Where to watch: Alabama (12-7, 4-2 SEC – #44 KenPom rating) at No. 22 LSU (15-4, 6-0 – #34) – Today 6 p.m. Central, Maravich Assembly Center, ESPN2
Who to watch: Kira Lewis. The sophomore was named co-SEC player of the week after scoring a combined 42 points in wins over Vanderbilt and Kansas State. But Lewis will need to prove himself after two rough outings against LSU last season. Last January in Baton Rouge he was 3-for-11 from the floor with three turnovers and just one assist as the Crimson Tide failed to build on an upset of Kentucky three days earlier. During the March rematch in Tuscaloosa, with Bama’s bubble life at stake, Lewis shot 3-for-16 and had another three turnovers as Bama let a late lead slip away. Not only must Lewis step up on the offensive end, he has to find a way to slow down Skylar Mays, who is averaging 15.7 points and 3.4 assists per game.
What to watch for: Can the Tide keep its poise in a tight game? By holding off Kansas State, Bama collected its first win of the season in a game decided by two possessions or less. But that’s old hat to the Tigers, who have won their last six games by four points or less. Five of LSU’s SEC wins have been by a combined margin of victory of 13 points. Meanwhile, Alabama was only in position for a close win over K-State because it squandered nearly all of a double-digit lead down the stretch. If the Crimson Tide shows enough maturity not to wilt in the closing minutes, suddenly bigger goals than merely making the NCAA tournament become possible.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris