Who: #14 Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0) vs. Oakland Grizzlies (2-1)
When: Friday, November 19th, 2021; 7:00 PM CT
Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Watch: SEC Network+. Radio Play-by-Play: Crimson Tide Sports Network
The 14th-ranked Crimson Tide welcome head coach Greg Kampe and the Oakland Grizzlies into Coleman Coliseum Friday night for a non-conference clash. Kampe, who is in his 38th season coaching the Grizzlies, is the third-longest tenured coach in the NCAA behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, and his Grizzlies, who hail from Rochester, MI, which is a suburb on the northwest side of Detroit, are a member of the Horizon League, have gotten off to a 2-1 start, including a road win over Oklahoma State and a 21-point home win over top-120 team Toledo.
The Grizzlies have appeared in the NCAA Tournament three times since they joined Division I basketball in 2000, most recently in 2010. Last season, the Grizzlies went 12-18 (10-10) in the COVID-shortened season, including a narrow overtime loss against Michigan, but they were able to make it to within one win of making the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Horizon League final before bowing out to regular-season champs Cleveland State.The Crimson Tide and Grizzlies last matched up back on January 5th, 2013 in Coleman Coliseum, where the Crimson Tide took a 65-45 victory.
Oakland brings in a team that is very inexperienced (337th in experience according to KenPom.com), but they do have some pieces that could provide some issues. JUCO transfer Jalen Moore was in the top 20 nationally in percentage of minutes played, playing just under 92% of the total minutes possible last season in his first season at the Division I level. The 5’11”, 155lb senior managed to average 17.9 PPG and 8.4 APG in that high minutes load last season, and is the focal point of what Oakland wants to do on the offensive end. The Grizzlies also have a trio of forwards in Marquette graduate transfer Jamal Cain, who scored 29 points and grabbed 17 rebounds Wednesday night against Toledo, and second-year players Micah Parrish and Trey Townsend that will also command some defensive attention from the Crimson Tide.
Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide are coming into this game with a top-12 KenPom offense and a top-36 KenPom defense, led by the efforts of their quartet of guards in Keon Ellis, Jahvon Quinerly, JD Davison and Jaden Shackelford. Ellis, Quinerly and Shackelford are all averaging double-figure points this season, while Davison has been more of a facilitator, averaging 4.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game while delegating more of the scoring roles to the other guards. In the frontcourt, Charles Bediako and Noah Gurley have shown improvement from game-to-game in their respective roles, with Bediako breaking out against South Dakota State with 12 points and 6 rebounds. The health of Juwan Gary is in question for this game, with Nate Oats calling him ‘day-to-day’ after injuring his ankle against South Dakota State, but if he can’t go, look for Darius Miles to continue to play more in his absence and produce at a high level (11.3 PPG off the bench).
Key Players for Oakland
G Jalen Moore (12.3 PPG, 7.0 APG)
F Jamal Cain (19.3 PPG, 12.0 RPG)
Oakland has outperformed their preseason expectations so far this year, racking up two impressive wins on the back of their defense that is allowing less than 60 points per game. The Crimson Tide, however, is more talented than any of the first three teams that the Grizzlies have seen this season. The Crimson Tide will have to play better in this game than they did in their previous contest against South Alabama if they want to come out on top in this contest, but the coaching staff knows this and will do their best to have the Crimson Tide ready to play from the opening tip.
Prediction: Alabama 79, Oakland 62
For more Alabama hoops coverage, be sure to follow Crimson Crossover on all social media platforms: