Off the heels of a 24-point loss at Auburn on Tuesday night, Alabama (15-4 overall, 2-3 SEC) hosts Arkansas (13-7 overall, 2-4 SEC) at 2 p.m. in Tuscaloosa. Alabama got lost in transition against Auburn on Tuesday night, giving up easy bucket after easy bucket to the cross-state rival.
Much the same happened in Alabama's first meeting against the Hogs. Arkansas handed Alabama its worse defeat of the season earlier this month, beating the Crimson Tide by 27, 88-61 in Fayetville, Arkansas on January 6.
"When we played them a few weeks ago, we had a lot of trouble with transition, getting back on defense with them," Alabama junior college transfer Mykal Riley said. "We have improved a lot on our defense since then so hopefully that won't be a problem this time around."
Problems playing on the road have not been unique to Alabama, as no team from the SEC West has won a game o the road this season. Alabama has won 17 games in a row at Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama hasn't had sparkling play at home, either, but like good teams do it has found ways to win in its two previous conference games there. Against Georgia last week the Tide trailed 18-2 before spending the rest of the game clawing its way back into position for Ron Steele's last second shot to win the game, and LSU shot a lethargic 35.7 percent from the field, including 3 of 17 from 3-point range in Bama's 71-61 win in the conference opener.
"In general we just haven't been very sharp in really any phase of the game in those losses that we've had. Offensively and defensively, we've got to get better, " Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried said. "I always tell our team each game is its own game, and very few times in our league does one game affect another game if you're winning or you're losing."
Alabama will need to stop Arkansas' Sonny Weems, Gary Ervin and Patrick Beverley, who each put up 18 points in the last meeting between the two teams. Hog's 7-footer Stephen Hill, who scored just four points in his last meeting against Alabama, must also be kept from getting easy baskets inside.
Charles Thomas is Arkansas leading scorer at 12.2 points per game.
"Arkansas is a terrific, terrific team, and we learned that in Fayetteville," Gottfried said. "But I think our guys are ready to play."
All five Tide starters are averaging in double digits in scoring, and Alonzo Gee leads Alabama at 14.7 points per game. Jermareo Davidson is just a fraction away at 14.5 points. Richard Hendrix averages 13.8 points. Riley is averaging 12.6 points and Ronald Steele averages 10.8 points a game.
Saturday's game is listed as a sellout.