Feb. 4, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama will begin a two-game road swing when it travels to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT. It will be the first of two meetings between the two squads, as the Razorbacks will make the return trip to Coleman Coliseum on Senior Day, March 8, at 3 p.m. CT.
The contest will be televised on SEC TV with Dave Neal (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (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 will be broadcast nationally on Sirius Channel 135 and XM Channel 201. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.
Wednesday's game between Alabama and Arkansas will be the 56th meeting in series history, with the Razorbacks owning a slim 28-27 edge in the all-time series. Alabama has a record of 6-16 when playing Arkansas in Fayetteville. However, the Tide captured a 79-68 victory over the Razorbacks in Bama's last trip to Bud Walton Arena. That win snapped a six-game losing streak at Arkansas.
Alabama coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. Grant owns a 95-64 (.597) record during his time at the Capstone and is 171-89 (.658) in eight seasons as a head coach. Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson is in his third season at the helm of the program and has guided the Razorbacks to a record of 50-35 (.588). Now in his 12th season as a head coach, Anderson has a career record of 250-133 (.653).
THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Alabama's contest at Arkansas begins a stretch that includes four of its next five games away from home. It is the longest road stretch of the season for the Tide.
- According to ESPN.com's RPI rankings, Alabama has the No. 2 overall strength of schedule and the No. 8-ranked non-conference strength of schedule.
- In seven previous meetings vs. Arkansas, Alabama head coach Anthony Grant owns a record of 5-2.
- In its three SEC road games, the Tide has given up 106 combined free throws (35.3 per game) to the opposition. As a result, Alabama has been outscored by 34 points from the charity stripe in SEC road contests.
- Alabama is a perfect 8-0 when holding opponents 65 or fewer points, but the Tide falls to 1-12 this year when allowing more the 65 points in a game.
Alabama is coming off a 76-59 defeat to Tennessee last Saturday night. The Tide was led by senior guard Trevor Releford's 23 points and six assists on the night. Junior forward Nick Jacobs added 13 points and a team-high six rebounds off the bench in the losing effort.
Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 18.3 points per game, which ranks seventh in the SEC. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 49.8 percent (122-of-245) of his shots from the floor and a team-best 38.7 percent (46-of-119) from beyond the arc. He also ranks third in the SEC and 35th nationally with 2.1 steals per game and leads the Tide with 2.9 assists per contest.
Sophomore guard Retin Obasohan is the only other player to average double figure scoring at 11.7 points per game. He leads the SEC and ranks 27th nationally with 2.2 steals per game, and is second on Alabama and ranks 10th in the SEC in blocks per contest (1.2). He also leads the Tide in free throws made (88) and attempted (122).
Junior guard Levi Randolph chips in with 9.0 points per game and ranks second on the team in rebounding (4.0 rpg).
Freshman Shannon Hale has stepped up his game during SEC play, recording double digits in six of the Tide's eight league contests. Among SEC freshmen in league games only, he is seventh in scoring average (12.0 ppg).
As a team this season, UA is shooting 44.6 percent from the floor and 32.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide is outscoring the competition by 1.5 points a game (69.3-67.8). Alabama currently ranks fourth in the SEC and 51st in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (31.4 percent). The Tide also ranks fourth in the SEC in free throw shooting (.700). Furthermore, UA ranks among the SEC and national leaders steals per game (7.1 spg; 5th/74th) per game.
ALABAMA-TENNESSEE: A LOOK BACK
Saturday's contest vs. Tennessee marked the 143rd meeting in series history between to two schools, which stands as UA's fifth-most common opponent in program lore. With the 76-59 loss, the Crimson Tide now owns a 76-67 edge in the all-time series.
UA owns an all-time record of 43-18 when playing Tennessee in Tuscaloosa, including a 26-9 mark at Coleman Coliseum. Furthermore, this marks Tennessee's first win at Coleman Coliseum since Jan. 19, 2010 (UT won 63-56).
In eight meetings vs. Tennessee, Alabama head coach Anthony Grant owns a record of 5-3.
The last time Alabama lost a home SEC game to someone other than Florida came on February 26, 2010 when it fell to Ole Miss, 76-73. The Tide is now 26-3 (.897) at home against SEC competition since 2011. Since Grant's arrival in 2009, the Tide is 30-7 (.811)
Trevor Releford finished with 23 points on the night. It marked his 22nd straight game in double figures dating back to last season. Moreover, it was his seventh 20-point game of the year and the 12th time he led the Tide in scoring this season.
Nick Jacobs came off the bench to record 13 points and six rebounds on the night. It marks his seventh double-figure scoring game of the year, but only his second over Alabama's last 13 games.
Alabama gave up 76 points, which marks the ninth time this year the Tide has allowed the opposition to reach the 70-point plateau in a game this season. Alabama is 1-8 when giving up 70 or more points in a game this year, and has lost 21 of its last 22 games when allowing the opposition at least 70 points in a game.
Tennessee finished the game shooting 47.9 percent from the floor in the win over Alabama, compared to 39.2 percent for the Tide. The Tide fell to 0-8 this season when the opposition shoots better in a game.
Alabama forced Tennessee into only five turnovers on the night. It was the fewest turnovers the Tide has forced in any game this season.
The starting lineup of Carl Engstrom, Shannon Hale, Trevor Releford, Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper marked the 11th different starting five this season. No Alabama player has started all 21 games this year.
ALABAMA-ARKANSAS - SERIES NOTES
Wednesday's game between Alabama and Arkansas will be the 56th meeting in series history, with the Razorbacks owning a slim 28-27 edge in the all-time series.
This marks the first of two games played between the two games played between the squads this season. Arkansas will play at Alabama on Senior Day, March 8, at 3 p.m. CT.
Alabama own a record of 6-16 when playing Arkansas in Fayetteville. However, the Tide captured a 79-68 victory over the Razorbacks in Bama's last trip to Bud Walton Arena. That win snapped a six-game losing streak at Arkansas.
UA head coach Anthony Grant owns a record of 5-2 when his teams have faced Arkansas.
Forty-five of the 56 games played in the series have come as conference opponents.
Alabama was won four straight games against Arkansas, including claiming wins in five of the last six games played between the two schools.
The Crimson Tide is 3-1 in overtime contests against Arkansas. All four overtime games have come within the last nine seasons.
The series began during 1947-48 campaign.
ALABAMA-ARKANSAS: A YEAR AGO
Alabama and Arkansas met only once last season, as the Crimson Tide captured a 59-56 victory over the Razorbacks on Jan. 31, 2013, in Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama committed a season-high 21 turnovers, but went 9-10 from the free-throw line at the end of the game, which accounted for its last nine points. Guard Trevor Releford tallied a 12 points while forward Nick Jacobs added 10 points off the bench.
Coach Anthony Grant's thoughts: "In the first half we didn't do a very good job rebounding the ball. Nine of their 23 points in the first half were second-chance points off offensive rebounds. In the second half we had 11 defensive rebounds and they got eight offensive rebounds. Many of those came late in the half. I thought we did a much better job down the stretch of fighting for rebounds and coming up with those loose balls."
Alabama continue its four out of five games on the road when it travels to take on league-leading and No. 3-ranked Florida Gators on Saturday at noon ET (11 a.m. CT) on ESPN.
This will mark the second meeting between the two teams this season. Back on Jan. 23, Florida captured a 68-62 decision over Alabama in Coleman Coliseum.
Saturday's game will mark the 137th meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, which is the eighth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Crimson Tide owns a 73-63 edge in the series. However, the Gators have won eight straight games over the Crimson Tide and 19 of the last 22 contests played between the two schools.
The last time Alabama captured a victory over Florida in Gainesville came on Feb. 25, 1995 (eight straight losses).
In all, the Tide has a record of 18-39 all-time when playing Florida in Gainesville.
Ten of the last 14 games have been decided by 10 points or less.
Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 0-8 when he has faced the Gators. Excluding Missouri (which Grant has played only twice after the Tigers joined the SEC last season), Florida is the only SEC team Grant has not defeated as UA's head coach.
DIFFERENCE IN HOME AND AWAY NUMBERS
Alabama is 9-4 in games played at Coleman Coliseum this year. However, the Tide is 0-8 away from home, which includes a 0-3 mark in neutral site games. In fact, the Tide has dropped nine consecutive road contests overall (which includes neutral site games) and six straight in SEC play.
In its 13 home games, the Tide is shooting 47.8 percent from the floor and 36.5 percent from beyond the arc. However, when playing away from home, those numbers fall to 39.7 percent shooting from the floor and 25.6 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 72.6 64.1 .478 .414 .365 .329
AWAY 63.9 73.7 .397 .435 .256 .279
TALE OF TWO HALVES
During SEC play, the Crimson Tide has been a different team before and after intermission, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
In UA's last three games alone, it has allowed league opponents to score a combined 147 points - an average of 49.0 points over the final 20 minutes.
Below is a comparison of Alabama's statistics in the first half vs. the second half.
OPP OPP OPP OPP
PPG PPG RPG RPG FG% FG% 3FG% 3FG%
1st Half 29.3 29.1 17.9 18.3 .391 .363 .246 .361
2nd Half 34.6 40.4 14.0 17.0 .444 .508 .343 .373
HALE MAKING IT RAIN
Freshman Shannon Hale has been making a solid contribution for head coach Anthony Grant over the Tide's last 11 contests.
After seeing limited action over his first 10 games into his freshman season, Hale is second on the team points (11.5 ppg) and rebounds (4.3 rpg) per game in the last 11 games, while connecting 47.8 percent from the floor and 37.8 percent from deep.
Hale has been even more impressive during SEC play, as he has reached double figures in six of UA's eight league games. He ranks seventh among SEC freshmen in scoring average (12.0 ppg). He set a career-high with 17 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute of play, in the win over LSU (1/25).
Below is a breakdown of Hale's numbers from his first 10 games to his last 11:
GP-GS MPG PPG RPG FG% 3FG%
First 10 gms 9-0 11.1 2.7 2.2 .321 .286
Last 11 gms 11-10 26.8 11.5 4.3 .478 .378
RANDOLPH NAMED FIRST TEAM ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT AGAIN
Junior guard Levi Randolph was named to the Capital One Academic All-District 4 First Team as selected by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), the organization announced on Jan. 30.
With the nod, Randolph becomes the first Alabama player in program history to earn academic all-district first team honors in back-to-back seasons. He is now eligible for Academic All-America honors, which will be chosen in February - an honor that no Alabama player has ever received.
A native of Madison, Ala., Randolph maintains a 3.45 GPA as a marketing major and has been named to the Dean's List in three out of four semesters (3.1 GPA or better). He is a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient and is on pace to earn his undergraduate degree in August of 2014.
On the court, the 6-5, 205-pound guard has been equally as impressive. Coming into Wednesday's game at Arkansas, Randolph is second on the team in rebounding (4.0 rpg), third in scoring (9.0 ppg), steals (15) and minutes (30.3 mpg) and fourth in assists (1.5 apg). He has played in 90 consecutive games since stepping foot on campus.
ONE OF THE BEST
Senior point guard and Bob Cousy Award nominee Trevor Releford is not only proving to be one of the top players in the SEC, but also is showing why he is an elite player in the nation.
Releford is quietly putting together one of the best seasons by any player in the league. Below is a breakdown of where he ranks among the SEC and national leaders this year:
Category SEC Rank NCAA Rank
Total Steals (42) T-2nd T-50th
FT% (.905) 2nd 11th
SPG (2.10) 3rd 35th
3FG% (.387) 7th --
FG% (.498) 7th --
PPG (18.3) 7th 73rd
3's Made/Game (2.3) 8th NA
Furthermore, below is how Releford's career numbers rank among the greatest players to ever play at Alabama:
Category UA History
Steals (236) 1st (SEC Active Leader)
9th in SEC History
Steals Per Game (2.0) 1st
FT% (.819) 5th
Total Assists (357) 9th (SEC Active Leader)
Career Starts (115) 7th
3-Point Attempts (382) 10th
Total Points (1,665) 11th (SEC Active Leader)
According to the latest ESPN.com's RPI rankings, Alabama has the No. 2 overall strength of schedule and the No. 8-ranked non-conference strength of schedule.
The Tide finished the non-conference slate with seven losses. The teams that Alabama lost to in non-league play have a combined record of 112-43 (.723) through games played as of Feb. 3 [Oklahoma, 17-5; Duke, 17-5; Drexel, 12-10; USF, 11-11; Wichita State, 23-0; Xavier, 15-7; UCLA, 17-5].
Of the seven non-conference losses, five came against teams ranked among the top 40 RPI, according to KenPom.com. In fact, eight of the Tide's 12 losses this season have come against teams ranked among the top-50 RPIs in the nation.