Dec. 6, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team will play its first true road game of the year when it travels to Tampa, Fla., to take on the South Florida Bulls on Saturday night at 8 p.m. CT (9 p.m. ET). The game will be televised on ESPNU and can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, beginning with the pregame show at 7:30 p.m. CT.
The Alabama-USF game will be televised on ESPNU, with Rich Hollenberg (play-by-play) and Carolyn Peck (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. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. He owns an 90-55 (.621) record during his time at the Capstone and is 165-80 (.673) in eight seasons as a head coach. USF head coach Stan Heath is in his seventh season with the Bulls and owns a record of 90-112 (.446). Now in his 13th season as a head coach, he owns a career record of 202-189 (.517) overall.
Saturday's game will mark just the second meeting in the series between Alabama and USF. The Tide captured a lopsided win, 123-97, in the only other meeting between the schools, which came on Dec. 9, 1971. That contest was played in Coleman Coliseum as part of the Alabama Classic. The 123 points scored by Bama were the most points ever scored in a game in program history. In addition, the 220 points were the most ever combined points involving an Alabama team.
Alabama snapped a two-game losing streak when it defeated North Florida, 76-48, on Wednesday night. Junior guard Levi Randolph led four players in double figures with a career-best 20 points, while freshman Jimmie Taylor notched season bests of 12 points and nine rebounds.
Senior guard Trevor Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 16.3 points per game. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 49.4 percent (38-of-77) of his shots from the floor and is shooting 42.1 percent (16-of-38) from beyond the arc.
Sophomore Retin Obasohan is second on the team with 13.5 ppg and tops UA with 3.0 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.7 blocks per contest. The 6-1, 205-pound guard also leads the squad in free throws made (41) and attempted (57).
Junior Nick Jacobs (11.7 ppg) and Randolph (11.1 ppg) are also averaging double figures in the early going. Randolph also leads the team in three-point field goal percentage (.471, 8-of-17).
As a team, Alabama currently ranks fifth in the SEC in field goal percentage at 48.0 percent. The Tide leads the SEC in three-point field goal percentage defense, holding the opposition to 27.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc. UA is outrebounding the competition through its first six games by 5.6 rebounds a game (39.3-33.7) and outscoring foes by 10.4 points a game (78.4-68.0).
ALABAMA-NORTH FLORIDA: QUICK HITS
UA led North Florida from start to finish en route to the victory. It was the first time this season that Alabama has led a game wire-to-wire.
Junior guard Levi Randolph finished the night with a career-best 20 points. His previous career high was 18 points, set on two different occasions. Randolph also matched his career best number of field goals made (7).
Freshman forward Jimmie Taylor finished with career highs of 12 points and nine rebounds. He connected on all four of his field goal attempts from the floor, which included a pair of dunks, and hit 4-of-7 free throws - all career-high numbers.
Alabama shot 50 percent in the first half. The Tide has now shot 50 percent or better in eight out of a total 14 halves this season (excluding overtimes).
The 18 assists on the night marked a season high for Alabama, while its 11 turnovers were a season-low mark.
The Tide finished with a season-high 45 rebounds and outrebounded North Florida, 45-37. Alabama improves to 4-1 this season when it outrebounds its opponent.
Alabama outscored North Florida 32-20 in points in the paint category. It marks the sixth time in seven games this season the Tide has won the battle in the paint (Drexel).
SIXTY IS SWEET, BUT 50 IS BETTER
Alabama has held two opponents this season to 60 or fewer points, winning both contests.
Since Anthony Grant's arrival in 2009, his teams have held the opposition to 60 or below a total of 78 times, going 64-14 (.821) when achieving the feat.
The Tide held North Florida to only 48 points in the 76-48 win Wednesday night. It was the first time this season Bama has held an opponent to 50 or fewer points.
Grant's Alabama teams have held opponents to 50 or fewer points a total of 33 times in his five seasons at the Capstone. The Tide is 31-2 (.939) when hitting that mark.
PUTTING UP THE POINTS
Alabama comes into the game at USF averaging 78.4 points per game - the best scoring output by a UA team in the early going in quite some time.
The last time an Alabama team averaged 78 or more points through the first seven games of the season came in 2004-05 when the Tide averaged 91.7 ppg after seven games.
DEFENSE IS IN THE NUMBERS
Alabama is allowing 68.0 points per game and leads the SEC in three-point field goal percentage defense (27.8 percent). When breaking down the numbers even further, UA's defense ranks among the best in the nation.
According to Ken Pomeroy (KenPom.com), the Tide ranks 23rd in the nation in defensive efficiency, holding the opposition to .95 points per possession. The national average is 1.04 points per possession.
Alabama also ranks among the top 20 teams in the nation in both steal percentage and three-point percentage defense.
Using the Pomeroy numbers, UA is 18th in the nation in steal percentage, collecting a steal on 12.2 percent of its opponents' possessions (national average is 8.9 percent).
In addition, the Tide is 19th nationally in three-point percentage defense. The national average for three-point field goal percentage is 34.0 percent, but Alabama opponents are more than six percentage points below that mark (27.8 percent).
WINNING THE WAR IN THE PAINT
Alabama has done a good job of scoring in the paint this season.
The Tide has won the battle of points in the paint in all but one game this season, only being outscored in the triple overtime loss to Drexel (46-40).
For the season, UA is outscoring opponents in the low post by an average of almost 10 points a game (40.0-30.6).
JACOBS CLIMBING THE LADDER
For only the third time out of the 75 games he has played for the Crimson Tide, junior Nick Jacobs did not score a point in the win over Georgia State (11/19). However, the Atlanta, Ga., native has been nearly unstoppable in the three games since.
After his 13-point performance against North Florida on Wednesday, Jacobs has recorded three straight double-figure scoring games. Over that span, Jacobs is averaging 18.0 points and 6.7 rebounds, while shooting 60 percent from the floor (24-of-40).
In the NIT consolation game against Drexel (11/29), Jacobs had a career-high 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting and eight rebounds.
GETTING TO THE LINE
Alabama has done a good job of getting to the free throw line through seven games this season.
The Crimson Tide enters its game against South Florida having attempted 43 more free throws than the opposition (175-132) and has outscored teams by 32 from the charity stripe (124-92).
As a team, Alabama is shooting 70.9 percent (124-175) from the foul line this season, which ranks fifth in the SEC.
Individually, sophomore guard Retin Obasohan is averaging more than eight free throw attempts per game this season, going 41-of-57 (.719) from the line.
In the triple overtime loss vs. Drexel, Obasohan hit 12-of-15 free throws and finished with 18 points. It was the most free throws made in a game by an Alabama player since JaMychal Green made 12 free throws against Georgia on March 11, 2011. Furthermore, his 15 free throw attempts were the most since Richard Hendrix had 21 attempts against Florida on Jan. 8, 2008.