Place: Coleman Coliseum (Tuscaloosa, AL)
TV: SEC Network
Advanced Metrics via KenPom: Texas A&M has a 29% chance to win
Results of Note
They opened SEC play with a huge win at home over Kentucky, but then they played poorly in an underwhelming loss at LSU.
Their non-conference results are all over the place. They‘ve got some good wins to their name (Arizona, Penn State, Murray State), but they also tend to play down to the level of their competition and grab inexplicable losses (Northeastern, Georgia State).
We could be that mistake!
Things to Watch
Freshman Kira Lewis pulls the strings out top. He leads the team in scoring and assists, and he’s a cold blooded killer at the free throw line. Down low they rely on Donta Hall, who is extremely efficient. He gets to the line a ton, and he rebounds well on both ends of the floor. John Petty and Tevin Mack can shoot, and that just about wraps up the discussion of individual weapons that should concern us.
They’re deeper than most teams we’ll see, with up to 10 guys seeing regular action.
The teamwide advanced metrics… really don’t look that bad for us. Despite our poor record, our defensive statistics have held up quite nicely, and Alabama has a run-of-the-mill offensive product.
The Alabama offense isn’t loaded with weapons. It’s a far cry from what we saw at Kentucky, and it’s one of the more approachable road games we’ve got in conference play this year. The Crimson Tide are a well-drilled unit, and Avery Johnson has them playing some good ball… but for some reason I’m a little optimistic. Maybe the game at Kentucky has me fooled. Who knows.
The obvious sticking point remains: We’ve got to improve offensively. Perhaps more than any team in the SEC, we are reliant on one player (Starks) to create on basically every possession that isn’t a fast break. He has improved his play recently, and we were able to get out and run some against Kentucky, but that’s not a long term solution. Someone in that Flagg/Mekowulu/Mitchell crew needs to establish themselves as a reliable second offensive option for long stretches, not just for a few possessions at a time.
If we can do that, we could grab one before we hit a stretch with 5 of our next 6 at home. Wouldn’t that be something.