👨🏻‍💻 Tsoukalas Alabama basketball's hot start to be tested by Trendon Watford, LSU

Tony_Tsoukalas

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The headliner for Tuesday night’s game between Alabama basketball and LSU is Cameron Thomas. However, Monday’s media session centered around a more familiar foe.

Alabama has struggled against freshmen phenoms this season. Despite beating Arkansas 90-59 over the weekend, the Crimson Tide allowed Razorbacks guard Moses Moody to post a season-high 28 points as well as nine rebounds. During a nervy win at Auburn earlier in the month, Alabama saw Sharife Cooper drop 26 points and nine assists in his college debut. Stanford’s Zaire Williams also hit the Tide for 19 points and eight rebounds during Alabama’s first loss of the season in November.

Thomas, who leads the SEC and tops all freshmen nationally averaging 22.1 points per game, is certainly of that ilk. Although the storyline surrounding the trip to Baton Rouge, La. features a reunion with an Alabama native.

If the Tide wants to leave Pete Maravich Assembly Center with a win Tuesday night, it not only needs to stop Thomas but also sophomore forward Trendon Watford, who proved troublesome for the Tide in each of its matchups against the Tigers last season.

Through 11 games, Watford ranks second on LSU averaging 18.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward has been especially hot lately, averaging 21 points and 7.6 rebounds over his last five games.

“I think they’re using him more as a playmaker a little bit,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said during a Zoom call on Monday. “They’re running the offense through him a lot more this year. He’s passing the ball a little bit better. I think he’s shooting a few more 3s — still not shooting at a high volume, but he’s efficient when he shoots them. I think he’s expanded his game kind of being the guy they run the offense through a lot.”

Alabama is well-acquainted with the former five-star recruit. Watford, a Birmingham, Ala. native, was heavily pursued by the Tide in the 2019 class before choosing LSU over Alabama, Memphis and Indiana. Not only did he spurn his home-state team, but he’s also been a thorn in the Tide’s side, averaging 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 51.7 percent (15 of 29) from the floor over two games last season.

Watford scored 17 points and pulled in a career-high 15 rebounds during LSU’s 90-76 victory against Alabama in Baton Rouge last year. The Tide had a little bit more success against him in its next meeting in Coleman Coliseum when it held him to 18 points and four rebounds in a 88-82 win over the Tigers.

During last year’s win over LSU, Alabama matched up its center against Watford, looking to limit his ability to score down low. That approach will be slightly more difficult Tuesday night as the Tide will be without starting graduate transfer Jordan Bruner, who will miss the next 4-6 weeks after sustaining a meniscus injury to his right knee last week at Kentucky. Watford has also improved his overall game since the last time he faced Alabama, averaging two more assists while shooting 43.5 percent from beyond the arc, up from 26.9 percent last year.

“He’s got a heavy post-up game, so it makes sense to guard him with a center,” Oats said. “The problem with that is he can go off the dribble a little bit, too. We’ll also look at a guy like Herb Jones or [Alex] Reese. Juwan Gary, [James] Rojas, they’ll all get their turn, and you obviously got to bring some appropriate help. You don’t want to just run at him because he can pass the ball.”

While JUCO transfer Keon Ellis has yet to face Watford on the floor, he’s seen enough of the LSU forward's athleticism on tape to know he will be a tough matchup for the Tide.

“Just cause his size and his ability to stretch the floor, and also he’s able to get downhill really well, so I think that makes him a tough guard,” Ellis said. “We just got to prepare for him as best as we can. We faced some good guards, good players throughout the year, so I think we’re ready.”

While the majority of Monday’s media session focused on Watford, Oats was quick to point out Alabama will have to corral more than just the forward to leave Baton Rouge with a win. Along with Thomas and Watford, LSU also features a veteran point guard in junior Ja’Vonte Smart (15.2 ppg, 4.0 apg) and one of the SEC’s best rebounders in Darius Days (13.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg).

“We’re playing arguably the best offensive team in the league in LSU,” Oats said. “Our guys have to get locked in defensively. LSU is loaded offensively. They have a big four with Thomas, Smart, Days, and Watford. You’ve gotta be locked into all four really.”

Alabama heads into Tuesday's matchup ranked No. 18 in The Associated Press Top 25, its first inclusion in the poll since December of 2017 and its highest ranking since 2011. The Crimson Tide (11-3, 6-0 in the SEC) is the only remaining team undefeated in SEC play and is currently riding a seven-game winning streak. Meanwhile, LSU (10-2, 5-1) is also hot, heading into the matchup winners of its last four games. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN2.

“We’re going to see if we can show some maturity,” Oats said. “Go in there, play a lot harder, play a lot better. Just see if we can keep this thing rolling because the chemistry has been great, the momentum’s going, guys are playing together. Winning helps. Everything looks better when you’re winning games.”
 

milso47

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The headliner for Tuesday night’s game between Alabama basketball and LSU is Cameron Thomas. However, Monday’s media session centered around a more familiar foe.

Alabama has struggled against freshmen phenoms this season. Despite beating Arkansas 90-59 over the weekend, the Crimson Tide allowed Razorbacks guard Moses Moody to post a season-high 28 points as well as nine rebounds. During a nervy win at Auburn earlier in the month, Alabama saw Sharife Cooper drop 26 points and nine assists in his college debut. Stanford’s Zaire Williams also hit the Tide for 19 points and eight rebounds during Alabama’s first loss of the season in November.

Thomas, who leads the SEC and tops all freshmen nationally averaging 22.1 points per game, is certainly of that ilk. Although the storyline surrounding the trip to Baton Rouge, La. features a reunion with an Alabama native.

If the Tide wants to leave Pete Maravich Assembly Center with a win Tuesday night, it not only needs to stop Thomas but also sophomore Trendon Watford, who proved troublesome for the Tide in each of its matchups against the Tigers last season.

Through 11 games, Watford ranks second on LSU averaging 18.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward has been especially hot lately, averaging 21 points and 7.6 rebounds over his last five games.

“I think they’re using him more as a playmaker a little bit,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said during a Zoom call on Monday. “They’re running the offense through him a lot more this year. He’s passing the ball a little bit better. I think he’s shooting a few more 3s — still not shooting at a high volume, but he’s efficient when he shoots them. I think he’s expanded his game kind of being the guy they run the offense through a lot.”

Alabama is well-acquainted with the former five-star recruit. Watford, a Birmingham, Ala. native, was heavily recruited by the Tide in the 2019 class before choosing LSU over Alabama, Memphis and Indiana. Not only did he spurn his home-state team, but he’s also been a torn in the Tide’s side, averaging 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 51.7 percent (15 of 29) from the floor over two games last season.

Watford scored 17 points and pulled in a career-high 15 rebounds during LSU’s 90-76 victory against Alabama in Baton Rouge last year. The Tide had a little bit more success against him in its next meeting in Coleman Coliseum when it held him to 18 points and four rebounds in a 88-82 win over the Tigers.

During last year’s win over LSU, Alabama matched up its center against Watford, looking to limit his ability to score down low. That approach will be slightly more difficult Tuesday night as the Tide will be without starting graduate transfer Jordan Bruner, who will miss the next 4-6 weeks after sustaining a meniscus injury to his right knee last week at Kentucky. Watford has also improved his overall game since the last time he faced Alabama, averaging two more assists while shooting 43.5 percent from beyond the arc, up from 26.9 percent last year.

“He’s got a heavy post-up game, so it makes sense to guard him with a center,” Oats said. “The problem with that is he can go off the dribble a little bit, too. We’ll also look at a guy like Herb Jones or [Alex] Reese. Juwan Gary, [James] Rojas, they’ll all get their turn, and you obviously got to bring some appropriate help. You don’t want to just run at him because he can pass the ball.”

While JUCO transfer Keon Ellis has yet to face Watford on the floor, he’s seen enough of the LSU forward's athleticism on tape to know he will be a tough matchup for the Tide.

“Just cause his size and his ability to stretch the floor, and also he’s able to get downhill really well, so I think that makes him a tough guard,” Ellis said. “We just got to prepare for him as best as we can. We faced some good guards, good players throughout the year, so I think we’re ready.”

While the majority of Monday’s media session focused on Watford, Oats was quick to point out Alabama will have to corral more than just the forward to leave Baton Rouge with a win Tuesday night. Along with Thomas and Watford, LSU also features a veteran point guard in junior Ja’Vonte Smart (15.2 ppg, 4.0 apg) and one of the SEC’s best rebounders in Darius Days (13.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg).

“We’re playing arguably the best offensive team in the league in LSU,” Oats said. “Our guys have to get locked in defensively. LSU is loaded offensively. They have a big four with Thomas, Smart, Days, and Watford. You’ve gotta be locked into all four really.”

Alabama heads into Tuesday's matchup ranked No. 18 in The Associated Press Top 25, its first inclusion in the poll since December of 2017 and its highest ranking since 2011. The Crimson Tide (11-3, 6-0 in the SEC) is the only remaining team undefeated in SEC play and is currently riding a seven-game winning streak. Meanwhile, LSU (10-2, 5-1) is also hot, heading into the matchup winners of its last four games. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN2.

“We’re going to see if we can show some maturity,” Oats said. “Go in there, play a lot harder, play a lot better. Just see if we can keep this thing rolling because the chemistry has been great, the momentum’s going, guys are playing together. Winning helps. Everything looks better when you’re winning games.”
good article tont t with a Y. i look for this to be our tuffest challege since conferece play started

i expect LSU is favored 2 OR 3 POINTS. MAYBE 4. BUDOG AND I TALKED ABOUT THAT YESTERDAY

ROLL TIDE AND THANKS AGAIN TONY T WITH A y. GOOD WRITE UP

capps stuck
 

Vaughnbama

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Alabama has been as hot offensively the last six games as we were cold the first six games. Sooner or later it is going to catch up with us. LSU will probably try to run us off the lane tonight and see if our inside game can win one. With Bruner, I think this would have been a close game; however, without Bruner our inside players must step up.

If I had to predict, I would go with LSU by 8.
 
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