Who: Alabama (5-5) vs. Belmont (8-3)
When: 2:30 p.m. CT, Saturday, Dec. 21
Where: Von Braun Center, Huntsville, AL.
Watch: SEC Network (play-by-play: Kevin Fitzgerald; analyst: Dane Bradshaw)
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Roger Hoover; analyst: Bryan Passink)
Alabama is coming off of their best offensive performance in years after the 105-87 win over Samford on Wednesday night. John Petty led the Tide with 39 points and 10 rebounds in 34 minutes. Alabama will need him to continue to shoot with confidence if they want to beat Belmont, but they’re going to need a lot more than just him. The Bruins are one of the highest scoring teams in the country with 80.1 PPG according to TeamRankings (teamrankings.com). On the flip side, Alabama averages a point more. One area that is still a concern, though, is defense. Belmont has the advantage in that area. They’re only allowing 67 PPG while Bama is allowing 78.2. One thing that must be considered is Alabama has played much tougher competition so far, so the numbers are a little misleading. On the offensive side, the Bruins are a very good shooting team averaging 47.6% per game. The Tide only average 43.6%. Because of their excellent shooting percentage, they don’t have the opportunity for many offensive rebounds. If Alabama can step up defensively and alter some of their shots and force them to rebound offensively, they may struggle to do so. Belmont also takes pretty good care of the ball only turning it over 12.9 times a game, while Alabama is one of the worst in the country with 17 per game.
Key Players to Watch:
G Adam Kunkel (19.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.9 APG)
C Nick Muszynski (15.4 PPG, 5 RPG, 1 APG)
F Tyler Scanlon (9.5 PPG, 5 RPG, 3.3 APG)
G Grayson Murphy (8.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 5.5 APG)
Alabama has been playing some of their better games as of late, and John Petty has been almost unstoppable. On Saturday afternoon, Petty will be playing in his hometown of Huntsville and I expect another huge game from him. Alabama will take care of the ball and slow down Belmont just enough to pull out a close win.
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