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Opponent Preview: Towson Tigers

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Alabama opens up basketball season with a home game against the Towson Tigers

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

As November rolls on the leaves really start to fall, the colder weather moves in, the days get shorter, and we all start to hear the squeaking of rubber on hardwood. Basketball season has returned, and as we enter Anthony Grant's 6th season with the Crimson Tide, the direction of the program is at a bit of a crossroads. Last season, the Crimson Tide had their worst year in quite some time, despite the presence of one of the best point guards to ever play in the Crimson and White. Needless to say, there are a lot of questions that Alabama fans are justifiably asking right now about the program. In short, there are a lot of ifs.

Regardless of anyone's opinion of the program, the upcoming season brings new hope that the next chapter will be better than the last, and it starts with a relatively easy opener against the Towson Tigers of the Colonial Athletic Association. Towson is a bit of a feel-good story, as Head Coach Pat Skerry has led one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA history, taking a team that went 1-31 in 2011-12 and guiding them to a school record 25-11 last season. Despite what must have been a flurry of job offers, Skerry stayed put with Towson and is hoping to build off a year in which they finished 2nd in the CAA and participated in the College Insider Tournament (CIT).

However, the task of repeating last season's success will not be an easy one for Towson, as they lost their top four scorers from a year ago. They also have very few seniors this year, meaning they will be a very young team.

Starting Five

  • PG Josh Ivory (10.6 PPG, 4.2 APG, 3.0 RPG); transfer (Baton Rouge Community College)
  • SG Four McGlynn (9.2 PPG, 0.8 APG, 1.5 RPG)
  • SF John Davis (3.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 0.1 APG)
  • PF Timahj Parker-Rivera (6.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 0.3 APG, 1.2 BPG, 0.6 SPG)
  • C Walter Foster (1.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.8 BPG)

As you can see, there aren't many points returning from a year ago, as only Parker-Rivera and McGlynn played in every game last year. McGlynn is a very good shooter though (40.5% FG%, 40.7% 3P%, 91.3% FT%), and will obviously be their go-to guy offensively. Ivory spent his first season playing at Cleveland State before transferring to BRCC, so he isn't completely inexperienced. He's a tough, physical guy, but he doesn't have the greatest skills. Davis only played about 8.6 MPG last season, and hasn't exactly locked up the starting spot, but he has experience in the system. Parker-Rivera is probably the most versatile player on Towson's roster. He actually averaged more MPG than McGlynn last season, and played everywhere from the wing spot to center. Foster is a big guy (6'8) and will man the center position for the Tigers. He dealt with some injury problems last year so his number should see a solid increase to go along with his increase in minutes.

Bench

  • G Byron Hawkins (Freshman)
  • G Eddie Keith Jr. (Freshman)
  • G Jordan McNeil (Freshman)
  • G Mike Morsell (Freshman)
  • F A.J. Astroth (0.4 PPG, 0.6 RPG); transfer (Vanderbilt)
  • F Alex Gavrilovic (2.3 PPG, 1.4 RPG); transfer (Dayton)
  • C Jamel Flash (0.3 PPG, 0.4 RPG)

Towson's inexperience really shines through when you check out the depth in the backcourt. Every single back-up guard is a true freshman, which means this team will be relying on a lot of guys who have never played college ball before whenever one of the starters need a breather. Astroth, in case that name rang a bell when you heard it, played sparingly at Vanderbilt two years ago. He may end up becoming the starter at the wing forward position, as he obviously has talent. Flash gives the Tigers a large specimen in the post, as he stands tall at 6'10.

Considering it is the first game of the season, it's kind of hard to draw conclusions and provide a strong amount of analysis when glancing at this roster, as no one has seen this team play a game yet. Still, it should be expected that Alabama will have an edge in both talent and experience, and with this game being at home, the Tide should have an easy time in this one.