By Chris DePew
March 14, 2019
Where to watch: Alabama (17-14 – #60 Pomeroy Rating) vs. Ole Miss (20-11 – #43) – Today 6 p.m. Central, Bridgestone Arena (Nashville), SEC Network
Who to watch: John Petty. If Bama is to rescue its season again with another unlikely SEC tournament run, it badly needs star power to lift it out of the doldrums. And Petty is the man with the most room to improve. Whether it is insufficient coaching from Avery Johnson and his staff, inconsistent work habits, the weight of unmet expectations after being the most hyped in-state recruit in nearly a decade or all of that and more, Petty hasn’t been reliable for a team desperate for offense. The sophomore from Huntsville is still averaging 10.6 points per game, but has exceeded that average just once since Groundhog Day. At the least the Crimson Tide could use a repeat of his first game against Ole Miss this season, when he needed just 27 minutes to score 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the floor.
What to watch for: The Tide needs to be bullies in the paint again. Donta Hall and Galin Smith both scored in double figures in the only meeting with the Rebels back on Jan. 22. More importantly Bama dominated the glass with 20 offensive rebounds and limited the three main Ole Miss frontcourt players to a combined 11 points. Alabama hasn’t got the best of anybody around the rim lately and Kermit Davis won Coach of the Year and put Ole Miss into March Madness by working around the shortcomings of his big men, but Bama has to duplicate this winter’s effort at Coleman Coliseum or be prepared to officially see this season written off as a lost cause.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris