What’s normally a clash for the SEC West in football turns out to be a battle for top dog in SEC hoops as Alabama travels to Baton Rouge on a mission to extend its win streak and retain the conference lead. Tip is set for 8:00 on ESPN.
The Opponent: LSU comes in to this contest at 10-2 overall and playing very well themselves. The Bayou Bengals also like to play with tempo so I don’t expect them to be shy about running with the Tide. LSU can score with anyone as they average 86 PPG. Good for 10th overall in the country. They do it efficiently also, with 51% FG conversion rate. That’s 29th best in the country. These guys can play. As they should considering the odd number of 5 stars and sons of NBA legends that seem to be so interested in playing for a middle tier SEC basketball school. Curious indeed.
Players to Watch: Everyone in Alabama will obviously be paying close attention to Benedict...ummm...Trendon Watford and rightfully so. Watford is averaging 18 PPG and 7 RPG. He has an NBA future and is playing well for Will Wade. However, it’s PG JaVonta Smart that makes LSU go in my opinion. He leads the Tigers in 3Pt FG made per game and APG (4) as well. He’s one of those players that has a knack for making the right play when it matters.
Alabama will have to slow down one of those 2. Petty and Herb will likely draw those 2 the most tonight . Both will need to be at the top of their defensive games and continue to contribute on the offensive end to boot. Not an easy task, but Herb and Petty have shown remarkable leadership of late. While LSU has the talent and depth to score with anyone, the egos tend to show up the most on the defensive end.
My Thoughts: The Tigers don’t communicate well on D and seem content with that with the way they score. They haven’t yet faced on offense like Alabama though. If the shots are falling and Petty is hot, Alabama could flirt with 90 again. KenPom predicts a one point loss for Alabama tonight and Vegas has the Tide as a 1 point favorite. This is a game that could come down to late mistakes and/ or FTs. I’m gonna take Alabama to pull this one out with its relentless defense. Clutch FTs from Quinerly and Shack seal the W as the insufferable Will Wade fouls to the very last second.
Prediction: Alabama 84, LSU 78