LSU Tigers @ Alabama Crimson Tide When:
Saturday, January 25th - 7:00pm Where:
Coleman Coliseum (15,316 - 27th NCAA) How:
TV: ESPN2, Radio: 98.1FM, Stream: ESPN3.com
Saturday night in a pivotal game for LSU, the Tigers head to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama. Wednesday night, LSU took care of Missouri at home to put them right back in the race for a NCAA Tournament birth. On Thursday, Alabama fought Florida to the wire before losing at home to the SEC leading Gators. It snapped Alabama's 14 game SEC home winning streak. Coleman is not the easiest place to play.
Alabama has lost 3 times at home this year; one to Wichita St by 5 (Wichita is 20-0), one to Xavier by 3 (Xavier is 15-4) and one to Florida by 4 (Florida is 16-2). Alabama is led by their senior guard Trevor Releford. He averages 18.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.4 steals per game. He shoots 89% from the free throw line and 39% from beyond the arc.
LSU has struggled to stop scoring guards recently, however, Releford is only 6'0" tall so he will be more manageable than some of LSU's more recent struggles with tall guards. Alabama has only one other double digit scorer in Retin Obasohan. He averages 12.2 points per game from the off-guard position. You could consider Alabama's squad a poor-mans Missouri with the respect that they score from slashing guard positions and use a pressure zone to slow you down.
Unlike many 2-3 zones that pack the inside, Alabama is not scared to step out above the three point line to force errant passes. While this can create turnovers, it also leaves room for opponents to get the ball to the shoulder where LSU's Jordan Mickey and Johnny O'Bryant have had success in recent games. Alabama has been able to hold 8 teams to 65 points or less; they've won each of them. However, they have lost all 10 games where opponents scored over 65 points.
The Tide doesn't have a high powered offense, but they will slow you down and make every possession count. LSU should be able to handily win the rebound battle. Limiting turnovers and making some open shots are key to winning at Coleman. LSU has lost their last 9 games in the Coleman Coliseum so any win is a great win. Prediction:
LSU 67, Alabama 64