Who to watch: John Petty. The junior guard always seems to perk up back in his hometown, scoring 18 and 16 points in his previous two Rocket City Classics. And he’s coming off a career-high 39 points in Wednesday’s win against Samford, where he matched his own school record with 10 made 3-pointers. What’s lost in the focus on his improved shooting is that he also leads Bama with 7.1 rebounds per game and has become a more aggressive defender as well. The acid test will come next month when SEC play begins, but after two years of being labeled an underachiever, Petty has done all he can to maximize has standing through the first 10 games of this season.
What to watch for: Shots flying from anywhere and everywhere. The Tide and Bruins rank third and eighth respectively among Division I teams in made 3-pointers, with both averaging over 10 a game. Belmont hits at a slightly higher rate (37.3 percent versus 35.8) and has had better success defending opponents on the perimeter, but has faced a weaker schedule than Alabama. If one team struggles to find its shooting range in the funky confines of the Von Braun Center, it could find itself left behind in a hurry.
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