Alabama comes into this contest against the Furman Paladins with a 1-2 record after a road loss to Rhode Island. Furman comes into Coleman Coliseum with a perfect 4-0 record averaging a near 83 points per game. Furman not only scores in bunches but scores the ball efficiently as well. The Paladins shoot 52.6% from the field, 36% from 3 and 77.8% from the charity stripe. Alabama has their work cut out for them on the defensive end tonight's matchup. This is the side of the ball that has been a bit frustrating at times for Tide fans. At times, Alabama has real problems staying in front of the ball and playing lackadaisical defense both on and off ball which has led to easy looks for opposing teams. Alabama can’t allow for that to continue in this tough matchup. A positive side of this is that during Alabama’s run to get back into the game against Rhode Island, the Tide played lockdown defense and forced tough shots and turnovers. The upside is there on defense, Alabama just has to put it together consistently. Alabama needs to play to their potentially defensively in this one. To add to the fact that this is a tough matchup, Furman is holding opponents to 58.5 points per game on 42.6% shooting from the field and 31.6% from 3. They have also only allowed their opponents to shoot 26 free throws through four games. This is a team that plays disciplined defense and doesn’t give up many easy looks. Alabama is going to need to knock down the open 3s they will get by getting two feet in the paint and kicking out like they’ve done all season. Arguably the worst trait Alabama has right now is turning the ball over at such a high rate. The Tide has turned it over 56 times in 3 contests which is just under 19 a game. Some of this is attributed to the transition of playing on an extremely slow-paced team coached by Avery Johnson to a team that’s constantly pushing the pace like this team under Coach Oats. It takes time to get these types of wrinkles out. Some turnovers are just careless, however. It is important to limit the carelessness on both sides of the ball in this game. This is a Furman team who went and beat Villanova on the road just last year. Thankfully for Alabama, the dominant Matt Rafferty will not be walking through that door for Furman tomorrow. They do return Jordan Lyons, Clay Mounce, Noah Gurley and Jalen Swanson from last year’s team, however. This is an experienced team who is ready for the fight that’s in store tomorrow. How will Alabama respond to its 1-2 record and the punches to be thrown tonight?
Keys To The Game
· Limit turnovers and capitalize on open 3-point attempts.
· Crash the boards. Can't allow Furman to get easy second chance looks.
· Talk on defense. Can’t allow easy buckets in the half court. This is a very efficient team who will take advantage of any opportunities lazy defense will give them.
Key Players For Furman
Clay Mounce (15.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG)
Noah Gurley (15 PPG, 5.8 RPG)
Jordan Lyons (13.8 PPG)
Jalen Swanson (10 PPG, 6.5 RPG)
This is a very tough matchup against a hungry Furman team. Beetle Bolden has been listed as a game time decision to add to Alabama’s injury issues which doesn’t help heading into the game. Alabama has to be efficient on both sides of the ball tonight which is something we haven’t seen yet. This game could go either way and it shouldn’t surprise anybody. With all this said, I think Alabama is up for the test, will take care of business and pick up its first quality win. I expect this to be a nail-biter and to come down to the final minutes. Give me the Tide in a close one here.
Prediction: Alabama 84, Furman 80
For more Alabama hoops coverage, be sure to follow Crimson Crossover on all social media platforms: