What is hard to remember is that Levi Randolph did not start the game for Alabama. Randolph had a knee injury prior to his junior season and started only 19 of the Tide’s 32 games a year ago. He has started all 21 this year and almost certainly will be in the opening lineup at 8 p.m. CST in Coleman Coliseum Wednesday when Bama hosts Missouri.
The SEC Network will televise the game. (Why else would Alabama be having so many 8 p.m. weekday tipoffs?)
Randolph, who was the unanimous choice of the team in an election that made Randolph a rare pre-season permanent captain, leads Bama in scoring (14.6 points per game), assists (2.4 per game), and minutes played (34.3 per game).
While Randolph is an almost certain starter for the Tide, Alabama’s second leading scorer this year is definitely out. And Ricky Tarrant, a junior point guard who was averaging 13.1 points per game before suffering a leg injury against Florida, is out indefinitely, according to Coach Anthony Grant. Tarrant also missed last week’s loss at Kentucky, where junior Retin Obasohan started in his place.
There were a few areas of encouragement in recent SEC games, even though Bama has lost five of its last six games and winning by only two points against Auburn. One of those areas is how sophomore Shannon Hale played at Kentucky last weekend, scoring a team high 13 points. And, Grant said, Hale played with greater effort.
Wednesday’s game will mark the midpoint of Southeastern Conference play. Alabama is 13-8 overall and 3-5 in Southeastern Conference games. Missouri is 7-14 overall and 1-7 in the conference.
Without mentioning Missouri’s poor record, Grant said he thought that outside of his own team that the Tigers have had the toughest SEC schedule. Mizzou’s only conference victory came in the first SEC game of the year when the Tigers beat the LSU Tigers in Columbia in overtime.
Grant called Missouri a “deep” team, a nice mix of youth and veterans, with good outside shooting and size inside for rebounding and scoring.
Alabama is averaging 67.9 points per game to 62 for Missouri. The Tigers are last in the league in scoring. Bama holds opponents to 63.5 points per game. Mizzou is next-to-last in the SEC, allowing 68.1 per game.
Alabama has an all-time record of 5-3 against Missouri (there is no other SEC team Bama has played so few times), but the Tigers have won three of the last four.