Numbers often speak louder than words. For instance, the number 7, as in the number of consecutive wins head coach Anthony Grant’s Crimson Tide basketball team started the season off with. There is also the number 12, as in the national ranking that Alabama achieved before losing to Georgetown in their eighth game of the season on a last second 3-pointer. And, finally, there is the number 4, as in the amount of consecutive losses that the Tide has suffered through, including the most recent one to a South Carolina team that had been winless in league play. Now, if you take all of these numbers and add them up, what do you get? You get a team that, in Grant’s words, is playing an “entitled brand of basketball”. If the Tide hopes to have any chances of knocking off the Arkansas Razorbacks, who come to Coleman Coliseum on Saturday, they will have to find a way to get back to playing like a team looking to accomplish something.
Arkansas, who comes to town with a record of 15-5 overall, and 3-2 in league play, is coming off of two straight close victories at home, one of them being against perennial powerhouse Michigan. Coach Mike Anderson’s Hogs are led by true freshman phenom B.J. Young, who is averaging almost 15 points a game while running the point. He is joined in the back court by sophomore shooting guard Mardracus Wade, who is contributing almost 11 points a game. He is also considered one of the finest perimeter defenders in the country. The Razorbacks brand of basketball should look pretty familiar to Tide fans. They play a physical style of defense that is contingent on suffocating the opposing team’s offensive opportunities. The one glaring statistic that sticks out about the Hogs that should give Bama fans a slight peace of mind is there road record.Arkansas is 0-4 away from the comforts of Bud Walton Arena.
Alabamacomes in to this game just looking to right the ship. The Tide has been hampered by timely injuries to star forward JaMychal Green, and the occasional vanishing act of junior forward Tony Mitchell, who early in the season was drawing praise from national analysts due to his over the rim acrobatics. Green is averaging almost 14 points a game while Mitchell contributes just over 13 points a contest. Sophomore guard Trevor Releford runs the point while also contributing over 12 points a game for the Tide. As has been the case all year,Alabamawill attempt to rely on their defensive prowess to shut down the Hogs and their super frosh Young.
The Tide is staring down the barrel of what would be a highly disappointing season, one in which the Tide was projected by some to be a sleeper team in the NCAA Tournament. Most fans are now just hopeful that the Tide can get back on track in time to even make the Tournament.
Saturday’s game is scheduled for a tip-off of12:30 pm CT.The game will be broadcast in certain markets by the SEC Network.