Tide Can Keep Space In Conference Race

Following the completion of Alabama men's basketball pre-Southeastern Conference schedule, the Crimson Tide was 8-6, and there were some bad losses. Additionally, there were concerns about attitude and injuries. JaMychal Green had been suspended for a handful of games, as had a couple of back-ups. Andrew Steele appeared headed for another lost season due to knee problems.

Moreover, the Alabama team of Coach Anthony Grant was going to open SEC play at Mississippi State and play three of its first five games were on the road. One of the home games was against Kentucky. A good guess at the Crimson Tide record in those first five games would have been 2-3 for the optimists.

Instead, Bama is 4-1 in conference play and has an opportunity to keep space between the Tide and the other SEC Western Division teams. Alabama hosts LSU at 7 p.m. CST Saturday at Coleman Coliseum. Bama is 12-7 overall. LSU has lost three consecutive games and has a 10-10 overall record, a 1-3 mark in SEC games. The game will be televised by FoxSports South.

JaMychal Green has been a different player since returning from his suspension. In SEC games he is averaging 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Andrew Steele has become one of the top Bama subs in an eight-man rotation.

Defense is the key to Alabama success. In the Tide's last eight games, only two opponents (Arkansas and Kentucky) have scored more than 60 points. Bama's defense is surrendering just 57.3 points per game, sixth best in the nation. The Tide allows just .83 point per possession by opponents, which is best in the nation. Opponents have made only 36 per cent of their field goal attempts, second best in the nation.

LSU comes into the game averaging 64.5 points per game, and giving up 64.5 points per game.

Alabama averages 67.5 points per game.

Alabama's starting lineup is expected to have the 6-8, 228-pound junior JaMychal Green and 6-8, 227-pound senior Chris Hines in the middle; 6-6, 210-pound sophomore Tony Mitchell and 6-3, 186-pound senior Charvez Davis at the wings; and 6-1, 180-pound freshman Trevor Releford at point guard.

LSU's projected starting line-up does not include freshman star Ralston Turner of Muscle Shoals, who has been out for over a week, nor does it include two men who started against the Tide last year, guard Chris Bass and forward Storm Warren.

Alabama leads the all-time series with LSU by a 98-66 margin. Bama won both games last year and has won seven of the last 10 meetings.

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