One thing in particular stands out about Alabama’s basketball roster.
The players are tall, and therefore long.
This could pose a challenge Wednesday in Georgia's game against Alabama, especially when the Bulldogs possess the basketball. The Crimson Tide feature three players 6-foot-7 or taller in the starting lineup, with three more players of that stature coming off of the bench.
Points may be at a premium with each Georgia possession being valuable.
“They’re a tough team,” guard J.J. Frazier said. “They take the identity of their head coach (Avery Johnson), and he’s a tough guy. It’s not going to be easy. They have a good sprinkle of young and old. We have to make them guard for the majority of time — don’t puke up bad shots to give them easy buckets. They’re a dang good defensive team.”
Freshman forward Braxton Key, at 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, has been a difference-maker already for Alabama, leading the team in both scoring, 10.7 points per game, and rebounding, 5.7 per game. He has come up with six steals in the past six games and has 12 blocked shots for the season.
Georgia head coach Mark Fox said Alabama does a good job rotating out of its trap zone and into its man-to-man defense, which will be something the Bulldogs prepare for.
“They’re a very good defensive team,” Fox said. “They obviously have some schemes that are really good for them. They do some trapping out of their zone that’s good for them. Their man-to-man defense is really good. Defensively, I think their length and physicality is something that’s helped them. And so they are a very good defensive club. That’s something we’re going to have to deal with.”
Alabama ranks second in the SEC in points allowed per game with 60.7. It is also first in the conference in rebounding defense (60.7) and rebounding margin (plus-6.1). According to KenPom, the Crimson Tide rank 25th nationally and fifth in the SEC in adjusted defensive efficiency.
The Crimson Tide haven’t been as successful on offense. They have averaged a league-worst 68.3 points per game, a fourth worst 42.5 field-goal percentage and a second-worst 31.7 3-point shooting percentage.
But what Alabama has lacked on offense, it has made up on defense.
“They’ll be a challenge to face and force to be recognized,” sophomore Derek Ogbeide said. “It’ll be a good face-up to test both of our abilities.”