Who to watch: Beetle Bolden. The West Virginia graduate transfer was brought in to provide grit and dependability to a young team once the grind of a SEC winter came. And after an injury-plagued first semester with more downs than ups, he turned in an encouraging effort in the league opener at Florida. Powered by superior foul shooting, Bolden scored 15 points while playing a season-high 35 minutes. Bolden is a streaky 3-point threat and a steady if unspectacular ball handler. The Crimson Tide needs him to avoid foul trouble and find a little more consistency from the field as it hopes to at least tread water during a difficult stretch to begin conference play.
What to watch for: How do you solve a problem like Reggie Perry? The Bulldogs sophomore is six feet and 10 inches of double-double machine, the kind of player custom made to shred Bama’s weak frontcourt. Perry averages 15.8 points and 10 rebounds a game, and he and Abdul Ado combine to lead MSU to 5.5 blocked shots per game. And Perry is built to last, averaging nearly 30 minutes per game. The best defense against him may be a good offense, with Bama either counter-intuitively attacking him in hopes of drawing foul trouble or emphasizing rapid ball movement in hopes of making State’s big men exhaust themselves chasing players.