By Chris DePew
Jan. 31, 2018
Where to watch: Alabama (14-7, 5-3 SEC) vs. Missouri (13-8, 3-5) – Today 8 p.m. Central, Coleman Coliseum, ESPN2
Who to watch: Herbert Jones. The freshman pride of Hale County is attracting more notice from basketball insiders than his modest averages (5.4 points, 4 rebounds, 1.7 assists per game) would suggest. His defensive intensity and knack for taking charges has been there all along, but his offensive confidence seems to blossom with each game. Over his last four contests Jones has averaged 9.5 points per game, including a career-high 14 in the win over No. 12 Oklahoma. He’s a more confident ball-handler who can distribute well and run plays from the point as needed, creating another matchup headache for teams already focused on Collin Sexton’s drives to the basket, Donta Hall lurking near the rim and John Petty’s potential to explode from the perimeter at any moment.
What to watch for: Limiting turnovers. Losers of three straight, the Tigers are struggling to score enough points to be competitive despite respectable shooting numbers, including nine made 3-pointers per game on average. That’s because Mizzou doesn’t generate many extra possessions with its defense, which forces opponents to turn the ball over just 11.3 times per game, one of the lowest rates in the country. The Crimson Tide by contrast averages 14.1 turnovers per contest. But if it can clean up sloppy mistakes, Mizzou doesn’t have the talent to bully it on defense and create extra scoring chances.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris
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