Alabama vs. Troy

Coach Don Maestri brings his Troy Trojans to Coleman Friday night having to replace four senior contributors from last season. Maestri went the junior college route by bringing in five transfers to go along with a handful of returning contributors. This gives the Trojans eight upperclassmen on the roster.

With all the new faces, there is a familiar one to Tide fans in Justin Jonus. After transferring from Bama, Jonus eventually landed in Troy after a brief stop at Birmingham Southern.

Another eye-catching player is Tom Jervis, one of the five transfers, who is an athletic seven footer. They also return their leading scorer in O'Darien Bassett who averaged 15.1 points per game last season at guard.

You know the old saying "You can't teach old dogs new tricks?" That statement certainly applies to Coach Maestri, whose teams have always run and gun. Last season was a good example when they attempted 784 threes.

This season, at least for one exhibition game, it was no different when they attempted 44 in a 112-76 win over West Alabama. Troy likes to play a full court/up-and-down game while pumping from the arc.

In some cases, instead of an uncontested lay-up they will shoot a three ball. Coach Maestri plays several players in every game in order to keep fresh legs. In the exhibition game, 11 players had double digit minutes. Troy still has some size to play half court if necessary while running their motion offense.

With a guard oriented team, Alabama would like to also run the floor. The Tide experimented with that in their 99-71 exhibition win over North Alabama. Look for Bama to continue with that trial against Troy. If that's the case, you better loosen-up your neck because it will be a tennis match.

When the opportunity doesn't present itself for a transition game, look for Alabama to go inside to Richard Hendrix. When the game slowed down against North Alabama, the Tide turned to Hendrix as he over-powered the opposition.

With the possible frantic pace, Alabama will need to control turnovers as they made lead to easy baskets (three point baskets). I'm sure Coach Maestri has instructed his team to harass the young and inexperienced Tide guards. Bama should use their athleticism to their advantage when driving the lane for lay-ups or dishing to Hendrix.

On defense, this is another opportunity for the Tide to work on their perimeter man-to-man. Whoever has Jonus on assignment, will need to be aware of where he is when Troy has the ball. Jonus nailed 5-11 three pointers against West Alabama, and ended up with 25 points for the game.

As a team Troy hit 18 three pointers in that game which was the difference. Every starter, including the seven foot Jervis, made multiple three pointers. With the length of Bama's wing players, the Tide should make it hard to duplicate that effort.

Where Alabama will have decisive advantage, is in the rebounding department in that Troy lost their top four rebounders from last season.

Troy should succumb to the quicker, more athletic Bama team.

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