Alabama needs to play faster, angrier with season at stake in SEC Tournament


By Staff
March 8, 2018

Where to watch: No. 9 Alabama (17-14) vs. No. 8 A&M (20-11) – Today noon Central, Scottrade Center (St. Louis),

Who to watch: Collin Sexton. Where better than a hockey arena to rekindle a feud from last weekend? Sexton’s infamous trash talking baited Aggies freshman point guard T.J. Starks into a head swat in the game’s final minute that resulted in matching technical fouls (and Starks being ejected). If Sexton can stay in his counterpart’s head without crossing the line, it could provide a little bit of an edge at a time Bama desperately needs every possible advantage. Starks isn’t a scoring threat but is only remaining option that has for directing its frontcourt-oriented offense. By contrast, Sexton, who was voted the league’s newcomer of the year and first team All-SEC by the media, plays with more focus and energy when he’s carrying a chip on his shoulder, and the Crimson needs to play a full game with the snarl it discovered in the last 10 minutes in Station.

What to watch for: Does Avery Johnson finally turn this team loose to play at full speed? Throughout this five-game losing streak, Alabama has shown that it can’t consistently score from its halfcourt offense. It certainly couldn’t get it done against the Aggies when it played at their preferred pace, opening the way for All-SEC center Tyler Davis to dominate the rim and glass and Robert Williams to show why the league’s coaches made him co-defensive player of the year. Bama is at its best when it creates chaos, scores on the break and generates enough extra scoring chances to overcome lousy shooting. It isn’t a conducive to winning four games in four games, but Johnson can’t worry about looking ahead. Without a win against the Aggies, this squad doesn’t have a future worth worrying about.

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