balanced scoring on offense, and Alabama has struggled with physical big men like Buchanan in recent years. I think Upstate keeps it close, but our guys ultimately pull it out. Alabama - 77 - USC Upstate - 64.

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