|3:00 PM CST
|Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Al
|@AlabamaMBB (no live game stream)
Alabama: 16-8 (8-3)
Key Players: Junior G Trever Releford (14.6 PPG, .400 3P%, 2.0 SPG), Sophomore G Trevor Lacey (11.8 PPG, 42/107 3PM, 3.2 APG)
South Carolina: 12-12 (2-9)
Key Stat: Offensive Rebounds/Game - 13.7 (3rd, SEC)
Nothing in depth, but a quick run down of the USC game today. South Carolina (12-12, 2-9) is having a disappointing season in league play, coming into the game today on a 5-game losing streak. Their 10-3 OOC record is deceiving, with no marquee wins and losses to teams such as Morgan State, Rider, Manhattan, and a 15-10 St. John's squad. In conference, it's two wins are an OT contest at LSU and a home victory vs Arkansas. The Gamecocks are one of 3 teams remaining on the Tide's schedule that have an RPI lower than 200, ranked 204th overall (the other two are Auburn, 216, and MSU, 225).
Alabama is coming off a victory at Georgia and is at home in Coleman for only the second time in February. Bama is currently on a 9 game streak of holding opponents to less than 60 points, and the UGA game marks the 16th time in the past 24 games the Tide have achieved this feat. Despite the offensive inefficiencies, Grant and his team are tied for second overall in the SEC with stellar defensive play that has kept Bama in close games and a solid conference record. While the Tide's chances of making the NCAA Tournament are closely debated, I believe everyone can agree this is a game Alabama cannot afford to lose.
UA Head Coach Anthony Grant (UA Athletics):
"We're looking forward to getting a home game. We've had a few road games so it will be good to get home. We're playing a South Carolina team that I have a lot of respect for. Certainly, their coach (Frank Martin) and I go way back until the time when I was about 14 or 15 years old. We went to high school together, we coached together. He's a really good guy. I'm aware of the challenge they've had of late, but really impressed watching their team play in terms of how hard they play, the way they defend, the intensity they play with. Our guys have to be ready for what's coming."
"[South Carolina] are probably similar to us in terms of size in the front court. What's impressive is I think they are top five in the league in offensive rebounding. At one point they were top five in the country at offensive rebounding. They are a team that really excels in transition because of their team speed and athleticism. [Michael] Carrera, a 6-5 freshman, the last four or five games is averaging close to a double-double. I don't think it's anything that has negatively impacted them. The focus for us is we have to be able to take care of the ball, find quality shots, stop them in transition and keep them off the glass. You break every SEC game down and it's probably coming down to those same things."
Grant on Offensive Production (The Crimson White):
"I've got all the confidence in our guys, as long as we take good ones. I told them to stay aggressive. I thought we got a lot of good looks tonight. But we're going to get on a roll where shots are falling for us. We've struggled offensively, but we've done really well on the defensive end, and that's carried us through.
It's about winning. My whole thing with our guys is to trust your preparation. These guys work hard. They're good players. They work on their shooting.
We struggled; there's no secret. We struggled shooting the basketball. I believe it's going to turn around for us."