February 25, 2009

Basketball preview: Arkansas at Alabama

What: Arkansas (13-12, 1-11) at Alabama (14-12, 4-8).
Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
When: Saturday.
Time/TV: 7 p.m. / WVUA.
Series record: Arkansas leads 26-21.

Alabama probable starters
GMikhail Torrance6-5, 2109.0Had a season high 7 assist agains the Razorbacks in their last meeting.
GSenario Hillman6-1, 18813.5Scored 19 of his 21 points against the Bulldogs in the second half.
G/FAlonzo Gee6-6, 22014.8Is coming off a season high 28 points in Tide's win over Miss St.
FJustin Knox6-9, 2405.8Had his second highest point total of the season against the Razorbacks earlier in the season.
FJaMychal Green6-9, 22510.2Leads the SEC with 5 double-doubles in conference games.
Alabama top reserves
FAnthony Brock5-9, 1654.6Needs to continue to drive to the basket and create opportunities for the offense.
FDemetrius Jemison6-8, 2403.1Had 11 points off the bench for the Tide against Miss St.

Arkansas probable starters
FMarcus Washington6-9, 23915.9Leads the SEC in rebounding at 9.6 per game.
GCourtney Fortson5-11, 18014.6Is a scorer that can also dish the rock.
GStefan Welsh6-3, 18512.1Is only shooting 32 percent from the field in SEC play.
GRotnei Clark6-0, 18411.4Scored 26 against the Tide in their last meeting.
FMichael Sanchez6-8, 2366.0Will be key for the Razorbacks defense against the Tide's post players.
Arkansas top reserves
FJason Henry6-6, 1898.6Scored 27 points off the bench against South Carolina last time out.
GMarcus Britt6-3, 1983.4Shoots 43% percent from behind the arc but only taken 21 3 point shots on the season.

Analysis and Prediction
If you want to watch a game come down to the wire this would be the one to watch. Two of the past three games these teams have played against each other have went into overtime.

The key for Alabama in this one is to shut down Rotnei Clark and Marcus Washington. Clark torched the Tide in Fayettville scoring a season high 26 points. Washington on the other hand leads the SEC in rebounding at 9.6 per game. Keeping Washington off the boards will be key for Jamychal Green. Green scored a career high 24 points against the Razorbacks in January, but only had four rebounds on the night. Green needs to be more effective rebounding this time around for the Tide.

Offensively, Alonzo Gee needs to have that look in his eye he had against Mississippi State. Interim head coach Phillip Pearson mentioned Gee had that look like he was not going to let his team lose. The result was a season high 28 points, including 10 in the second overtime period, in a double overtime win over the Bulldogs. Gee is the key to the Crimson Tide's offense this season. If he hits shots early look for the Tide offense to be more effective throughout the game.

When the Crimson Tide scores over 80 points this season they have a 5-1 record. I think they will hit that point total and win their first back to back games since December 30 and January 3.
Prediction: Arkansas 72, Alabama 81.

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