Tide on the Road

Alabama Men's Basketball Team (11-5, 0-1) travels to Fayetteville, (Ark.) to take on the Razorbacks (12-3, 1-0) this Sunday (1/13/08) at 3pm CST. In a game that is featured regionally on the Raycom Network, this is a battle of western division foes.

Arkansas returns all the key cogs from their NCAA tournament team from last season that has tremendous size, experience, and talent. The only major difference is the head coach, John Pelphrey, who is putting his touches on this program.

Coach Pelphrey wants a product on the floor that is quicker, more athletic, and defensively sound which has lead to a different starting line-up than last year.

Starting in their conference opener in a win over Auburn 76-70 were Patrick Beverley (6-1, sophomore guard), Stefan Welsh (6-2, sophomore guard), Sonny Weems (6-6, senior guard/forward), Charles Thomas (6-8, senior forward), and Steven Hill (7-0, senior center).

Coming off the bench after being starters last year are Gary Ervin (6-0, senior guard) and Darian Townes (6-10, senior forward).

On offense, the Razorbacks average 74.7 points per game with four players averaging double figures (Beverley – 12.7, Weems – 12.4, Townes – 11.7, and Thomas – 10.3).

Arkansas has shooting percentages of 48 percent from the floor, 32.3 (76-235) percent from the three point line, and 67.9 percent of the free throw line. The Razorbacks distribute the ball at the rate of 15.7 assist and 16.9 turnovers per game.

Arkansas' offense runs through the wing positions as Weems and Beverley have the green light for jumpers or dribble penetration for lay-ups and dishes.

Defensively, the Razorbacks only surrender 63.1 points per game while holding their opponents to 40.9 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from the arc. Arkansas also averages 8.3 steals and 5.7 blocks per game while forcing their opponents to 17.5 turnovers per game.

The Razorbacks enjoy a 6.9 rebounding margin over the opposition by averaging 37 per game compared to 30.1 for the competition.

For Bama, this game marks the fourth time this season the Tide has played a team with the "total package" of size, experience, and outside shooting. The previous three contests did not bode well for Alabama in the form of losses to Texas A&M, Georgetown, and Clemson.

Defensively, look for Bama to mostly use its man-to-man package to pressure the wings. The key match-ups with this look is Alonzo Gee and Mykal Riley drawing defensive assignments on Weems and Beverley.

Offensively, Hendrix will get a steady dose of Hill and Townes with the intentions of stopping Richard or hacking him. The Tide could use another great offensive performance from Gee along with Riley and Demetrius Jemison contributing some much needed point production.

Look for Rico Pickett to avoid foul trouble with an easier defensive assignment on Welsh as Bama's offense tends to be more fluent when he is in the game.

For the Tide to win, all cylinders need to be firing on defense, rebounds, and everyone getting into the scoring picture.

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