Thursday, November 26, 2015

Game Preview: Xavier

The Alabama men's basketball team has traveled to Orlando to take part in the Advocare Invitational, one of the many college basketball events that take place the week of Thanksgiving. Alabama will open the event against a familiar foe in Xavier, tipping off the event on Thursday at 11 AM. For those unable to make the trip to Orlando the game will be televised on ESPN2. This will be the third time in three years that the two programs will face each other. Xavier has won the last two meetings, and holds a 4-3 advantage in the all-time series. Xavier will also enter this game as the 23rd ranked team in the country in the AP poll. This game will be another significant challenge for Alabama. Xavier is deep, talented, experienced and well-coached.

Stats Comparison

Alabama                                    Xavier

76.7                  PPG                   80.8                                         
.451                  FG%                 .410
.387                  3PT%                .350
.633                  FT%                  .805
34.7                  RPG                   43.5
14.3                  TOPG                11.8

Xavier has seven players that average 9 points or better so Alabama will have to play a better brand of team defense than what we saw on Friday when they allowed Louisiana Lafayette to shoot 46% from the floor (40% from the 3 point line). Scoring 105 points while knocking down 15 3-point shots is fun to watch but, let's be honest, that was likely an outlier. Miss half of those 3-point shots and Alabama would have potentially been faced with a second straight ugly loss, this one at home. To beat the best teams on its schedule (and Xavier is definitely in that category), this Alabama team will have to defend at a higher level than what we've seen thus far.

Due to family obligations for Thanksgiving, I will be unable to watch the game live so I will be the annoying guy at the table checking his phone every two minutes. For those of you making the trip to Orlando, have a safe trip and enjoy yourselves. And may all of our readers and contributors have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. If the worst thing that happens to us this week is the Alabama basketball team loses some games, so be it. Roll Tide!  

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