Which Braxton Key will Bama see in NIT opener?

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March 14, 2017

Where to watch: No. 6 Richmond (20-12) at No. 3 Alabama (19-14) – Today 8:15 p.m. Central, Coleman Coliseum,

Who to watch: Braxton Key. The Crimson ’s top scorer had a wild ride through the tournament, going from an offensive afterthought against Mississippi State (1-for-6 FG, three points) to a scoring machine against South Carolina (6-for-8, 18 points) to a weak link versus Kentucky (4-for-15, 11 points). But look beyond his scoring and other parts of his game were very consistent in Nashville. The freshman forward had between 5-7 rebounds and 3-5 assists each game. Unfortunately, his also held steady at 3.3 per game in the tournament, above his already worrisome 3.1 season average. Success in the will be as much about his development as a trip to New York.

What to watch for: Can keep T.J. Cline from running wild? The Atlantic-10 player of the year (and son of Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman), Cline is a 6-foot-9 senior forward who can do just about everything. He averages 18 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, but what really pops out are his 5.7 assists per game, best in the nation among frontcourt and tied for 21st overall. He also makes 68 percent of his free throws and is a capable 3-point shooter. The Spiders won five straight games before falling to VCU in the A-10 semifinals and will be a tough challenge if can’t match its focus from the tournament.

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