Who: Alabama (1-0) vs. Stanford (0-0)
When: 8:30 pm CT, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.
Where: Harrah’s Cherokee Center; Asheville, NC.
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink)
Alabama’s opening round matchup in the Maui Invitational will come against the Stanford Cardinal, which brings back four returning starters and a top 10 recruiting class, led by 5-star SF Ziaire Williams. This is a huge step up in competition for the Tide, who are coming off an 81-57 win over Jacksonville State. Stanford had a few extra days of rest as their first game was canceled due to COVID-19. No one has seen Stanford play this season, but it is safe to assume they will play very similar to the way they did last year. Given this season's newcomers, they should be even better at what they do. Last season Stanford averaged 70.5 possessions per game compared to Alabama’s 78.3 this season (according to TeamRankings). They like to slow the game down and rely on defense to win games. They ranked 8th in the country in defensive efficiency last season, which was a huge reason they won 20 games and were headed for the postseason before the season was shut down. Stanford has a huge advantage defensively although Alabama (ranked #137 in that category) did show a lot of improvement in the win over Jacksonville State last week. Stanford was #183 in offensive efficiency scoring just 69.5 PPG last season. That’s where Alabama has the advantage. While they did not shoot well against Jacksonville State, they still scored 81 points and head into this game ranked #80 in offensive efficiency. When the shots start falling, and eventually they will, this team will be hard to stop. Another advantage for Alabama is they were able to get everyone playing time in their opener, which will help with depth heading into this three game stretch in Asheville. One major area that needs improvement that the staff has worked on since the last game is rebounding. Alabama gave up too many offensive rebounds in the opener, but that will get better as the season goes on.
Stanford Players to Watch:
-G Daejon Davis (8.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.7 APG)
-F Oscar da Silva (15.7 PPG, 1.5 APG, 6.4 RPG)
-G Bryce Willis (7.8 PPG, 2 APG, 4 RPG)
-F Jaiden Delaire (6.1 PPG, 0.5 APG, 2.4 RPG)
-F Spencer Jones (8.8 PPG, 0.8 APG, 3.2 RPG)
-5⭐️ SF Ziaire Williams (#5 player in the country on 247). 10th rated class on ESPN.
If Alabama wants to win this game, they will need Jahvon Quinerly to carry the momentum from last game into this one. This is a good defensive team Bama is playing, so it could be a challenge at first for him to get adjusted, but he should perform well by the second half. This game could really go either way, and there are a number of factors that could play into it. My prediction is Alabama’s bench is the difference in this one. Having guys like Rojas, Ellis, and Primo come in and step up will give Alabama the slight advantage, and the Tide will advance to round 2 of the winner’s bracket.
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