Stuart McNair

Alabama Basketball Coach Avery Johnson hasn’t settled on lineup

Alabama basketball hosts Charleston Southern Tuesday

If you want to know Alabama Basketball Coach Avery Johnson’s starting lineup or his substitution rotation, you had better be in Coleman Coliseum at 6 p.m. CST Tuesday when the Crimson Tide hosts the Charleston Southern Buccaneers.

Here’s what we know about the starting lineup for the 3-2 Crimson Tide: Johnson is not very happy with it.

And here’s what we know about the rotation: Johnson doesn’t have one.

Bama is 3-2 after splitting a pair of games in Las Vegas tournament play last week – two games in which Johnson said the Tide “acted like we cared” in the final five minutes of the second game.

Bama, Johnson says, has “about seven issues” to deal with in practice.

“I’m not pleased with the team after five games,” he said. “But it’s a long season, a long way to go.”

Alabama’s third all-time meeting against Charleston Southern (also 3-2) will be televised by SEC Network.

Tuesday’s game is the only home game for Bama in the midst of a five-game road schedule. Bama is coming off the two games in Las Vegas, a 68-60 loss to Valparaiso and a 62-57 win over St. Louis, and will play its next two games at Texas (Friday) and at Oregon (Dec. 11).

Johnson made some lineup adjustments in Las Vegas. In the second game, he inserted true freshman Braxton Key into the starting lineup and Key responded with a team-high 16 points. Johnson said, “I wanted him to prove he was a starter. Every practice he was getting after it. He earned it.”

The other adjustment he made in the St. Louis win was inserting forward Shannon Hale at center. Because Johnson mentioned rebounding and missed layups and dunks, and inside defense, that was a clue. But the coach also said he wanted to put more three-point shooters on the floor against a zone defense.

He also spent time discussing turnovers and the need for Bama to be better at “taking care of the basketball.”

Redshirt freshman guard Dazon Ingram leads Alabama in scoring (10.2 points per game), assists (4.2 apg), assists (4.2), and steals (1.4) and is second in rebounds (4.0). Graduate transfer guard Corban Collins and Key, a 6-8, 225-pound player who can man several positions, are averaging 10 ppg. Sophomore Donta Hall leads the Tide in rebounding with 5.6 per game.

Charleston Southern’s top player is sophomore Armel Potter, who led the Bucs in almost all statistical categories except rebounding last year. This year freshman Christian Keeling has emerged as the leading scorer at 17.5 ppg. Potter is averaging 13.5 ppg and Javis Howard adds 11 ppg and a team-leading 7.8 rebounds per game.


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