Alabama Has Tough Task At Wichita State

The Alabama men’s basketball team doesn’t find itself in this position very often, and that seems to be a good thing. The position in question is the Crimson Tide going on the road against a non-conference and ranked team. That is the case for Bama tonight.

Alabama will take on the 11th-ranked Wichita State Shockers at 8 p.m. CST Tuesday in Wichita. The game will be televised on ESPN2. The color man on the telecast will be the most colorful, Dick Vitale.

Wichita State has won 22 consecutive home games, tied for the longest streak in school history.

Following this game, Bama will have five consecutive games in Coleman Coliseum. The Tide will play two games in three days, beginning with a Dec. 19 matchup vs. Stillman (6 p.m. CT on SECN+), folllowed by a Dec. 21 contest against Appalachian State (5:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network).

The Crimson Tide is 6-2 this year road losses to No. 13 Iowa State (74-84) in Kansas City and at Xavier (84-97). Wichita State is 7-1. Alabama is coming off a surprisingly difficult win over Tennessee Tech, 65-53, while the Shockers are coming off a road win at Detroit, 77-68.

Tuesday night’s contest will mark the seventh game in series history between Wichita State and Alabama, and the second time the two teams have met in as many seasons. Wichita State captured last year’s meeting, 72-67, in Tuscaloosa. The series is even at 3-3, while the Shockers own a 1-0 lead when playing Alabama on its home floor.

The last time an Alabama team defeated a top-25 team in a true road game came on Feb. 21, 2004 when the Tide captured a 77-73 win at then-No. 4 Mississippi State. Bama has not won a true road game against a non-conference top-25 team since achieving the feat on Feb. 4, 1996 at then-No. 18 Syracuse (81-68), going 0-4 in such contests since that victory.

The Tide is led by senior guard Levi Randolph, who has scored in double figures in all eight Alabama games this season. He is averaging 17.8 points per game, second in the Southeastern Conference to date. He is hitting 90 per cent of his free throws.

Senior guard Rodney Cooper has three 20-point games over the Tide’s last five contests. During that span, Cooper is averaging a team-best 17 points per game, while shooting 51.9 per cent (28-of-54) from the floor and 52.4 per cent (11-of-21) from three-point range. Over the last three games, sophomore forward Michael Kessens is collecting 8.3 points and a team-best 6 rebounds per game. He has connected on 10-of-15 (.667) from the floor during the three-game stretch.

Four Shockers average in double figures, led by preseason All-Americas Ron Baker (18.5 pts, 4.4 reb, 2.5 assists) and Fred VanVleet (13.0 pts, 5.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 2.4 steals). Seniors Darius Carter (12.3 pts, 5.8 reb) and Tekele Cotton (10.9 pts, 4.0 reb) round out the group.

Alabama will return to Tuscaloosa where it begins a five-game homestand. The Tide will play two games in three days, beginning with a Friday match-up vs. Stillman (6 p.m. CST on SECN+), followed by a Sunday contest against Appalachian State (5:30 p.m. CST on SEC Network).


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