By Chris DePew
Feb. 26, 2019
Where to watch: Alabama (16-11, 7-7 SEC – #57 Pomeroy Rating) at South Carolina (14-13, 9-5 – #83) – Today, 6 p.m. Central, Colonial Life Arena, ESPN2
Who to watch: Tevin Mack. Homecoming games are tricky to predict, and Mack, who played at Columbia’s Dreher High, is already one of the hardest Bama players to peg. In February he has alternated double-digit scoring games with less-effective outings. If that pattern holds true he’s due for a big game after being held to just eight points against Vanderbilt. Whether he excels in the hometown spotlight or gets overwhelmed by the pressure to perform, don’t expect to wait long to find out. Mack is third on the team in shot attempts per game (8.1) despite just playing the sixth-most minutes. He’s shot better than 50 percent just five times in 27 games.
What to watch for: Staying patient against USC. In good years and bad, the Gamecocks play a grinding, physical game designed to draw fouls and frustrate opponents. South Carolina is as mediocre in most areas as its record would suggest, but does have a knack for blocking shots, denying interior baskets and forcing turnovers. That means the Crimson Tide will need to be diligent and focused on offense, lest it fall into one of its patented droughts and energize the home crowd. Alabama has gone four straight games without cracking 70 points and is just 1-8 when it fails to do so.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris