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Alabama can’t be afraid of the paint against bulked-up Bulldogs

Where to watch: Alabama (15-12, 7-7 SEC – #46 KenPom rating) at Mississippi State (17-10, 8-6 – #53) – Today 8 p.m. Central, Humphries Coliseum, SEC Network

Who to watch: Kira Lewis. The sophomore point guard from Meridianville never met a rim he didn’t want to drive towards, and Bama will need that kind of bravery from him to spread if it wants to complete the season sweep. The Bulldogs have a contender for SEC Player of the Year in forward Reggie Perry, plus shot-blocking machine Abdul Ado, but the Crimson Tide actually won big in the first meeting because it wasn’t afraid to attack them rim (and helpfully get both big men into foul trouble). Lewis scored 17 points in that 90-69 win despite making just one 3-pointer. He also had eight rebounds as Bama finished with a surprising 42-38 edge on the glass.

What to watch for: Which Nick Weatherspoon shows up in Starkville. State’s point guard is possibly the most unpredictable player in the SEC, a scoring machine on some nights and a turnover-prone disaster at other times. Lately it’s been more of the later, with Weatherspoon averaging 4.8 turnovers in his last five games, with rock bottom occuring February 11 at Ole Miss, where he gave the ball away six times and finished scoreless in 31 minutes. But Bama has brought out his best before – he had 20 points and four rebounds in the first meeting in Tuscaloosa.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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