Stuart McNair

Alabama hosts LSU with chance to sweep this year’s series

Alabama road success gives Tide opportunity for SEC sweeps

It is difficult for a Southeastern Conference men’s basketball team to sweep a two-game series. For one thing, the home court is a serious advantage in the SEC. For another, with 14 teams in the league and an 18-game league schedule, there can be only five two-game series against conference opponents.

For instance, Alabama doesn’t get to play teams like Kentucky and Florida but once this season. (Okay, a little sarcasm there, since both the Wildcats and Gators defeated Bama in Tuscaloosa.)

The Crimson Tide has been swept by Auburn, but Alabama has swept Mississippi State and is coming off a win at Missouri that gave the Tide a sweep of the Tigers.

The Tide has two more opportunities for sweeps, and has already done the heavy work by beating two teams on the road who will be coming to Coleman Coliseum in the SEC stretch run. The first of those is LSU at 2:30 p.m. CST today. The SEC Network will televise the game.

Earlier this year, Alabama defeated the Tigers in Baton Rouge, 81-66. The Tide last had a season sweep of LSU in the 2010-11 season.

Bama is now 15-10 overall and 8-5 in SEC games. LSU is 19-16 overall and only 1-12 in the conference. Alabama’s eight wins matches the UA total in Avery Johnson’s first year as coach last season (8-10).

This is the first of a two-game SEC homestand for the Tide, the first since early in the season. On Thursday Bama will have the opportunity for its final sweep when Georgia visits Coleman Coliseum. Alabama also defeated Georgia on the road, one of five SEC road wins (against two road losses) for Alabama this season. The Tide is tied for best in the conference in SEC road victories, and the five road wins in league play is the first time for that success for Bama since 2004-05.

LSU and Alabama will meet for the 177th time in program history, with the Tide leading the all-time series, 105-71. The 177 meetings is second and the Tide's 105 wins rank third against any one opponent. Alabama comes into the game having won two straight over the Tigers and owns an all-time record of 71-20 when playing LSU in Tuscaloosa, including a 39-8 mark at Coleman Coliseum.

In this year’s game at Baton Rouge, Alabama was led by graduate transfer Corban Collins, who had a season-high 24 points. Interestingly, Collins had started his college career as an LSU player, but transferred after a year.

Job One for Alabama today will be defense on LSU sophomore antonio Blakeney, who leads the Tigers in scoring (17 points per game) and has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 15 games, including topping the 20-point mark in the last three outings. Duop Reath (12.8) and Brandon Sampson (11.3) are also double figures scorers for Coach Johnny Jones.

Freshman Braxton Key (12.1ppg) and redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram (10.5 ppg) lead the Tide in scoring.

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