Another day, another NCAA tournament-caliber opponent on the schedule for Alabama first-year head coach Nate Oats. On Saturday afternoon, Alabama (4-4) will travel to Penn State (8-2) and try to pick up a quality win on the road. Penn State is coming off of an impressive win against the then #4 team in the country, Maryland. Meanwhile, the Tide are on a 2-game win streak after beating Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 6. Both of these teams score a lot of points. According to TeamRankings (TeamRankings.com), Alabama is scoring 79.4 PPG and Penn State is at 79.5. Penn State is also a very good rebounding team with 40.8 per game. The Tide average 2 less rebounds per game than PSU. The key to beating Penn State is going to come down to if Alabama can limit their offensive rebounds. They take advantage of that and their good shooting % as a team (44.7%) and it’s led them to a hot start in Pat Chambers’ 9th season as the Nittany Lions’ head coach. The good news for Alabama heading into Saturday’s game is Nate Oats told reporters that Alex Reese, Herbert Jones, Beetle Bolden, and Galin Smith are all expected to play after suffering various minor injuries.
Players to Watch:
F Lamar Stevens (16.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.1 APG)
G Myreon Jones (13.2 PPG, 3 RPG, 3.3 APG)
F Mike Watkins (11.1 PPG, 9.4 RPG)
G Izaiah Brockington (10.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG)
Alabama has had a nice 2 game stretch and are heading to Penn State right as the Nittany Lions are coming off of a huge win. This would be the perfect time for the Tide to catch them sleeping. At this point, though, I’m not sure if the team is healthy enough and used to the new system enough to pull off the win. This should be a competitive game, but Penn State pulls away the last few minutes.