Friday, January 13, 2017

Game Preview - at LSU

Following a frustrating home loss to the Florida Gators on Tuesday night, our guys are back on the road, in Baton Rouge to play the LSU Tigers. Tip time is 2:30 PM CT. The game will be televised on the SEC Network. No other way to say it, our team was an absolute mess on Tuesday night, turning the ball over 18 times (which led to 27 Florida points) and missing 50% of their free throws. LSU enters this game really struggling. The Tigers are 1-3 in conference play. In their three losses, their opponents are averaging 94.3 ppg. At this point, it seems a matter of when, not if, Johnny Jones is relieved of his duties. However, if Alabama doesn't address the issues that cost them a shot at a top 25 win on Tuesday, they're likely to return to Tuscaloosa with their second conference loss.





Alabama
LSU














67.8 PPG 76.3





62.4 OPP 78.2





42.7 FG% 46.2





40 OPP 45.6





48.6 EFG% 51.4





46.5 OPP 51.9





31.4 3PT% 35.6





34.6 OPP 35.1





64 FT% 64.4





67.7 OPP 67.3





37.4 FTRATE 29.3





34.7 OPP 33.7





39 RPG 38.4





32.5 OPP 37.3





33.5 OREB% 32.7





24.5 OPP 31.1





13.8 TOPG 14.4





14.7 OPP 13.2





20.3 TO% 19.7





21.6 OPP 18





77 KenPom Ranking 135




My Two Cents: On paper, this looks like a great opportunity for Alabama to notch their second true road win of the season. LSU is a mess right now, and I would be shocked if they can pull out of this tailspin to save Johnny Jones' job. But do you trust this Alabama team right now? I want to, I really do. There have been  moments in the last five games in which this team has shown a lot of toughness, and the ability to overcome their shortcomings, but it's only moments. The Florida game was a microcosm of this season so far. The team came out flat and leaderless, collected itself and fought to get back into the game, but the lack of simple fundamentals (free throws, the inability to protect the ball, scoring droughts) conspired once again to prevent the team from a momentum win. As long as these issues remain a thorn in this team's side, they can lose to anyone, particularly on the road. The next three games (at LSU, Missouri, at Auburn) are all very winnable games, providing this team with a shot to get past the Tuesday disappointment, and build a nice early record in league play.

Players to Watch: Dazon Ingram had his worst game of the season on Tuesday, contributing 8 points and 7 turnovers vs 2 assists. He was lethargic throughout, he was very loose with the basketball, and he wasn't aggressive on the offensive end with only one field goal attempt. With Braxton Key having his best scoring night of the season, if Dazon shows up and plays with purpose, that's a very different game. Yes, he's a young player with only a total of 22 games under his belt as a college player; but Dazon has to realize his importance to this team, and play at a higher level. I expect to see a much different performance from him on Saturday.

I have to feel for Antonio Blakeney. He's a heck of a player, stuck on a really bad team. If LSU wins on Saturday, Blakeney will likely play a large part. He leads the team in scoring (17.5 ppg, 47% FG, 37% 3-pt), and is second in rebounding (5.1). He does have a tendency to turn it over (2.4 pg), but he's the type of guy that can hang 30 on you easily.  

Prediction: I have no idea. I think our guys are the better team, but it's hard to know how a team that has been as up-and-down as they have will respond on the road, or even game to game for that matter. Assuming our team brings their defense on the road, and they can continue to be physical around the rim, I would lean towards them winning this game; however, I write that with little confidence. Alabama - 68 - LSU - 67

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