Bama must shake off old history, recent struggles in Gator country

By Chris DePew Staff
Feb. 3, 2018

Where to watch: Alabama (14-8, 5-4) at No. 23 Florida (15-7, 6-3) – Today 3 p.m. Central, O’Connell Center, ESPN

Who to watch: Donta Hall. Far and away Bama’s most experienced player, Hall got thrown off track by Missouri’s athletic big men, shooting just 2-for-5 from the floor and grabbing four rebounds, his worst showing on the glass since facing Mo Bamba and Texas. But the junior from Luverne has a great chance to get recharged against the depleted Gators front line. Unlike Wednesday, when Avery Johnson had to pair him frequently with Daniel Giddens or Galin Smith to try to protect the paint, Hall should be able to operate more comfortably in his customary post position with a faster, more athletic lineup.

What to watch for: Poise and toughness. The Crimson Tide won its last trip to the O-Dome two seasons ago, but the Gators have traditionally given Bama fits of late, winning 24 out of 27 meetings dating back to 2000. And despite some inconsistent shooting of late, Florida is still averaging almost 75 points per game in SEC play and has been deadly all year from behind the arc, averaging 9.6 3-pointers per contest. Two different trends are colliding here, as Alabama has won three straight games versus Top 25 teams but is a shaky 4-6 away from Coleman Coliseum (and just 1-4 in true road games). At some point the Gators will make a run to energize their crowd, and Bama will need to be mature enough to weather the storm and stick to the gameplan instead of forcing up speculative jump shots while everyone else stands around and hopes somebody else makes a play.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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