Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Game Preview - Louisiana Tech

Alabama returns to the comfort of Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday night when they host Louisiana Tech from Conference USA. Tech enters the game 5-0. Game time is 7 P.M. CT. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+, via the Watch ESPN app. After injuring his ankle in the Minnesota game, John Petty will be a game time decision on Wednesday. I won't be surprised if we see John sit this one out.

Despite the loss to Minnesota, Alabama moved up a spot in the latest AP poll, from 25th to 24th. No doubt the strange circumstances of the Minnesota game, which included Alabama forced to play 3-on-5 the final eleven minutes and only losing by five, may have led to a sympathetic vote of sorts for the team. Click the links for team and Pomeroy stats.

My Two Cents: While the odd circumstances of the Minnesota game brought Alabama some attention over the weekend (the story quickly went viral after the game wrapped up on Saturday), the hope is that the team and coaches have now turned their attention to their next opponent. During the press conferences on Tuesday, most of the questions to Avery and the players were about the Minnesota game. While Alabama will be the most talented team Louisiana Tech has faced to this point, the Tech program is far from a pushover. In the last five seasons, this program has averaged 25 wins per season. Mike White built the program up, but Eric Konkol has kept it upright, averaging 23 wins in his first two seasons at the helm. Once again, the program is expected to be part of a logjam of teams at the top of their conference. It all adds up to yet another quality opponent that is capable of exiting Tuscaloosa with an upset victory.

Players to Watch: Collin Sexton has more than lived up to the billing in his first five college games. Collin scored 40 in the game vs Minnesota, 19 after the ejections. But more than his ability to put the ball in the basket despite the odds, it was a small gesture he made once the game was complete that impressed me just as much. Despite being a freshman that just went through an unusual situation, Collin called Riley and Galin to him following the game for a huddle on the floor. That kind of leadership is rare in freshmen. Enjoy Collin, guys. He's likely only in Tuscaloosa for one season, but it's going to be a blast to watch him and this team continue to grow.

Tech has four players currently averaging double figures. DaQuan Bracey, a 5'11, 174 sophomore point guard, is second on the team in points (14.9 ppg) and the leader in assists (5.2). He's the floor general for a team that is averaging 83.8 points per game. Alabama cannot allow him to get comfortable and control the pace of the game because there are multiple guys on this team, including Bracey, that can score 20 if the offense is allowed to flow.

Prediction: I'm worried about this game. I don't have a sense of dread, but I am concerned how much hangover there may be about that Minnesota game. Is this young team focused on their next opponent despite getting some national love for a game that did end up being a loss? This game falls neatly between the Barclays games and an important 3-game stretch of UCF, Rhode Island and at Arizona. That makes this a potential trap game. Adding to the trickiness of this game is that John Petty may not be able to play, which would take away the current second leading scorer for this team. Don't be shocked if our guys find themselves in another close game. Alabama - 78 - Louisiana Tech - 72

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