Young Tide gets first road test against veteran-laden Rhode Island

Where to watch: Alabama (1-1 – #68 KenPom rating) at Rhode Island (1-1 – #90) – Today 6:30 p.m. Central, Ryan Center, NBC Sports Network

Who to watch: Kira Lewis. On paper trusting an 18-year-old sophomore to be the steadying influence for a freshman-heavy team going into its first road contest isn’t ideal. But Lewis has earned that trust by raising his game another level after a SEC All-Freshman performance last season. The 23 points and 6.5 assists per game aren’t all that surprising, but pulling in an average of seven rebounds per game as a 6-foot-3 point guard certainly grabs attention. Lewis is shooting 40 percent from 3-point range and has more than 40 percent of the Crimson Tide’s assists after two games. If he can duplicate those numbers against a veteran Rams backcourt, Alabama has a solid chance at a win that could quietly bolster its tournament credentials come March.

What to watch for: Can Bama solve Cyril Langevine? Rhode Island isn’t a big team, but they do have possibly the best defender in the Atlantic 10 manning the paint. The 6-foot-8 Langevine was basically a rounding error away from averaging a double-double last season, and the senior is coming off a 17-rebound game last weekend at No. 7 Maryland. Redshirt freshman Javian Davis had a breakout game for the Tide against Florida Atlantic, but now he has to prove he can hold his own against a quality veteran player. It’s a challenge that will be repeated across the roster, with the Rams loaded with juniors and seniors hungry to claim a third NCAA bid in four seasons.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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