Updated: Feb 11
Who: Alabama, 12-7 (4-2) @ No. 22 LSU, 15-4 (6-0)
When: 6:00 p.m. CT, January 29, 2020.
Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA.
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink)
After defeating Kansas State at home, Alabama extended its win streak to four games ahead of the road trip to Baton Rouge on Wednesday evening. The Tigers are slated to host the Tide with a 15-4 record and are currently undefeated in conference play. LSU has not lost since December 21. LSU has won eight games in a row heading into this game. LSU has been challenged in SEC play, as only one game has been decided by more than four points. The Tigers are averaging 79.6 points per game on 47.9% shooting. They are also holding opponents to 69.6 points per game. This is compared to Alabama who is scoring 82.8 points per game on 44.2% shooting and holding oppenents to 76.6 points per game.
Per TeamRankings, this matchup is between the No. 4 scoring team in the country, Alabama, and No. 11 LSU. Coming into this game, Alabama is ranked 3rd in the nation in adjusted tempo, per KenPom, at 76.1 possessions per 40 minutes. LSU ranks 78 in this metric averaging 70.3 possessions per game. Pace wise LSU averages near the same amount of possessions as Auburn does which means that they can play fast or slow depending on what presents itself in real time. LSU ranks fourth in adjusted offensive efficiency (points scored per 100 possessions) at 117.7 compared to Alabama who ranks 47 at 110.5, per KenPom. One last KenPom stat that I found very interesting, while the Tigers hold opponents to 7 points per game less than Alabama, they are ranked 139 in adjusted defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) at 100.8 compared to Alabama who is ranked 62 at 95.5. Arguably the most important ranking, however, is that LSU sits at 25th in the NET as I write this. Alabama ranks 41st in the NET currently. This is a huge Quadrant 1A opportunity for the Tide to steal on the road.
Alabama must rebound the ball much better than their last outing against Kansas State if they want a chance to pull of this upset. Darius Days, Trendon Watford, and Emmitt Williams are all outrebounding all Tide players other than John Petty-- who only Days is outrebounding. However, all 3 Tiger players are averaging at least 2.2 offensive rebounds per game. Alabama must be physical and box out to have a chance in this one. Another key is going to be limiting turnovers which Alabama had done well leading into last week. Skylar Mays ranks 3rd in the SEC in steals per game, so Alabama cannot afford to give LSU easy baskets in transition when they turn up the pressure on Alabama.
Key Players to Watch:
G Skylar Mays (15.7 PPG, 2.1 SPG, 48.8% FG%)
F Emmitt Williams (13.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.3 BPG)
F Darius Days (11.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 49.7% FG%)
This is going to be a great test for both teams to see where they stand as January comes to an end. I think the Tide will be more motivated and ready for this game than the previous two outings. I think both teams will come out aggressive and force the other to make mistakes. LSU has experience winning these types of close, grind it out games. I could see this game going either way and won’t be surprised by the outcome. With that said, give me Alabama picking up another signature win, and its first quality win on the road.
Alabama – 84
LSU – 80
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