The leftovers have been reheated, the kiddos are in bed, and that Irish coffee has just been brewed - it’s time for some Tide Hoops, folks! The 18th-ranked Crimson Tide close out the opening day of the Phil Knight Invitational with a massive matchup with the 12th-ranked Michigan State Spartans. Tom Izzo’s squad is as experienced and battle tested as anyone on the young season, so this will be an incredible opportunity for Alabama to see where they stack up in the national landscape.
Sparty will be a bit short-handed tonight, though. It was announced last night (after I had already written the preview, ugh) that both starting wing Malik Hall and sixth man Jaden Akins (ignore the mistaken tweet below that he is a starter) will miss some time with a foot and ankle injury, respectively.
News on Michigan State.— Brendan Quinn (@BFQuinn) November 24, 2022
Malik Hall is out for this week’s PK80 with a foot injury, per a source. Likely to miss multiple weeks. Serious blow for a roster lacking depth.
MSU could now be down 2 starters vs Alabama tomorrow. Jaden Akins (ankle) is sounding doubtful.
Where Brendan Quinn is absolutely correct though is that the Spartans are not a deep team. Only eight players have logged double-digit minutes per game, and both Hall and Akins were getting north of 20 MPG. The opportunity is absolutely there for Alabama to get a marquee win tonight, which would then put them on the winner’s side of the bracket with #1 North Carolina, #20 UConn, and Iowa State. The loser tonight will move to the side of the bracket with Oregon, Villanova, and Portland.
On the injury front for Alabama, Darius Miles has been listed as ‘Probable’ for tonight. Dom Welch is not expected to make his Crimson Tide debut this weekend.
Alabama is favored by 4.5 points now, following the news regarding Hall and Akin. The game will be aired on ESPN following the Egg Bowl. Big time opportunity tonight y’all.