Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Game Preview - Ole Miss

Alabama will play its final home game of the regular season on Wednesday night when the Tide welcomes Ole Miss for Senior Night. The Rebels (18-11, 9-7) have won 6 of their last 8 games, and are hoping to get into the bubble discussion with a strong finish to the season, while Alabama is simply trying to get back on track after back-to-back losses. Game time is 7:30 PM CT. The game will be televised on SEC Network. Three seniors (Corban Collins, Jimmie Taylor and Bola Olaniyan) will be honored before the game (I'm assuming Shannon Hale will not take part, due to suspension) Though this has been a, at times, frustrating season, I do encourage all of you that can to show up early for the game tomorrow to celebrate the seniors. These guys have been great representatives for the program and the university, and they deserve the best turnout possible.

Ole Miss

68.9 PPG 78.5

65.3 OPP 76.7

41.9 FG% 42.4

40.6 OPP 42.5

47.9 EFG% 48.8

46.4 OPP 49.9

31.2 3PT% 34.6

34.3 OPP 36.8

64.4 FT% 76.4

67.3 OPP 69.1

40 FTRATE 44.6

40.8 OPP 36.8

39.6 RPG 39.2

33.6 OPP 36.7

34.9 OREB% 33.2

26.5 OPP 30.3

14 TOPG 14.5

14 OPP 14.2

20.4 TO% 19.5

20.4 OPP 19.1

68 KenPom Ranking 77

My Two Cents: Prior to last week, Alabama looked to be in good shape for an NIT bid should their NCAA Tournament hopes fall short. Then last week happened, and Alabama currently find themselves ranked 95th in the RPI. Now, I'm not a fan of the RPI, but it is still referenced when selecting teams for both postseason tournaments. With an RPI of 95, this Alabama team suddenly find themselves in real danger of missing the postseason altogether. I know many of our readers are not jazzed about another trip to the NIT, but if it comes down to the NIT or no postseason, I'm going to hope for the NIT every time. Alabama's final two opponents have higher RPI numbers so our guys have a chance to improve their postseason hopes if they can have better results this week.

Players to Watch: Dazon Ingram needs to stay out of foul trouble. Ingram's absence was huge down the stretch of the Georgia and A&M losses. There's no guarantee that Alabama wins those games with Ingram on the floor. But considering that Alabama lost both games by a grand total of 8 points without their starting point guard in crunch time, I don't think it's a stretch to say that Ingram's presence on the floor definitely could have helped in the team at least splitting those two games. Despite the struggles they've had as freshmen, Dazon and Braxton Key need to be on the floor at crunch time and play well for this team to win.

Avery Johnson pointed out in his press conference today that Ole Miss can score 80 points in their sleep. It's true, this team is pretty good offensively. There's at least three guys on this roster (Deandre Burnett, Terence Davis and Sebastian Saiz) that can be the leader offensively on any given night. Davis is one to watch in this game. He plays with a high motor, and will be a chore for Alabama to defend. He's not quite the explosive type of scorer that Stefan Moody was, but he is very hard to stop when he gets going. He has scored double figures in 21 of the 29 games the Rebels have played so far.

Prediction: This Alabama team has looked tired in recent games. While they've been able to battle and stay in the games, the slow starts and inability to close suggests that there isn't much left in the tank for this team. Meanwhile, Ole Miss is playing some of their best basketball of the season. Their ability to score makes me nervous because it will put more pressure on this Alabama offense to keep up. An offense by the way that has failed to score more than 20 points in the 1st half of 4 of their last 5 games. Ole Miss allows points (76.7), but I'm not confident that Alabama can take advantage. I've got a bad feeling that if Alabama has another slow start, this one could get out of hand. Ole Miss - 76 - Bama - 57

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