Tide Basketball Faces Tough Test

Anyone checking out the Alabama men's basketball season prior to the start of the season would have realized that the biggest non-conference home game for the Crimson Tide would be Purdue. That game is this Saturday and it's even bigger than expected.



Alabama under new coach Anthony Grant has played decently in putting together a 6-2 record. There's even one win over a nationally ranked team. Purdue has been outstanding. A veteran team from last year's NCAA Sweet 16, the Boilermakers are ranked fifth in the nation on the strength of an 8-0 record.

Alabama will host Purdue at 8 p.m. CST Saturday in Coleman Coliseum. ESPN2 will broadcast the game.

"They are very well coached, very disciplined and this will be a good test for our team," Grant said. The coach noted that Alabama has been tested in other games. "We look at it (a difficult schedule) as an opportunity to find out about our team. This is another one.

"Purdue will get your attention. They have five starters back from a Sweet 16 team. They are expected to be the first or second best team in the Big Ten. This will be the biggest test to this point."

Speaking of tests, Alabama players are having to balance their time this week and practice sessions have been on a catch-as-catch-can basis as it is final examinations week at The University.

Grant said that Purdue plays man-to-man defense that sets up opportunities for the Boilermakers' up-tempo offense.

As for his Crimson Tide team, he said, "We've taken some steps forward, but then we'll sometimes take a step back." This is the third of four consecutive home games for Bama. Alabama is on a three-game winning streak.

This will be the first road game for Purdue this season. The Boilermakers have had one close game, a 73-72 win over Tennessee.

Alabama's only other game against a ranked team was also against a Big Ten squad. In the Old Spice Tournament in Orlando, the Tide upset 15th ranked Michigan, 68-66.

Purdue is averaging 80.1 points per game compared to Bama's 72.8. The Boilermakers give up only 60.2 points per game, the Tide allowing 64.2.

Alabama is led by point guard Mikhail Torrance, averaging 15.1 points and 5.5 assists per game. Inside player JaMychal Green averages 14.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

Purdue is led by long-range shooter E'Twaun Moore who is aveaging 16.8 points per game. Naismith Award nominee Robbie Hummel is averaging 13.5 points and 6.9 rebounds.

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