Tide Basketball Home To Ospreys

Both teams have a first year head coach. According to Alabama's coach, North Florida plays hard, which means both teams play hard. Surely, though, that's where the resemblance ends as the Crimson Tide men's basketball team returns to Coleman Coliseum Wednesday night.

There's no reason to expect a huge crowd for Alabama vs. North Florida, except this:

The Crimson Tide deserves a good turnout from Bama basketball fans.

> Tipoff between the Tide and Ospreys is at 7 p.m. CST.

The season is still very young, but already Coach Anthony Grant's team has had surprising success, earning a third place finish in last week's Old Spice Classic in Orlando. Alabama upset Baylor and 15th ranked Michigan and lost to eventual tournament champion Florida State in Orlando.

The win over Michigan came on the strength of sophomore star JaMychal Green, whose 20 points included the game-winning basket on a putback dunk with five seconds to play. Green iced the win with a dramatic blocked shot as time expired and was selected to the all-tournament team.

The victory was the program's first regular season road/neutral win over a ranked opponent since 2003-04.

Alabama is now 4-2 on the season and is starting a four-game homestand.

While Alabama is coming in with confidence-building wins, North Florida is coming to Tuscaloosa after having lose weekend games at Campbell and East Tennessee State. The Ospreys of Coach Matthew Driscoll are now 1-4.

Alabama is averaging 72.5 points per game, while North Florida averages 58.2. Bama is allowing 72.5 points, the Ospreys 68.8. North Florida has good shooting percentages, 48.6 from the floor and 48.4 from three-point range.

"You look at their numbers, they're right around 50 percent from the field, 45-50 percent from the three-point line and they've got three or four guys who are over 50 percent from the three-point line and that's always dangerous," Grant said. "Watching them on film, they're doing a great job of playing hard defensively and having a good game plan for every opponent. The results haven't been what they've wanted in terms of wins and losses, but from the effort standpoint they've been impressive and we'll have to be well prepared in a short period of time."

North Florida's top scorer, 6-6 senior guard Stan Januska, averages only 10.8 points per game, but has 60.6 per cent of his shots, including 57 per cent on his 21 three-point shots. The Ospreys have been weak on the boards, averaging just 26.6 rebounds per game. The individual leader is 6-7 freshman forward Andy Diaz, averaging just 4.6 per game.

The 6-9, 220-pound Green is leading Alabama with 16 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Senior point guard Mikhail Torrance, 6-5, is averaging 15.8 points and 5.3 assists per game.

Alabama's homestand continues on Saturday when it hosts Louisiana-Monroe at noon.

Tickets for both games are $12 for adults and $8 for youths and are available online at www.rolltide.com or by calling the Alabama athletic ticket office at 205-348-BAMA.

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