Bama Hoops Hype

PREVIEW: Alabama Hosts Mississippi State

Alabama Men's Basketball

Tuscaloosa is expected to be filled with thousands of celebrating fans on Saturday and the Alabama men’s basketball team will have an opportunity to put the perfect end to the day. The Crimson Tide host Mississippi State as Avery Johnson’s team looks to extend its winning streak to four games.

Alabama currently sits in a tie for third place in the SEC with the Kentucky Wildcats. With a win, the Crimson Tide will start 5-2 in conference play for the second consecutive season. Alabama ended up finishing 10-8 in SEC play last season.

Mississippi State currently sits at 14-4 and is coming off of an 80-62 win against Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs are 2-3 in conference play and 0-3 on the road this season. The Bulldogs are led by Quinndary Weatherspoon who leads the team with 14.6 points per game. He has scored 14 or more points in four of the team’s five conference games.

How To Keep Up

Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

When: 7:30 p.m. CT

Watch: SEC Network

Listen: Crimson Tide Sports Network with Chris Stewart and Bryan Passink

Starting Lineups

Alabama (12-6, 4-2): Dazon Ingram (11.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.9 apg), John Petty (12.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.9 apg), Braxton Key (3.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.4 apg), Herbert Jones (4.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.6 apg) Daniel Giddens (4.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg)

Mississippi State (14-4, 2-3): Quinndary Weatherspoon (14.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.2 apg), Nick Weatherspoon (10.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.4 apg), Aric Holeman (12.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.3 bpg), Abdul Ado (7.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.2 bpg), Tyson Carter (9.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.7 apg)

Key Matchup

Dazon Ingram vs. MSU defense. Ingram averaged 15 points per game in the three games against the Bulldogs last season. He was 19 of 20 from the free throw line in those meetings. Ingram has played more aggressively this season and has gotten to the line because of it. The sophomore has attempted 115 free throws, which is fourth in the conference, and is shooting a career-high 74 percent from the line. Meanwhile, Mississippi State is 15th in the country in opponent’s free throw attempts. The Bulldogs can play defense without fouling and have not been giving up free points this season. If Collin Sexton is out again, Dazon Ingram will likely need to be the top scoring option. Whether that is in the open court or somehow getting to the free throw line.

Key Stat

MSU’s 64.6 PAPG. The Bulldogs’ scoring defense ranks 24th in the country. Alabama has played two other teams that have scoring defenses in the nation’s top 30: UCF and Georgia. In those two games, the Crimson Tide averaged 54 points per game and shot 36 percent from the field. The Crimson Tide will need to find a way to put up points or they may be playing in another ugly game on Saturday night.

Prediction

Alabama has certainly been a better team at home this season but playing against good defenses has been a big problem for this team. It’s hard to predict this game with Donta Hall expected to be limited and Collin Sexton being a game-time decision. And it’s definitely difficult to say that the Crimson Tide have worked through their inconsistencies. It may be ugly and it may be boring but you should still expect to see Alabama come out on top of this one. Alabama 70, Mississippi State 60

Caleb Turrentine is the editor for Bama Hoops Hype. You can follow him on Twitter for in-game updates at @CalebTurrentine.

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