by: Knox Bardeen
The Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1) will host the University of Dayton Flyers (5-2) Wednesday at Coleman Coliseum for a 9 p.m. ET tipoff in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Matt Stewart and Wimp Sanderson will be calling the game on CSS.
Both teams will be looking to rebound from nail-biter losses last week. Devin Oliver layed in the final bucket after a missed three-point attempt as the Flyers lost, 62-61, to the Weber State Wildcats.
With six seconds remaining in a tie game, the Crimson Tide fell victim to a Cincinnati Bearcats buzzer beater to suffer their first loss, 58-56. Trevor Lacey led the way with 16 points against the then-No. 17 Bearcats.
The series between Alabama and Dayton is even at one game each, but the Flyers beat the Crimson Tide last season in Dayton, 74-62. Alabama was ranked 17th at the time.
What to Watch
Its very tough to score on the Crimson Tide, who have given up just 384 points in seven games this year. Their 54.9 points given up ranks 14th in the country.
The Alabama starting five is far from set. Head coach Anthony Grant has used five different starting lineups this season and a different set in each of Alabamas last four games. Center Carl Engstrom has already been declared out for Wednesdays game, meaning Grant will be forced to use a different starting lineup than he did in the Cincinnati game.
There is a good chance Wednesdays game will be close. In seven games this season Alabama has played part in three buzzer-beater finishes. The Crimson Tide won with last-second three-point shots over South Dakota State and Oregon State, and were handed a loss in the final seconds by Cincinnati.
Junior guard Trevor Releford is leading the Crimson Tide in scoring, averaging 17.5 points per game. Even more impressive is his hot hand from beyond the arc. In his last three games, Releford is connecting on 70.6 percent of his three-point shots.
Alabama has been a second-half team this season. The Crimson Tide have outscored opponents in the first half of games by 3.9 points on average, but have upped that margin to 10.2 points in the second half.
Dayton hasnt lost to a Southeastern Conference opponent since the 2008-09 season. The Flyers are 6-0 in that time span.
Alabama is averaging 12.7 turnovers per game, but will need to be careful with the ball Wednesday. Dayton, over its last three games, has forced opponents into 22.3 turnovers per game.
Dayton has four starters that average in double digits in scoring. Senior guard Kevin Dillard leads the way with 13.9 points per game and senior forward Josh Benson and junior forward Devin Oliver are tied for third in scoring with 10.6 points per game. Four different starters have led the team in scoring in games this year, meaning itll be tough to find the right player to key on early.
Senior guard Kevin Dillard not only leads the team in assists with four per game, but has at least one assist in every game (40) hes played for the Flyers in his career. With 19 more, Dillard will become the all-time assists leader at Dayton with 217.
Keep an eye on freshman forward Jalen Robinson off Daytons bench. Hes averaging just under seven points and just under four rebounds per game. Hes started three games this season, but scores more (8.8 points per game) when he plays off the bench.
by: Knox Bardeen