Who to watch: Alex Reese. With Riley Norris expected back as soon as next week and Braxton Key on track to return next month, the competition for playing time in the front court is about to get much fiercer. But Reese is making his case to stick in the rotation even once the Crimson Tide returns to full strength.
Against Lipscomb, he pulled down nine rebounds for the second consecutive game despite seeing his minutes played cut down from 30 to 16. The freshman from Pelham hasn’t found his touch from 3-point range (2-for-11) but can score inside and makes effective use of his 6-foot-9 frame on defense. Less polished than some of his fellow freshmen, Reese could make good use of a game like this to build confidence and prove his worth.
What to watch for: How quickly Bama takes control. In an otherwise strong non-conference schedule, the Bulldogs stand out as the weakest opponent by an order of magnitude. AAMU went 2-27 last season and is once again picked to finish last in the SWAC. Alabama has a pair of double-digit victories, but had to stretch itself well into the second half of both games. The best the Crimson Tide can hope for tonight is to quickly put away an outmanned opponent, spread around playing time across the roster and avoid injuries before the schedule difficulty picks up next week.
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