Friday, January 28

Alabama ready for another ordeal against Florida

Fresh off its takedown of No. 7 Tennessee on Saturday night, Alabama will seek its fourth straight victory Tuesday when Crimson Tide hosts Florida in a Southeastern Conference matchup in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Alabama (7-3) will be looking to steal some attention from the school’s football team, which will play Ohio State for the national title next Monday, when it faces the Gators (5-1) as both schools. They are 2-0 in conference and tied for the lead in the SEC.

While Alabama shot just 41.9 percent in its Volunteers surprise, its defense held Tennessee to 31.8 percent shooting. That defense helped Tide earn their first road win over a top-10 team in 16 years.

To keep the tide going, Alabama coach Nate Oats knows his team’s shooting will have to match his defensive energy when the Gators hit town.

” I tell our guys that we have to be able to figure out how to win games when our shots don’t go off,” Oats said. ” If we are going to win when we are on fire and loss when we are not, we are not going to have a very successful season. I’m telling you that the margin of victory can be determined by how you shoot, but we still have to win the game.

” Whether its offensive rebounds, getting to the free throw line, getting transition baskets, it all starts with your defense and your effort. The guy’s effort has been really good lately.”

The Tide is led by Jason Quietly and Jaden Shackelford with 13 points per game each this season.

John Petty Jr. and Herbert Jones are averaging 12.7 and 12 points, respectively.

In Florida, the Tide will face a team that is shooting .506 while holding their opponents at .393.

The Gators are coming off a closs 83-79 SEC win over LSU. Four players had 16 or more points in that game. Three have an average of 11 or more on the season: Tre Mann (15.2), Scottie Lewis (14) and Colin Castleton (11.7).

But it’s a player who hasn’t played the last two games who may be Gator’s biggest player. Top scorer Keynote Johnson collapsed on the ground in a December game against Florida State. He remained in the hospital for 10 days but has returned to the program as an assistant coach.

The Gators, who postponed four games after Johnson’s collapse, have won both games since.

After the LSU game, Florida coach Mike White responded to his second media question saying, ” The most important point I should have made with the last question is that Keynote is sitting there with us. It’s another process that we are going through well now, with new role identity and offensive concepts, etc. “

White is happy with the current state of his gators, especially after not practicing for 15 days, but he is far from satisfied.

” I don’t want to sit here and act like we’ve figured it all out and that we’re a really good basketball team. We have a long way to go,” White said. ” But the adversity these guys have faced? Are you kidding me?”

Kickoff for Tuesday’s game at Coleman Coliseum is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

–Field level media

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