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Previewing Alabama

Scouting Report
Season Stats

O-ver-rat-ed! Clap clap clap-clap-clap.

Actually, that might be premature. Between Jermareo Davidson's personal tragedies and the injury to Ronald Steele, you could argue that we haven't seen the real Alabama yet. But what we have seen is, well, nothing close to being worthy of a top ten ranking. Alabama's pythagorean winning percentage only places it 56th nationally.

Especially if we have the services of Trevor Ferguson and Engin Atsur, this is a winnable game for us. Ken's score predictor says 76-74 Alabama. My less-accurate score predictor says Bama wins 78-72. There isn't as big a difference between the two teams as the polls would suggest. A win sure would help our sliding RPI.

Alabama Offense 05-06Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%50.8103Turnover Rate20.7142Off Reb Rate38.023FTM/FGA29.438Alabama Offense 06-07Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%54.260Turnover Rate19.548Off Reb Rate39.735FTM/FGA24.4172

Here we go--Alabama is the first legitimately good offensive rebounding team we've seen since Michigan. The Wolverines seemingly grabbed every single one of their misses in the first 5-7 minutes, but once the Wolfpack started playing with more energy, the rebounding evened out. Michigan finished the game with just a slight advantage. That serves as encouraging evidence that we can hold our own on the glass against Alabama; we're going to need to get some lucky bounces like we did against UM, though.

They don't commit many turnovers and we don't force them, so that's a problem. I hate to sound like a broken record, but that obviously makes defensive rebounding all the more important.

On the plus side, it doesn't look like they're all that deep. Nine guys are averaging 10+ minutes per game; however, in the closest game the Tide have played this season, Gottfried leaned heavily on his starters. The four guys he brought off the bench combined to log 24 minutes. If Wednesday's game is as tightly-contested as I think it will be, I wouldn't be surprised to see a similarly small amount of PT from the bench.

Probable Starters:

Ronald Steele (6-3, 185) -- It's unclear how much Steele will play, if he does at all. He started Saturday's game against Southern Mississippi but only played four minutes. He's an excellent outside shooter and doesn't turn the ball over much. Brandon Hollinger will start in this spot if Steele can't go.

Mykal Riley (6-6, 185) -- Riley has been excellent in a complementary role behind Gee/Hendrix/Davidson. He's primarily a three-point shooter (19-55, .345 on the season), so he doesn't get the free throw line much, but he won't turn the ball over and he rebounds respectably.

Alonso Gee (6-6, 215) -- Gee's role has expanded in 2007 and he's handled it well so far. His 61.7 eFG% is the best among the team's regulars, as is his free throw rate, and he's shooting 42.3% from three (11-26).

Richard Hendrix (6-8, 265) -- Hendrix doesn't get a lot of notice nationally, but it's only a matter of time. As a freshman last season, Hendrix displayed a nice shooting touch, blocked shots, and gobbled up rebounds in bunches. He's proving this year that that was no fluke. Take a look at his line in the scouting report and you'll see red ink all over the place.

Jermareo Davidson (6-10, 220) -- He doesn't shoot as well as you'd like your forwards to (47.7% last year, 42.5% this year), but he adds value in a lot of other ways. He's an excellent rebounder at both ends, he blocks shots, and he has a great turnover rate for someone who has the ball in traffic as much as he does. Good FT shooter, too.


Sophomore Brandon Hollinger (5-11, 170) will see plenty of time if Steele can't go. Hollinger does most of his damage from outside, but he's yet to prove himself to be better than a 31-32% shooter from out there.

Demetrius Jemison (6-7, 225), Yamene Coleman (6-9, 230), Justin Tubbs (6-2, 175) and Mikhail Torrance (6-4, 185)--all of them freshmen--fill out the rotation.

Alabama Defense 05-06Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%49.2143Turnover Rate17.7321Off Reb Rate31.2122FTA/FGA24.15Alabama Defense 06-07Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%40.58Turnover Rate16.0336Off Reb Rate32.2112FTA/FGA21.86

If ever there were an opportunity for a brisk, whistle-free game, this is it. Alabama rarely puts its opponents on the free throw line. Ditto NC State.

The Crimson Tide defense also forces few turnovers, and were it not for their superb FG% defense, they'd be struggling. Even with opponents missing a lot of shots, though, the Tide have a defensive efficiency of 93.5, which only ranks 85th nationally.