Bama faces challenge against ranked Xavier


By Chris DePew
.com Staff
Nov. 25,

Where to watch: Alabama (2-1) vs. No. 23 Xavier (4-0) – Thursday 11 a.m. Central, HP Field House (Bay Lake, Fla.), ESPN2


Who to watch: Retin Obasohan – ’s fortunes so far neatly track those of its only returning senior. When he’s been on his game, such as the opening halves against and Kennesaw State, the has raced out to big leads. When he’s rested or been in foul trouble, the team has sputtered to a degree. And when he’s had a bad game (say, shooting 2-for-10 in a blowout loss at Dayton), the rest of the team has sunk to the bottom with him. Safe to say the shooting guard needs to come up big in Bama’s toughest test so far, but should have his chances. Even in four comfortable victories, is giving up 8.5 3-pointers per game, with opponents shooting at a 37.4 percent clip from beyond the arc.


Big thing to watch: Can the Tide keep the rebounding battle close? is tied for 10th among the best rebounding teams in the country, pulling down 14.5 more than its opponents per game. Alabama, to be charitable, is challenged on the glass, being out-rebounded by 8.3 per contest (No. 320 out of 346 teams). Freshman point guard Dazon Ingram’s six rebounds per game is certainly welcome, but shouldn’t be leading the team. Jimmie Taylor’s 4.7 rebounds per game is a small regression from last year and certainly not the leap expected from an experienced junior center. Power forward Shannon Hale is capable of much better than he’s shown so far. His 3.3 rebounds per game is not only fourth among starters but trails bench Donta Hall and Riley Norris. The Musketeers aren’t the most efficient team (41 percent FGA) but can certainly turn easy offensive rebounds into enough second-chance points to win going away if Bama can’t step up.

Follow Chris DePew on at @TideFansChris

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