After seeing their 10 game winning streak snapped last Saturday at Oklahoma, the Crimson Tide bounced back on Wednesday night to dominate LSU (again), winning 80-61 at home. Bama had used a record setting barrage of three pointers (league record 23) to beat the Tigers in Baton Rouge by 30 points, but this weeks victory came in a totally different way. This time it was the defense leading the way as the team made only 6-24 shots from deep. Alabama sits at 15-4 overall and a perfect 10-0 in the league, and Joe Lunardi now as the Tide slotted as a one seed for the NCAA Tournament. Missouri has missed a few games because of Covid protocol and sit second to Alabama in the SEC standings at 5-3 in the league, 15-3 overall. A win by Bama would make it almost impossible for any team to catch them for the regular season SEC Championship.
What to look for and playing rotation:
Missouri will look to “muck” the game up as much as possible, similar to how Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Oklahoma played the Tide recently. The Tigers are a slow, deliberate, team that makes their money by driving to the basket and shooting free throws. Mizzou is in the top 15 in the country in both free throw attempts and makes. They don't shoot well as a team, banking on Jeremiah Tilmon on the inside and Xavier Pinson as a slasher to create their offense. Tilmor is a 6’10” 240 pound bruiser that averages 13.5 points per game, on 65% shooting from the field, and leads the team with 7.9 rebounds per game. Pinson is the leading scorer at 15.1 points per game and shoots 35% from deep. The other starters are 6’3” Dru Smith, who averages 13.9 points per game and is their best three point shooter at 40%, solid 6’5” 220 pound guard Mark Smith who tallies 10.5 points per game but only shoots 38% from the field, and 6’7”, 240 lb. Kobe Brown, who is a load inside. Brown hails from Huntsville.AL where he graduated from Lee High, and is good for 6.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. The Tigers basically play seven players with Javon Picket and Mitchell Smith garnering the majority of the minutes off the bench. Picket is 6’5” and knocks down 7.8 points per game and grabs 3.1 rebounds. Mitchell Smith is the third of the Smiths on the team and is the main inside reserve. Smith stands 6’10” and scores 4.1 points per game and averages 5.1 rebounds per contest.
As stated earlier Missouri is not a great shooting team. For the season they average 75.2 points per game and surrender 70.2 per night. The Tigers are shooting 45% from the field, 389-857 and 31% from three, 96-310. They get to the line 17 times per game and have sunk 254-309 attempts for 71%. The team only averages 37.3 rebounds per game while allowing 35.1 per game, and average 13.1 assists and 13.4 turnovers. By contrast the Tide averages 79.8 points per game and give up 69.2 for a 10.6 differential. Bama is shooting 43%-527-1207 from the field, including 35% from three point range, 201-566. The Tide’s stout defense is holding opponents to 39% from the field and 30% from deep. Alabama grabs 40.5 rebounds per game and allows 38.8. The Tide’s assist to turnover ratio is almost even with 14.5 assists and 13.9 turnovers per game.
What does the Tide need to do?
Alabama needs to continue to play great defense, and try to do it without fouling. If the Tide can get the Tigers in a running match Bama will have a huge advantage. The home team will not be able to keep up with the deeper, more talented Alabama team. It is time to get back to the Tide knocking down three point shots to open up the lane for the drive and dish they live by, which teams have defended much better over the past four games. Jahvon Quinerly has been a question mark the last several games while the offense has struggled. In the LSU game he was much better and is hopefully now recovered from the illness that cost him some time. When Quinerly is taking care of the ball, driving with purpose, and hitting open threes it opens things up so much for John Petty, Joshua Primo, and Jaden Shackelford to do their thing.
The game tips off Saturday at 11 a.m. CT and can be seen on ESPN. Lets call this one 85-71 for the good guys.