Where to watch: Alabama (4-3) at No. 24 Oregon (7-2) – Today 5 p.m. Central, Matthew Knight Arena, ESPNU
Who to watch: Riley Norris. The junior swing man lost his starting job after Thanksgiving but should be back with the first five today now that Nick King has been sidelined with an unknown ailment that caused a rapid weight loss (10 pounds in 10 days). Norris is shooting 37 percent, very close to his career average, but his rebounding has tapered off to an average of 3.4 per game, and he has yet to get more than five in a game so far this season. King had shown flashes of talent but actually played worse once he became a starter. Small forward has been a mirror of the team as a whole, with no dominant personality emerging and some promising parts not adding up to a greater whole. If Norris could repeat last year’s 12 points and five rebounds against the Ducks, it could give Bama a puncher’s chance.
What to watch for: That 70s (No-) Show. In four home games, the Crimson Tide has averaged nearly 74 points and never scored below 70. In games away from Tuscaloosa, Bama has 60, 62 and 68 points. Only in the first half at Texas has Bama looked competent on offense outside its home gym. As you may have suspected, Oregon does not represent a promising opportunity to reverse that trend. The Ducks are considered a bit of a disappointment after coming off an Elite Eight trip and being ranked No. 5 in the preseason, but even while battling injuries Oregon has been stingy, not allowing 70 or more points since the season opener. Alabama hasn’t been embarrassed by anybody this season, but may not be able to say the same by the time it flies home.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris