Tide Must Prepare For More Than One
Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said Monday, "It's a mistake if you think Ole Miss is a one-man team."
The Crimson Tide will host the Rebels at 8 p.m. CST Tuesday (weather permitting) in Coleman Coliseum with ESPNU televising the game. The "weather permitting" is based on Tuscaloosa being under its second winter storm watch in the last few weeks. The last one was bad, but the forecast (for what that's worth) is that temperatures will be above freezing and that a cold rain is in the offing.
Alabama is struggling, 9-14 overall and 3-7 in Southeastern Conference play with Bama having lost four consecutive games and six of its last seven. Ole Miss is 16-7 overall and 7-3 in the league, although coming off a loss at Kentucky.
Grant's team has had its problems with one-man teams (Arkansas freshman Bobby Portis had 35 in the Razorbacks'65-58 win), two-man teams (Tennessee got 22 from Jarnell Stokes and 26 from Jordan McRae in the Vols' 76-59 romp over the Tide in its last home game), and the Tide gave up double figures scoring to all five Florida starters in Bama's last outing, a courageous battle against the third-ranked Gators in Gainesville, 78-69.
The Rebels are led by Marshall Henderson, last year's leading scorer in the SEC and third in the league this year at 19.6 points per game. He's getting help from fellow guard Jarvis Summers, who is averaging 17.4 points per game.
Henderson does have the highest scoring game by an SEC player this year, 39 against Oregon when he made 10 three-point shots. He has scored eight treys against both Tennessee and Missouri.
Alabama's concern, though, is not that the opponent has one or two high scorers. Bama's problem is having only one. Senior guard Trevor Releford is averaging 18.3 points per game to rank seventh in the league. The only other Tide player in double figures is guard Retin Obasohan, who is averaging 11.2, but who hasn't hit double figures since Jan. 18 at Missouri.
Releford went over the 1,700-point mark in scoring in the Tide's game at Florida. With 1,702 he is the 10th player in Alabama history to reach that plateau.
There is a good sign in Bama being home against the Rebels. Alabama has made 47.8 per cent of its field goals and 36.5 per cent of its three-point shots in Coleman Coliseum. Those percentages drop to 40.4 and 27.3 on the road.
The Tide has had particular trouble against good shot-blockers, and Ole Miss is one of the nation's best in that statistic, led by 6-9, 220-pound Aaron Jones, who is averaging 2.6 per game.
Alabama leads the all-time series against the Rebels by 117-54, including a 71-10 mark in Tuscaloosa and 37-6 in Coleman.
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