Texas Tech-Alabama Preview

Texas Tech travels to Tuscaloosa looking to remain unbeaten under new coach Tubby Smith. It's the Red Raiders' first road contest and represents a big step up in competition, at lest on paper. New starting point guard Robert Turner is coming off a tremendous performance against Northern Arizona, but will face All-SEC guard Trevor Releford in what should be an interesting matchup to watch.

Texas Tech (2-0) vs. Alabama (0-1)

When: 8 p.m. CT Thursday

Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

TV: ESPN2 (Suddenlink 230, AT&T U-Verse 606, Direct TV 209, Dish Network 144)

Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network from Learfield Sports

The Matchup: The Crimson Tide are coming off a disappointing 82-73 loss to Oklahoma. Alabama began the contest, however, looking like they would blow the Sooners out of the building as they built a 26-10 first half lead. The Crimson Tide's dominance proved illusory though as OU cut the deficit to 41-40 by the halftime break. Foul trouble bedeviled Alabama in this game. One Bama player fouled out, and two others, including All SEC guard Trevor Releford, finished the game with four fouls. Another glaring weakness for the Tide was defense. In addition to surrendering 82 points, Alabama forced the Sooners into only nine turnovers. Junior guard Algie Key was Alabama's leading scoring in the losing effort, notching 20 points on seven of eight shooting. Texas Tech thoroughly dominated Northern Arizona in their last outing, defeating the Lumberjacks 88-68 in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated. The Red Raiders received excellent guard play from starters Robert Turner and Dusty Hannahs, while the veteran inside duo of Jaye Crockett and Jordan Tolbert controlled the glass and contributed 26 points as well. Turner leads Tech in scoring averaging 16.5 points per game, Tolbert is the leading rebounder pulling down 9.5 boards per outing, and Jaye Crockett is shooting an astounding 77 percent from the field.

Tech player to watch: It will be interesting to see if point guard Robert Turner can continue playing at the level he showed against Northern Arizona. He knocked down his first five shots—all of them three-pointers—finished with 21 points, four assists and no turnovers.

Alabama player to watch: In Big 12 country, Trevor Releford may best be known as the younger brother of Kansas standout Travis Releford, but down south he is known as an All-SEC point guard and a defensive demon. He is Alabama's all time leader in steals. The duel between he and Turner could be special.

Notable: Alabama head coach Anthony Grant is now in his fifth season at Tuscaloosa. He has led the Crimson Tide to two NIT appearances and one visit to the NCAA tournament. Under Grant, Bama has three straight 20-win seasons. His overall record with the Crimson Tide is 83-52. Grant, a longtime assistant to Billy Donovan at Florida, led the 2010-11 Alabama team to a 19-0 home record.

Quotable: "We want to be a versatile team and I think we have a lot of depth, where everybody does something different, everybody has a role to play on the team. We have some very competitive practices and it's showing on the court"—Texas Tech's Tubby Smith.

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