Following a 60-68 loss to Valparaiso in the semifinals of the MGM Grand Main Event, our guys will look to bounce back on Wednesday night against the Billikens of Saint Louis and new head coach Travis Ford. Both teams enter with 2-2 records. Tip time is 8:30 PM CT. Once again, no television. You can stream the game via Youtube here.
Alabama Saint Louis
My Two Cents: Alabama has lost their first two opportunities for quality wins by a total of 14 points. The game last night was certainly in reach, but the team never really played with the type of energy needed to beat good teams. Too many mental errors led to turnovers, missed layups, defensive breakdowns, and free throw shooting continues to be a major concern for this team. Maybe it was the Las Vegas environment or the time zone change, but the team never looked in sync. The only thing that kept the game from being lopsided in favor of Valparaiso is that they didn't play well either. Now the key is for our guys to not allow one loss to become two. I'm guessing a few field trips around town might be canceled today to focus on the practice floor. Going back to Tuscaloosa 0-2 for this trip cannot be an option for this team. Avery and his staff have got to figure out a rotation quickly. Too many guys are playing, and it's affecting chemistry, particularly on the offensive end. Ten guys are currently averaging double figure minutes, with another two averaging 9 and 9.5 minutes.
Players to Watch: This team does not have a go-to guy so it's impossible to determine who will be the guy to watch any given night. This has its advantages, but it also shows up late in games so far this season when Alabama needs a bucket and nobody is there to take the shots. I won't be surprised if Avery elects to sit Dazon for this game after the shoulder injury he suffered last night. If that happens, AJ Jr. and Corban Collins will have to shoulder the point guard duties. It's feast or famine with Ar'Mond Davis so far. Let's hope for a feast on Wednesday.
Saint Louis has three guys currently in double figures: Jermaine Bishop (13.8 ppg, 5 apg, 44% 3-pt), Reggie Agbeko (13.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg), Davell Roby (13 ppg, 2.8 apg, 45.5% 3-pt).
Prediction: I'm off to a slow start with my predictions. I did not foresee the level of offensive struggles that this team has had so far. Any team studying that game last night is going to throw a lot of zone at this Alabama team going forward. It's up to them to make perimeter shots and finish shots around the rim; the number of missed layups by a team with the length and athleticism of Alabama is tough to comprehend. This team is still very much a work in progress, and may be so for the indefinite future. Again, this is a game that Alabama must win. There is no excuse for coming out flat on Wednesday. Alabama - 74 - Saint Louis - 59