Thursday, January 21, 2021

Game Preview: (16) Alabama vs Mississippi State

  Alabama heads back home having completely dismantled #22 LSU and reached its highest point in the NET so far at 10. The program is getting consistent national recognition now and deservedly so. Can the Tide stay level headed, ignore the rat poison and maintain its level of play? We’ll find out when Alabama faces Mississippi State Saturday at 5:00 CT. 

The Opponent : Mississippi State will come into Saturday’s matchup licking its wounds after failing to reach 50 points in a loss to in state rival Ole Miss. Head coach Ben Howland and G DJ Stewart offered a troubling admission after the loss stating Ole Miss simply out-hustled the Bulldogs in the Egg Bowl of basketball. That’s not a statement that MSU fans ever want to hear...especially when the most rippin’ and runnin’ team in the SEC is the next opponent. 

 State is 9-6 overall and 4-3 in conference. They’ve been a bit of an enigma of late after beating Florida only to put up a root canal of a performance against Ole Miss. My guess is that the Tide will see the Bulldogs’ best effort Saturday as they seem to play up to the level of competition. 

Players to Watch: Mississippi State features an extremely talented backcourt that includes the man that leads them in practically every category with the exception of rebounding- Iverson Molinar. Molinar averages 17 PPG and 3 APG for Ben Howland. He won’t leave the court much, if any Saturday. It’s DJ Stewart that impresses me the most, however. Briefly recruited by Bama, Stewart chose the Bulldogs and has been playing well this season. He also averages 17 PPG and has a high basketball IQ. John Petty will likely draw the assignment of keeping the talented redshirt sophomore in check.

 It’s hard to identify a single player to watch for Alabama as it has truly been a case of everyone in crimson and white contributing to this recent scorching run for the Tide. There may be one player in the country that can guard John Petty when he’s playing this well. The problem for opposing teams is that said player wears #1 for Alabama and is named Herb Jones. Petty, Primo, Herb, Shackleford and Quinerly are all capable of going off on any given night. Having said that...I’m choosing Alex Reese. The 6’9 senior has accepted his role off the bench and has made the most of his opportunities of late. .I think he has a big day Saturday. 

My Thoughts: This is the perfect recipe for a letdown game. Alabama is coming off of its best performance of the season and Mississippi State its worst. Coach Ben Howland has certainly let his players know that their collective effort against Ole Miss can’t be repeated. If it is...they could lose by 40 or more. Mississippi State will bring it’s best effort in the first half , but Alabama is playing too well right now and is simply the better, deeper team. The streak continues.

Prediction: Alabama 79, Mississippi State 66

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