Davis Should Be Ready for Bama

LSU will bring reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Glen Davis to Tuscaloosa for Bama's home conference opener Tuesday night, and Davis will be ready to play despite a recent auto accident, LSU Coach John Brady said Monday.

Davis suffered only bruises and soreness after being hit by another car early Sunday morning. He was driving home after LSU's win over Connecticut Saturday night.

"We thought he had broken a lot of ribs, but he's just very sore one his right side," Brady told reporters Monday on a conference call with reporters. "His left knee is sore a little bit. He came to practice last night and got some of the soreness out. Hopefully it won't affect his play."

Davis, the 6-9, 295 pound Baton Rouge native, is leading LSU (11-3) with 19.4 points and 10.5 rebounds in out-of-conference play.

"He has evolved into a dominant college player," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said Monday, "and quite frankly, there were a lot of people who never though he would get to this point."

Tuesday night's 8 p.m. game on ESPN2 will be the Southeastern Conference opener for the Bengal Tigers, and the second league game for Alabama (13-2, 0-1 SEC).

Alabama's two losses have both come on the road, the last one an embarrassing 88-61 defeat to Arkansas in the conference opener last Saturday. Alabama trailed by 36 points with three and a half minutes to play before Bama went on an 11-2 run in the final moments against Arkansas scrubs.

When you look at the whole picture with a clearer head, in general, Arkansas was phenomenally good for the first 8-10 minutes of the game and we weren't very good," Gottfried. "We talked about the game. We addressed all the things we needed to address and then we moved on. I'm not one of these guys that is going to beat a team down."

One lingering concern for Gottfried and Alabama is the lackluster return of point guard Ronald Steele from knee tendonitis and an ankle injury that bothered him throughout the first two months of the season. Steele has returned to be relatively healthy, but has not been as explosive as he was in the past. Steele is averaging 10.7 points per game and 4.7 assists.

"If he can't return the speed he has to his game then we have to re-adjust," Gottfried said. "Last year when the shot clock was running down he could go in and create a basket. I'm not sure he can do that right now."

Gottfried wasn't thrilled with the Southeastern Conference about the quirky way his schedule sets up for the month of January, when the Crimson Tide plays both Arkansas and LSU twice in the month. In fact, Bama plays its two main Western Division rivals four times in the first seven conference games.

"I voiced this to the SEC, and they are probably going to be a little grumpy that I brought it up," he said. "I don't think we should play those two teams in four of the seven games. What if you have a guy go down? It could change the landscape of the division."

Like most things in high-revenue college athletics today, much of the scheduling is dictated by television interests, but Gottfried said the league should maintain some common sense in scheduling despite television demands.

New Alabama head coach Nick Saban's attendance at the game Tuesday night is still in question. There was talk about Saban being introduced to fans at the basketball game, but Saban might save his introduction at a Crimson Tide basketball game when football prospects are in the stands for a recruiting visit, and when Bama is not playing his former school, with which he hoped to maintain good relations. No decision had been finalized Monday afternoon.


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