Alabama Hosts Undefeated Friars

Size doesn't always matter, even in basketball. But Alabama Coach Anthony Grant has noted on more than one occasion that this year's Crimson Tide is undersized. Friday night might be a rare situation for Alabama as the Tide will be slightly larger than the opponent.

But remembering that size isn't everything, Alabama is 1-1 against average opposition. Providence College comes into Coleman Coliseum with a 3-0 record for a 7 p.m. CST Friday game. The contest concludes a three-game home-stand in Bama's start to the season.

After losing to Cornell in its opener last week, Bama is coming off an 86-69 Tuesday win over Jackson State. Freshman Tony Mitchell led the way for Alabama with 23 points. Another newcomer, junior college transfer Charvez Davis, connected on five-of-seven three-point shots.

Neither Mitchell nor Davis is listed as a starter as Bama appears prepared to play a lot of men, at least early in the season. In Saturday's game 10 men played and all 10 scored. One who didn't play, point guard Anthony Brock, remains suspended indefinitely for violation of a team rule.

Friday's projected starting lineup for Alabama is point guard Mikhail Torrance (6-5 and averaging 14.5 points per game), wing players Senario Hillman (6-1 and 4.5) and Andrew Steele (6-3 and 3.5), and inside players JaMychal Green (6-9 and 15 points, 7 rebounds) and Justin Knox (6-9 and 2.0).

Providence is led by 6-5 wing player Marshon Brooks of Stone Mountain, Georgia, who is averaging 17 points per game. The Friars' second-leading scorer, 5-10 guard Sharaud Curry, is also from Georgia. The Gainesville native averages 15 points per game. Other Providence starters are from Brooklyn and Jersey City. From Brooklyn, forward Jamine Peterson (6-6, 230) averages 12 points and 11 rebounds and guard Brian McKenzie (6-4) averages 9.3 points. Bilal Dixon (6-8, 228) averages 8.7 points, 8 rebounds.

An area of concern for Alabama Friday has to be rebounding. The Friars are out-rebounding their opponents by 15 per game, while Alabama is slightly below opponents in rebounding. Alabama's starting lineup averages 6-5 1/2, Providence 6-4 1/4.

Providence is making its first road trip of the year. The Friars won the World Vision Invitational, played at Providence, with wins over Bryant, Bucknell and Mercer.

This will be the sixth meeting between the Crimson Tide and Providence and the second game at Coleman Coliseum. Alabama leads the all-time series, 3-2. The most memorable game in the series was a bitter loss for Bama in the 1987 NCAA Tournament when the Billy Donovan-led Friars eliminated the Tide with a 103-82 decision in Louisville. Donovan is now the head coach at Florida, and one of his prize pupils is Alabama's head coach, Anthony Grant.

Providence is coached by Keno Davis, in his second year at Providence after being named 2008 Coach of the Year while at Drake.

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