Alabama beat Rhode Island 68-64 on Wednesday, December 6. Here is a look at that game and what to expect for the game against Arizona tonight.
#1 Norris Riley 6’7″ G (Sr.)
#2 Collin Sexton 6’3″ G (Fr.)
#12 Dazon Ingram 6’5″ G (So.)
#23 John Petty 6’5″ G (Fr.)
#0 Donta Hall 6’9″ F/C (Jr.)
Off the bench: #4 Daniel Giddens 6’11” F/C (So.), #5 Avery Johnson, Jr. 5’11” G (Jr.), #10 Herb Jones 6’7″ G (Fr.), #30 Galin Smith 6’9″ F (Fr.), #3 Alex Reese 6’9″ F (Fr.)
Offense: High pick ‘n’ roll mainly with a lot of 1-on-1 dribble penetration. This is an offense that has many players who can get into the lane for scoring/passing opportunities. A good deal of their offense comes from transition, and getting out quickly on the break for an open shot. #0 Hall is a long and athletic big who was able to get a few lob dunks against Rhode Island. #2 Sexton is averaging almost 21 points a game and is the focal point of the offense.
Defense: Alabama played mostly straight man defense against Rhode Island. There were a couple of possessions where they switched to a zone. The guards tended to switch on screens coming from other guards. They have an active and aggressive defense that collapses to the ball once it goes into or near the paint.
Strengths: Alabama is a very athletic and long team overall that can run the floor well. They are very good in transition and move the ball down the court quickly. #0 Hall is an aggressive and lengthy big man while #2 Sexton is this teams main scorer and seemed able to get into the lane at will against Rhode Island. Excellent depth–there are 10 players averaging over 10 minutes per game for Alabama with #2 Sexton, #23 Petty, and #12 Ingram each averaging almost 30 minutes per game.
Weaknesses: Like a lot of teams that get out quickly in offensive transition they can be beat coming back the other way and gave up a lot of transition points and opportunities to Rhode Island. Their defense is active but had a tendency to get beat off the dribble and collapsed on the ball leaving perimeter shooters open. Poor free throw shooting team–63% for the year with #2 Sexton being their best free throw shooter at a modest 72%.
Summary: Alabama is a fun team to watch and they will get the ball down the court quickly to try and get some open looks. They are very athletic both inside and out. They didn’t shoot particularly well against Rhode Island and this game against Arizona will be their first true road game of the year.
Keys for Arizona: There is a good chance this will be the season debut for Rawle Alkins. Adding him into this already guard/small forward heavy line-up will make for interesting viewing, and we’ll see how well and how quickly this team can gel–particularly since they’ve had some early season chemistry issues that they have seemed to improve upon over the last couple of games. If they can keep #2 Sexton in check while getting back on defense they should have a good chance at winning this game. They should be able to get some open 3’s as Alabama will most likely have to double down on Ayton; and the guards should be able to get into the lane off of dribble/drive. The Cats have 8 players averaging over 15 minutes per game but only 2 players averaging double digit points. This should change with Rawle’s return and, going forward, the Cats will have to get better scoring from those not named Allonzo or Deandre.