Grant Says Arkansas Is Big Challenge

All the Alabama basketball world is thinking there needs to be a change in the starting lineup, but as the Crimson Tide prepares to host Arkansas in hopes of ending a four-game losing streak, the word from on high is non-committal.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said, "We went with a different lineup the other day."

And that is true. In the Crimson Tide's Wednesday loss to South Carolina in Columbia, Bama started freshman inside player Nick Jacobs instead of freshman wing player Levi Randolph, who had started every other game this season. Randolph came off the bench and led the Tide in scoring in a 56-54 loss to the Gamecocks, who had been winless in previous SEC games.

On Saturday, Alabama will host Arkansas in a Southeastern Conference game in Coleman Coliseum. Tipoff will be at 12:30 p.m. CST with television coverage on the SEC network.

With the four consecutive SEC losses, Alabama has fallen to 13-7 overall and 2-4 in SEC games. Arkansas, under new head coach Mike Anderson, is 15-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference. • Arkansas leads the all-time series by a 28-24 margin, but neither team has won on the road in the series since Jan. 27, 2007 when Arkansas won in Tuscaloosa.

Arkansas has won two straight games and three of its last four to improve to 15-5 overall and 3-2 in the SEC. The Razorbacks average 74.6 points per game.

The teams have been winning their games at about the same margin, but in different manners. Arkansas averages 74.6 points per game and allows 65.8 points per game, a winning margin of 8.8 points per game. The Tide averages 65.9 points per game and allows only 57.5 points per game, an average margin of 8.5 points per game.

Grant said the lineup change at South Carolina "was the best lineup for us in that particular game. So we'll see what we have based on practice. For us to be successful we have to play with a passion and I think that is true for any team in our league and any team across college basketball. This is an emotional game. You have to be able to bring that enthusiasm every time you take the court. We just have to learn to be able to do that for 40 minutes. That's what it takes to be able to get wins."

Grant said, "It is two days after a tough defeat and we've lost four in a row. My hope would be that there's a hunger to go out there and compete again tomorrow afternoon. We've got a very good team coming in our building. So I think our mindset is one that we understand the challenge that lies in front of us."

Grant said the team faces a challenge in the Razorbacks. "I think they lead the league in turnovers forced, maybe lead the league in steals," the Tide coach said. "They do a great job at applying pressure and they shoot the ball very well. I think they're among the league leaders in scoring. I see a lot of good things from their team."

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