Feb. 7, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama will continue its two-game road swing when it travels to take on No. 3/4 Florida Gators on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT (noon ET). This marks the second meeting between the two teams this season, as the Gators captured a 68-62 win over the Tide on Jan. 23 in Coleman Coliseum.
Saturday's contest will be televised on ESPN with Mark Jones (play-by-play) and Dick Vitale (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 contest will be broadcast nationally on Sirius Channel 85 and XM Channel 85. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.
Saturday's game will mark the second meeting this season and 137th meeting on the hardwood between Alabama and Florida, 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, including a 68-62 victory at Coleman Coliseum back on Jan. 23.
Alabama coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. Grant owns a 95-65 (.594) record during his time at the Capstone and is 171-90 (.655) in eight seasons as a head coach. Florida head coach Billy Donovan is in his 18th season as a head coach and has guided the Gators to a record of 435-168 (.721). Now in his 20th season as a head coach, Donovan has a career record of 470-188 (.714).
THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW
- According to ESPN.com's RPI rankings, Alabama has the No. 3 overall strength of schedule and the No. 9-ranked non-conference SOS. Only Kansas (1) and Wisconsin (2) have played a tougher slate.
- Alabama opponents are shooting an impressive 75.5 percent from the foul line. According to KenPom.com, UA ranks 345th in the nation (out of 351 teams) in opponent's free throw percentage.
- In the second half of UA's last four SEC games, it has allowed league opponents to score a combined 189 points, an average of 47.3 points, over the final 20 minutes
- Alabama is a perfect 7-0 when holding opponents to fewer than 65 points, but the Tide falls to 2-13 this year when allowing 65 or more points in a game.
Alabama dropped its third consecutive game and fifth in the last six contests with a 65-58 defeat at Arkansas on Wednesday night. The Tide was led by junior guard Rodney Cooper, who recorded a double-double with a season-best 22 points and 10 boards. Senior guard Trevor Releford added 12 points in the loss, running his consecutive double-figure scoring streak to 23 games dating back to last season.
Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 18.0 points per game, which ranks seventh in the SEC. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 49.4 percent (125-of-253) of his shots from the floor and a team-best 38.2 percent (47-of-123) from beyond the arc. He also ranks third in the SEC and 40th 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 11.4 points per game. He leads the SEC and ranks 27th nationally with 2.2 steals per game. His 1.2 blocks per game also leads Alabama and ranks 10th in the SEC. He also leads the Tide in free throws made (88) and attempted (123).
Junior guard Levi Randolph chips in with 8.6 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 nine league contests. Among SEC freshmen in league games only, he is eighth in scoring average (11.2 ppg).
As a team this season, UA is shooting 44.1 percent from the floor and 32.0 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide is outscoring the competition by 1.1 points a game (68.8-67.6). Alabama currently ranks third in the SEC and 34th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.5 percent). The Tide also ranks sixth in the SEC in free throw shooting (.696). Furthermore, UA ranks among the SEC and national leaders steals per game (7.0 spg; 5th/79h) per game.
ALABAMA-ARKANSAS: QUICK HITS
Wednesday's game between Alabama and Arkansas marked the 56th meeting in series history. With the 65-58 victory, the Razorbacks own a 29-27 edge in the all-time series.
Alabama owns a record of 6-17 when playing Arkansas in Fayetteville and has now dropped six of the last seven games played at Bud Walton Arena.
For a fourth straight game, the Tide struggled to score its first points of the game, going down, 6-0, to Arkansas in the first 3:11. Alabama found itself down 7-0 to LSU (1/25), 12-0 at Auburn (1/29) and 9-0 vs. Tennessee (2/1).
Rodney Cooper (9-of-15) and Trevor Releford (3-of-8) combined to shoot 11-of-23 (.478) from the floor. The other Alabama players combined to shoot 10-of-36 (.278). In addition, the duo of Cooper and Releford were 4-of-10 from beyond the arc, while the rest of the team went 0-of-7.
Arkansas shot 54.2 percent from the floor in the second half of Wednesday's contest. It is the fifth time in the last six contests that the Tide has allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50 percent in the second half in a contest. It is also the fifth time in the last six games that Alabama has been outscored by nine or more points over the final 20 minutes (41-32 vs. Arkansas).
Rodney Cooper finished with his second career double-double, and second this season (Oklahoma) when he recorded a season-high 22 points along with a game-high 10 rebounds in the loss.
Trevor Releford finished with 12 points on the night. It marked his 23rd straight game in double figures dating back to last season. It was only the second time in the last 13 games that Releford did not lead the Tide in scoring.
For the first time in 14 straight games, Alabama's bench did not outscore its counterparts, as the Arkansas reserves had a 23-15 edge in points off the bench. It was only the fourth time this season that the Tide's bench has been outscored.
Alabama gave up 65 points and falls to 2-13 this season when allowing opponents to score 65 or more points in a game.
Arkansas finished the game shooting 38.6 percent from the floor in the win over Alabama, compared to 35.6 percent for the Tide. The Tide fell to 0-9 this season when the opposition shoots better in a game.
ALABAMA-FLORIDA - SERIES NOTES
Saturday's game will mark the second meeting this season and 137th meeting on the hardwood between Alabama and Florida, 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 Tide has a record of 18-40 all-time when playing Florida in Gainesville. In fact, the last time Alabama captured a victory over Florida in Gainesville came on Feb. 25, 1995 (nine straight losses).
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 once after the Tigers joined the SEC last season), Florida is the only SEC team Grant has not defeated as UA's head coach.
ALABAMA-FLORIDA: A LOOK BACK
Alabama and Florida will meet for the second time this season on Saturday afternoon. In the last meeting between the two teams, the Gators snapped the Tide's 14-game home win streak vs. SEC competition with a 68-62 victory on Jan. 23, 2014.
Trevor Releford led the team with 14 points, four assists and two steals. Freshman forward Shannon Hale had 10 points, while junior guard Levi Randolph added 11 points off of the bench. Junior forward Nick Jacobs also contributed off the bench, earning 12 points.
The Gators were led by sophomore guard Michael Frazier who had 18 points, with 15 of them coming from beyond the three-point arc.
Alabama's biggest struggle was hitting three-pointers, where they shot just 16.7 percent (2-of-12) while Florida shot 35.7 percent (10-of-28).
Coach Anthony Grant's thoughts: "You have to give [Florida] credit. They are a great basketball team. If you look at the numbers on the glass, that was the difference in the game. We played an extended possession zone tonight, but they were able to step up and make some shots. [Michael] Frazier was able to get himself free for some looks."
Alabama will play its lone home contest out of the current five-game stretch when it welcomes the Ole Miss Rebels to Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
This marks the first of two games played between the squads this season. Alabama will play at Ole Miss on March 1, at 7 p.m. CT.
Tuesday's game will mark the 172nd meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, which will be the second-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Crimson Tide owns a 117-54 lead in the series.
The Crimson Tide boasts an overall record of 71-10 when playing Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa, including a 37-6 mark at Coleman Coliseum.
Mississippi is one of three teams, along with Mississippi State (118) and LSU (102) that UA has won 100 or more games against.
Alabama comes into the contest having dropped three of the last four games and five of the last seven against the Rebels.
Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 2-5 when he has faced the Rebels, including an 2-2 mark when playing at Coleman Coliseum.
Florida is currently ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press' top-25 poll heading into Saturday's game vs. Alabama. It will marked the highest-ranked team the Tide has faced this season.
The Tide has an all-time record of 32-100 against top-10 teams in school history, which includes a 5-13 record when playing a team ranked third in the AP top 10.
Furthermore, Alabama owns a 13-50 record when playing a team ranked in the AP's top five. The last time the Tide defeated a team ranked in the AP top five came on March 20, 2004 when it defeated then-No. 1 Stanford, 70-67, in the NCAA Tournament.
The last time Alabama defeated an AP top-25 team came on Jan. 18, 2011 when the Tide captured a 68-66 win over then-No. 12 Kentucky. Since that contest, UA has lost 14 consecutive games to teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation. However, only three of those 14 games were played at Coleman Coliseum (No. 14 Florida on 2/14/12, No. 11 Wichita State on 12/17/13 and No. 6 Florida on 1/23/14).
DIFFERENCE IN HOME AND AWAY NUMBERS
Alabama is 9-4 in games played at Coleman Coliseum this year. However, the Tide is 0-9 away from home, which includes an 0-3 mark in neutral site games. In fact, the Tide has dropped 10 consecutive road contests overall (which includes neutral site games) and seven 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 39.2 percent shooting from the floor and 25.3 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 63.2 72.8 .392 .429 .253 .258
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 four games alone, it has allowed league opponents to score a combined 189 points - an average of 47.3 points over the final 20 minutes.
The Tide has allowed five of its last six opponents to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor in the second half.
Below is a comparison of Alabama's statistics in the first half vs. the second half in SEC games.
OPP OPP OPP OPP
PPG PPG RPG RPG FG% FG% 3FG% 3FG%
1st Half 28.9 28.6 18.3 18.7 .384 .351 .253 .329
2nd Half 34.3 40.4 14.2 17.3 .435 .511 .321 .351
GETTING TO THE LINE
Alabama is one of the better free throw shooting teams in the league. In fact, the Tide ranks fifth in the SEC, connecting on 69.6 percent of its free throw attempts for the year.
Senior guard Trevor Releford rank second in the SEC and 17th in the NCAA in free throw percentage (90 percent).
In addition, sophomore guard Retin Obasohan has also benefited from the charity stripe this season. The Antwerp, Belgium, native leads the team with 88 free throws made (4.4 per game) and 123 free throw attempts (6.0 per game).
Unfortunately, as good as the Tide has been at the line, the opposition has been even better. Alabama opponents are shooting an impressive 75.5 percent from the foul line. According to KenPom.com, UA ranks 345th in the nation in opponent's free throw percentage.
HALE MAKING IT RAIN
Freshman Shannon Hale has been making a solid contribution for head coach Anthony Grant over the Tide's last 12 contests.
After seeing limited action over his first 10 games into his freshman season, Hale is second on the team points (10.9 ppg) and rebounds (4.2 rpg) per game in the last 12 games, while connecting 45 percent from the floor and 35 percent from deep.
Hale has been even more impressive during SEC play, as he has reached double figures in six of UA's nine league games and ranks eighth among SEC freshmen in scoring average (11.2 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 12:
GP-GS MPG PPG RPG FG% 3FG%
First 10 gms 9-0 11.1 2.7 2.2 .321 .286
Last 12 gms 12-11 26.0 10.9 4.2 .450 .350
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 Saturday's game at No. 3/4 Florida, Randolph is second on the team in rebounding (4.0 rpg), third in scoring (8.6 ppg), steals (15) and minutes (30.1 mpg) and fourth in assists (1.6 apg). He has played in 91consecutive games since stepping foot on campus