Alabama Basketball: Why the Tide has been better without Collin Sexton


Alabama basketball is on a four-game winning streak. Collin Sexton missed the two most recent games and the Tide’s performance without the freshman phenom was improved.

Alabama basketball is a less talented team with an injured Collin Sexton watching from the bench. No one else on the Crimson Tide’s roster is as quick and fluid with the basketball and so adept at getting to the basket. But, minus Collin Sexton’s on-court presence, Alabama basketball has performed better on offense.

Sexton is also a strong defensive player, able to matchup with the quickest of college basketball’s guards. Yet, again without Collin on the court, the Tide has performed more consistently on defense. The improved defensive execution has also been achieved despite limited minutes from Donta Hall, who is recovering from wrist surgery.

How has Collin subtraction led to Tide addition?

Collin played well in the two losses after the Texas A&M game. The second of the losses, against Georgia, Collin scored 23 points, got two rebounds and made three assists. He was the only double-digit scorer for the Tide and the team lost by 19 points.

In the following game, a win over South Carolina, Sexton scored only five points on 2-8 shooting. The Tide won with balanced scoring, including four players reaching double-digit points. Sexton shot poorly again against LSU, going only 4-16. He scored well at the foul line and added seven rebounds. Dazon Ingram led the Tide against LSU, scoring 18 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Against the Bengal Tigers, no other Tide players scored double-digit points.

A different Tide beat Auburn and Mississippi State

Alabama basketball is a different team without Sexton in the lineup. In halfcourt offensive sets the movement of players and the ball has been more brisk. With Collin on the court, too often his teammates have been stagnant waiting for Sexton to make something happen. There is nothing wrong with Avery running the offense through Sexton. Collin’s talents warrant doing so. But without Collin’s talents, the offensive flow has been better. Against Auburn, John Petty scored 27 points, while Ingram added 16 and Herbert Jones added 11 points.

A better measurement of the increased effectiveness of the Alabama basketball offense is assists-per-game. In the three games against Georgia, South Carolina and LSU, the Collin-centric tide offense averaged 7.6 assists. Without Collin, against Auburn and Mississippi State, the average jumped to 14 assists-per-game.

Is the Alabama basketball team better without Collin Sexton? The clear answer is it should not be. Collin is one of the Tide’s most talented players ever. His free-throw shooting would have likely prevented a second-half comeback by Mississippi State.

Avery made this comment on the win over the Bulldogs.

"This was a great learning lesson for us. We played some terrific basketball in the first half with 12 assists, four turnovers, the ball was moving and we were rebounding the basketball."

The challenge going forward

The challenge for Avery and the team is continuing to learn when Collin returns. Collin might play Tuesday night in Oxford. It is almost assured he will play in the Oklahoma game against the best freshman PG in basketball, Trae Young. Avery wants the improved offensive flow, with quick passes and less unproductive dribbling with Collin running the offense. If that mix can be achieved when Collin returns, Alabama basketball will be dancing in March.

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Alabama basketball takes on Ole Miss, Tuesday night in Oxford, MS. Road wins against Ole Miss have long been a Tide challenge. Ole Miss has won the last six on its home court.