Jan. 10, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team will play its first Southeastern Conference road contest of the season when it travels to Athens, Ga., to take on the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT (4 p.m. ET) on SECTV. It will mark the lone contest between the Tide and Bulldogs this season and will mark the 141st meeting between the longtime rivals - the sixth-most common opponent in Alabama program history.
Saturday's contest will be televised on SEC TV, and can be seen on WatchESPN.com, with Dave Baker (play-by-play) and Barry Booker (analyst) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) calling all the action. The game can also be heard nationally on Sirius Channel 117 and XM Channel 200. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.
Alabama owns a 93-47 lead in the all-time series, which dates back to the 1921-22 season. The Tide has an all-time record of 32-29 when playing Georgia in Athens, Ga. The Tide has won five consecutive games over the Bulldogs, including winning both contests the teams played last season. UA has also captured two consecutive games over Georgia when playing at Stegeman Coliseum.
Alabama coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. Grant owns an 93-59 (.612) record during his time at the Capstone and is 169-84 (.668) in eight seasons as a head coach. Georgia head coach Mark Fox is in his fifth season and has guided the Bulldogs to a record of 72-69 (.510). Now in his 10th season as a head coach, Fox has a career record of 195-112 (.635).
THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW
Over the Tide's last three games, Trevor Releford is averaging 22.7 points and 4.7 steals per game, while also shooting 57.1 percent (20-of-35) from the floor and 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from beyond the arc.
The Crimson Tide enters the Georgia game having attempted 51 more free throws than the opposition (329-278) and has outscored teams by 22 points from the charity stripe (230-208). As a team, Alabama is shooting 69.9 percent (230-of-329) from the foul line this season, which ranks third the SEC.
Guards Retin Obasohan leads the SEC and ranks 10th in the nation with 2.7 steals a game, while Trevor Releford's 2.5 steals per contest ranks second in the league and 16th in the nation. Together, the duo is averaging 5.2 steals per game, which ranks second in the NCAA among all duos in terms of takeaways.
Alabama's non-conference strength of schedule is ranked No. 4 in the nation by ESPN.com. In fact, the Tide's seven losses have come against teams with a combined record of 83-24 (.776) as of Jan. 10 [Oklahoma, 12-3; Duke, 12-3; Drexel, 8-6; USF, 10-6; Wichita State, 16-0; Xavier, 13-3; UCLA, 12-3].
All seven of Alabama's losses have been by 10 or fewer points for a combined total of 39 points (5.6 points per loss).
Alabama captured its second consecutive win and its first SEC victory with a 68-63 victory over Vanderbilt last Tuesday. The five-point win marked the first time this season the Crimson Tide has won a game when decided by five or fewer points (1-4). Senior guard Trevor Releford led Alabama with 16 points to go along with a season-high six assists and three steals. Sophomore guard Retin Obasohan added 15 points and four rebounds in the win.
Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 18.3 points per game, which ranks sixth in the SEC. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 51.0 percent (78-of-153) of his shots from the floor and a team-best 41.0 percent (32-of-78) from beyond the arc, while also averaging 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
Obasohan also averaging double figures with 13.0 points per game. He tops SEC and ranks 10th nationally with 2.7 steals per game, while also leading Alabama in blocks per contest (1.2) and free throws made (68) and attempted (91).
Junior guard Levi Randolph is collecting 10.0 points a game, while sharing the team lead in rebounds per game (4.4). He also ranks second in three-point shooting (.357) and is third in assists (1.8 apg).
Alabama currently ranks fourth in the SEC and 42nd in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (29.5 percent). The Tide also ranks third the SEC in free throw shooting (.699). Furthermore, UA ranks among the SEC steals per game (8.1 spg; 4th/37th) per game.
As a team, UA is shooting 46.4 percent from the floor and 34.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide is outrebounding the competition by 0.3 rebounds a game (34.2-33.9) and outscoring foes by 5.9 points a game (72.3-66.4).
ALABAMA-VANDERBILT: A LOOK BACK
Alabama and Vanderbilt played for the 133rd time in series history, which is the ninth-most times the Tide has played any one opponent in program history. With the win, Alabama owns a 68-65 lead in the all-time series.
Nine of the last 10 games played between Vanderbilt and Alabama have been decided by 10 or fewer points, with seven of those contests being decided by five or fewer points.
Freshman forward Shannon Hale finished with a career-high 15 points along with three rebounds on the night. He connected on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor and 1-of-2 from beyond the arc.
Releford finished 8-of-8 from the foul line and has now made 19 consecutive free throws. He leads the SEC and ranks 10th in the nation in free throw percentage (.926).
Alabama was outrebounded, 32-25, on the night. It marks the first time this season that the Crimson Tide has captured a win when losing the battle of the boards (1-6).
Trevor Releford led Alabama with 16 points in the victory. It is the seventh time he led the Crimson Tide in scoring this season and was his 13th double-digit scoring game this season. He has scored in double figures in every game he has played this season and 15 straight double-figure scoring contests dating back to last season.
Releford added a season-high six assists with only one turnover and had three steals in the winning effort. He now has 14 steals in his last three games (4.7 steals per game).
Alabama forced Vanderbilt into 16 turnovers that resulted in a 17-8 points off turnovers for the games. In comparison, the Tide eight turnovers were the second fewest this season.
ALABAMA-GEORGIA - SERIES NOTES
Saturday's game will be the 141st meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, which will be the sixth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Crimson Tide owns a 93-47 lead in the series.
Seventeen of the last 20 meetings have been decided by under 10 points, including both games last year.
Alabama has won 12 of the last 17 meetings overall in the series, including five straight and six of the last seven.
Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 5-1 when his team has faced Georgia, and is 2-1 when playing the Bulldogs in Athens, Ga.
This year's match-up will mark the lone meeting between the two schools.
The series began during 1921-22 campaign.
ALABAMA-GEORGIA: A YEAR AGO
Alabama won two close games over Georgia last season. It was the first time since the 1990-91 season the two rivals played twice during the regular season.
The Tide captured a 52-45 victory in the first meeting, which was played in Stegeman Coliseum on Feb. 12, 2013. Rodney Cooper was the only Tide player in double digits as he scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds. Levi Randolph grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
In the second game, Alabama captured a dramatic 61-58 win on March 9, 2013. Trevor Releford drilled a half-court three-point basket at the buzzer on Senior Day in Coleman Coliseum. Releford led the Tide offensively with 19 points while forward Nick Jacobs chipped in 11 points and five rebounds.
Alabama will return home to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised on SEC TV.
Alabama and Mississippi State will meet for the 191st time in series history on Wednesday night - the most times UA has played any one opponent in program history.
The Tide owns a 117-73 edge in the all-time series, including wins in five of the last six contests played between the two teams.
Alabama owns a record of 74-16 in all-time games against the Bulldogs at home, including a 37-8 mark at Coleman Coliseum.
This marks the lone meeting between the two rivals this season. The last time that Alabama and Mississippi State played just once during the regular season came 50 years ago, during the 1963-64 campaign.
Alabama guards Trevor Releford and Retin Obasohan both rank among the nation's leaders in steals per game.
Obasohan leads the SEC and ranks 10th in the nation with 2.7 steals a game, while Releford's 2.5 steals per contest ranks second in the league and 16th in the nation.
Together, the duo is averaging 5.2 steals per game, which second in the NCAA among all duos in terms of takeaways.
Below is the top-five duos in the nation (as of Jan. 9) in combined steals per game:
1. Weber (3.9)/Brandenburg (1.9) - VCU 5.8
2. Obasohan (2.9)/Releford (2.5) - Alabama 5.2
3. Adams (3.3)/Anderson (1.8) - UCLA 5.1
4. Hammond (2.8)/Mosley (2.2) - Ark. Pine Bluff 5.0
5. Williams (2.8)/Cormier (2.1) - Loyola (Md.) 4.9
RAISING IT TO ANOTHER LEVEL
Senior point guard and Bob Cousy Award nominee Trevor Releford has been a steady presence throughout the season, but has really stepped his game up as of late.
Over the Tide's last three games, Releford has been nearly unstoppable. During that span, the Kansas City, Mo., native is averaging 22.7 points, 4.7 steals and 3.0 assists per game, while also shooting 57.1 percent (20-of-35) from the floor and 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from beyond the arc.
HALE MAKING IT RAIN
Freshman Shannon Hale has been making a solid contribution for head coach Anthony Grant over the Tide's last four contests.
In the four games since not seeing any action against Wichita State (12/17), Hale has collected a total of 45 points and 18 rebounds, which is an average of 11.3 points and 4.5 rebounds a contest.
During that same four-game span, Hale is shooting 63 percent from the floor (17-of-27) and 45.5 percent from deep (5-of-11).
Most recently, Hale set a career-high with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor in the win over Vanderbilt (1/7).
Through his first nine games, Hale had a total of 24 points and 20 rebounds, an average of 2.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.
LETTING THE GAME "RUN" AWAY
Alabama comes into the Georgia game with a 7-7 overall record. But the Tide's record could look entirely different had UA finished some of the close games it has lost.
Alabama has a record of 2-7 this season in contests that have been decided by 10 or fewer points. The Tide's seven losses have been by a combined total of 39 points - an average of 5.4 points per game.
In each of its seven losses, Alabama either held the lead or was within striking distance late in a game. However, in each instance, the Tide allowed the opposition to go on a game-deciding run late in the second half.
Below is a breakdown of each loss, including the decisive run that occurred.
OPP Score (time) Opp. Run | run-length | score Final
vs. Okla. 66-67 (6:07) 10-1 | 5:01 | 67-77 73-82
vs. Duke 51-56 (5:17) 13-8 | 4:44 | 59-69 64-74
vs. Drexel 61-57 (1:07) 4-0 | 1:07 | 61-61 83-85 (3ot)
at USF 46-42 (10:34) 18-6 | 8:03 | 52-60 64-66
Wichita St. 58-58 (4:44) 13-8 | 3:33 | 66-71 67-72
Xavier 57-50 (8:30) 18-6 | 5:24 | 63-68 74-77
at UCLA 67-67 (1:34) 8-0 | 1:34 | 67-75 67-75
DIFFERENCE IN HOME AND AWAY NUMBERS
Alabama is 7-2 in games played at Coleman Coliseum this year. However, the Tide is 0-5 away from home, which includes an 0-3 mark in neutral site games.
In its nine home games, the Tide is shooting 48.8 percent from the floor and 37.7 percent from beyond the arc. However, when playing away from home, those numbers fall to 42.7 percent shooting from the floor and 28.2 percent from deep.
Below is a breakdown of key numbers on the road and at home this season.
OPP OPP OPP
PPG PPG FG% FG% 3FG% 3FG%
HOME 73.4 60.9 .488 .403 .377 .302
AWAY 70.2 76.4 .427 .444 .282 .280
Alabama's non-conference strength of schedule ranked as the fourth-toughest in Division I by ESPN.com.
The Tide's seven losses have come against teams with a combined record of 83-24 (.776) as of Jan. 10 [Oklahoma, 12-3; Duke, 12-3; Drexel, 8-6; USF, 10-6; Wichita State, 16-0; Xavier, 13-3; UCLA, 12-3].
Of the seven losses, five have come against teams ranked among the top 60 RPI, according to KenPom.com.
SHUFFLING THE STARTERS
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant has used nine different starting lineups in the team's 14 games this season.
No Alabama player has started all 14 contests.
Below is a breakdown of the different lineups used and the record of each lineup (Bold indicates most recent starting five):
Releford, Obasohan, Randolph, Cooper, Taylor 2-2
Releford, Obasohan, Randolph, Taylor, Jacobs 0-3
Releford, Obasohan, Randolph, Hale, Engstrom 1-0
Releford, Obasohan, Cooper, Taylor, Jacobs 1-0
Key, Releford, Randolph, Jacobs, Taylor 1-0
Key, Obasohan, Randolph, Jacobs, Taylor 1-0
Releford, Randolph, Cooper, Hale, Taylor 1-0
Key, Releford, Obasohan, Cooper, Jacobs 0-1
Obasohan, Randolph, Cooper, Hale, Engstrom 0-1
GETTING TO THE LINE
Alabama has done a good job of getting to the free throw line through 14 games this season.
The Crimson Tide enters the Georgia game having attempted 51 more free throws than the opposition (329-278) and has outscored teams by 22 points from the charity stripe (230-208). As a team, Alabama is shooting 69.9 percent (230-of-329) from the foul line this season, which ranks third the SEC. Senior guard Trevor Releford tops the SEC and ranks 10th in the NCAA in free throw percentage (92.6 percent). He has made 19 straight free throws coming into Saturday's contest.
In addition, sophomore guard Retin Obasohan has also benefited from the charity stripe this season. The Antwerp, Belgium, native leads the team with 67 free throws made (4.8 per game) and 80 free throw attempts (6.5 per game).