Alabama Basketball Preview - vs. Florida
Alabama (16-8, 5-5 SEC) vs. Florida (19-6, 7-3 SEC)
Feb. 14 | 6 p.m.
Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Coleman Coliseum
Feb. 13, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The University of Alabama men's basketball team returns to Coleman Coliseum Tuesday evening to face No. 14 Florida. Tipoff on ESPN and the radio affiliates of the Crimson Tide Sports Network is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST.
The Crimson Tide steps back on its home court after splitting a pair of road games to move to 16-8 on the season and 5-5 in the SEC. In its last outing, UA was without the services of four suspended regular contributors in JaMychal Green, Tony Mitchell, Andrew Steele and Trevor Releford. The Tide fell to LSU in that contest, 67-58. On Monday afternoon, head coach Anthony Grant announced that Steele and Releford would `most likely' be available for Tuesday's game.
The Tide has enjoyed great success at home with 28 wins in its last 30 home games and 12 wins in its last 13 SEC games at Coleman Coliseum.
Florida travels to Tuscaloosa with a 19-6 overall record and a 7-3 record in SEC play. After rattling off seven straight wins in conference play, the Gators have dropped their last two games to Kentucky and Tennessee. Florida features the SEC's most potent offense at 78.8 points per game on 46.6 percent shooting and more than 10 three-pointers per game.
"I think Florida hits you with skill at four or five positions that puts different guys on the floor and creates matchup problems," Grant said of Tuesday's opponent. "With the way they run their offense, it makes it difficult for you to make sure you cover all the territory that needs to be covered. We will have to use as much time as we can to make sure our guys understand personnel and understand the adjustments we will need to make."
The high-scoring Florida offense will face a defense remains one of the top in the nation by allowing a scant 58.3 points per game this season, the 13th best average in the nation and the second best in the SEC. Only eight of UA's 24 opponents have even reached the 60-point mark in regulation this season and four have failed to score 50 points.
With the Tide's top three scorers suspended against LSU, freshman Rodney Cooper took the scoring mantle by pouring in a career-high 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting with a career-high five steals as well. Classmate Nick Jacobs added 14 points, one shy of a career high in his 11th start of the season.
Florida has five players averaging double digits with Kenny Boynton's 17.5 points per game leading the way ahead of Bradley's Beal's 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
The Gators have won three straight games against the Tide, but UA leads the series by a 78-53 margin. Following Tuesday's game, the Tide will remain at home to host Tennessee on Saturday afternoon at 12:30 p.m.