By Chris DePew
Dec. 3, 2017
Where to watch: No. 24 Alabama (6-1) vs. UCF (4-3) – Today 1 p.m. Central, Coleman Coliseum, ESPNU
Who to watch: John Petty. The freshman guard from Huntsville played just 19 minutes against Louisiana Tech days after rolling his ankle in Brooklyn, and his body language on the bench was concerning to say the least. When he’s at the top of his game he’s just as much of a scoring threat as Collin Sexton, but if Petty’s shot isn’t falling it can throw him into a deep funk. In other words he’s a freshman, and it often takes time for freshmen to achieve consistency and maturity, even five-star All-Americans. How Petty finds his niche (and adjusts to the pending return of Braxton Key) will determine if the Crimson Tide makes the leap from good to great.
What to watch for: Whether Bama gets intimidated by Tacko Fall. It is impossible not to notice a 7-foot-6 center, but much like his team, Fall isn’t living up to his hype so far. His 11 points and seven rebounds per game are nice, but neither leads UCF and both averages are down from last season. And surprisingly he only has 10 blocks in the five games he’s played. The Knights, one of the slowest-paced teams in the country, are on a three-game losing streak where they’ve been held under 60 points every time. If Bama can push the tempo it can wear out Fall, who averages just 21 minutes a game, and put away a win before the final buzzer.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris