On Monday night, Nate Oats picked up his first win of his tenure at Alabama. The Crimson Tide now have a record of 1-1 going into Friday’s road contest versus Rhode Island, URI, (1-1). The Rams are coming off a tough 18-point road loss against No. 7 Maryland while, their lone win was over LIU Brooklyn. Meanwhile, Alabama is coming off a decisive 78-59 win over Florida Atlantic. The URI game on Friday is the second meeting of a home-and-home series that was scheduled under the previous staff. The Crimson Tide won the first meeting in Tuscaloosa 68-64. This will be a tough road test for the Crimson Tide so early in the season. The Rams like to slow the pace down and limit their opponents’ possessions per game. Per KenPom (kenpom.com), Rhode Island is 158th in the nation in adjusted tempo at 71.6 possessions per 40 minutes. Alabama is ranked 7th in the nation in adjusted tempo at 77.1 possessions per 40 minutes. The problem Rhode Island has, however, is they’re not a great shooting team. As a team, URI shoots 34.3% overall which is statistically one of the worst in the country. They try to make up for this by being one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country with 16 offensive rebounds per game. The key to this game for Alabama is to limit Rhode Island’s offensive rebounds. If Alabama can limit Rhode Island’s second chance opportunities then that combined with their poor shooting statistics, to this point, will allow Alabama to win the game. This effort starts with defensive rebound in which Alabama is ranked 46th in the country with 29 defensive RPG. This will be a major factor in Alabama’s chances to win the game.
Key Players for Rhode Island:
Guard: Jeff Dowtin (13.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2 APG)
Guard: Fatts Russell (11.5 PPG, 3 RPG, 5.5 APG)
Forward: Cyril Langevine (11 PPG, 16 RPG)
Guard: Tyrese Martin (11 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3 APG)
Alabama will get its first road test of the season on Friday at Rhode Island. Unfortunately, many of the Crimson Tide’s best players are battling injuries. The good thing, however, is some of the injured players are still able to play effectively and some of the others are stepping up as well. One player who stepped up tremendously last game is Forward/Center Javian Davis. He had 19 points and 9 boards. If he can have another good game and help limit the rebounding from URI Forward Cyril Langevine (16 RPG), I believe the Tide will pull out a close win.