Can Magnolia State native get Bama back on track in Oxford?


Where to watch: Alabama (14-12, 6-7 SEC – #55 KenPom rating) at Ole Miss (13-13, 4-9) – Today 7:30 p.m. Central, The Pavilion at Ole Miss,

Who to watch: Galin Smith. He came to Bama with the label of a project player, and like those Ikea shelves under your bed, Smith never did get built out a finished, fully-useful product. His 3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game are at about the same anemic level as his previous two seasons. But something about playing his home- school fired up the Clinton, Miss., native last season, as his best two games of the year came against the Rebels. He scored a career-best 11 points (plus added seven rebounds) in last year’s meeting, plus had 10 points in last January’s meeting in Tuscaloosa. At this point any inspiration for a Bama big would be a blessing. The has been getting embarrassed on the glass all month, and at times seems to give up on scoring in the paint altogether, unless it is to clear room for a guard to drive to the rim.

What to watch for: Will Breein Tyree merely score points or blow up like a supernova? The senior averages 20.3 points per game, but lately 20 points feels like an off night for the league’s No. 2 scorer. Tyree went for 38 points against South Carolina, then came back two games later and hung 40 on Mississippi State. He’s an adequate 3-point shooter but does just as much or more damage inside the arc and especially at the foul line. That’s a red flag given Bama’s propensity to foul. Look for and to get the first cracks at keeping Tyree in check, with plenty of help rotating over.

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