Key and Bama need to step up with Clemson calling today


By Chris DePew
Dec. 18,

Where to watch: Clemson (7-2) vs. Alabama (5-4) – Today 3 p.m. Central, Legacy Arena (Birmingham),

Who to watch: Braxton Key. The freshman forward’s next step forward will come when he can prove his mettle against major conference competition. The most recent two-game road swing was a humbling experience, with Key shooting 3-for-11 at Texas and 3-for-8 at Oregon. But even as he struggled to find his shot, Key continued attacking the glass, and his willingness to keep shooting was an encouraging sign that he won’t be intimidated. Key may be the most talented player on the roster and it might not take him the whole season to prove it.

What to watch for: If ’s offense can keep up with the high-flying Tigers. has evolved and improved offensively since last year’s 51-50 loss to the Crimson Tide. Instead of relying so much on All-ACC forward Jaron Blossomgame (18.6 points per game) for scoring, the have three more averaging in double figures and are averaging just over 80 points per game as a team. too has more talent on the floor than it brought to last year’s rock fight in Greenville, S.C., but the has shown it on the scoreboard away from Coleman Coliseum. In four games away from Tuscaloosa, Alabama has shot better than 41 percent just once and has yet to crack 70 points. If it can’t get it done in front of a friendly crowd in Birmingham, it doesn’t figure to get it done very often on the road in the SEC.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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