Stuart McNair

As part of the ESPN made-for-TV series, game will tip at 12:15 p.m.

Alabama must improve defense, rebounding, and shot selection

Alabama basketball gets a tough preseason test at a tough time Tuesday when the Crimson Tide hosts Dayton in Coleman Colisum.

Tuesday’s game tips off at 12:15 p.m. CST Tuesday and will be televised by ESPN2. The game is part of the ESPN Tip Off Marathon.

Alabama Coach Avery Johnson said, “I think it’s very good for our guys. They know they are going to be playing against a good basketball team. Last year we didn’t play that  well against them (in Dayton), but I’m glad we played the game.”

Johnson said, “We have some guys who played in the game last year and I’m anxious to see how they perform.”

The Tide coach said he knew that Alabama’s defensive performance and its shot selection in Friday’s 70-53 win over Coastal Carolina in the season-opener “will not be good enough.” Bama shot only 43.8 per cent from the field and only 38.5 per cent on three-point shots.

Dayton, which defeated Alabama 80-48 in Dayton last year, opened this season with a 96-68 win over Austin Peay. Last year’s loss by the Tide was the worst for Alabama since 2001.

Bama has a 16-game winning streak against non-conference opponents in regular season play dating back to last year. Alabama is 1-3 all-time against Dayton, including a 0-1 win in Tuscaloosa.

Johnson said a team “has to play a 35-minute game” out of the 40 minutes to have success against a good team.

He said he wants to see how the starters play and wants to see how the reserves do when they come into the game. The men coming off the bench, Johnson pointed out, “all started in high school or started for their AAU team have to understand their new role. They have to have an attitude they are going to come out and bust in when they go in.”

Among disappointments in the win over Coastal Carolina, Johnson said, was not getting enough offensive rebounds. That had been listed as a point of emphasis in the preseason. Bama had 39 rebounds against Coastal Carolina, but only 7 offensive boards.

Johnson said Alabama has several possible combinations for a starting lineup, unlike last year when he he felt he had only one possible lineup. And, he said, it may be the best lineup this year will be based on defense.

Alabama’s starting lineup against Coastal Carolina was Dazon Ingram at point, Corban Collins at wing guard, Riley Norris at wing forward, Shannon Hale at power forward, and Jimmie Taylor at center (though Bama doesn’t necessarily designate those positions).

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Braxton Key, however, had 29 minutes in a reserve role, more than Taylor or Hale.

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