Alabama Basketball: What to expect from the Missouri game

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Basketball will meet the Missouri Tigers at noon on Saturday in an SEC Tournament Semifinal. Alabama will be favored with a predicted spread in the high, single digits.

As the spread indicates the Crimson Tide should win the game. Which is not suggest a win will come easily for Nate Oats’ team. Missouri does some things well that make the Tigers a tough match for the Crimson Tide.

In addition, the Tigers are a confident team, playing some of their best basketball late in the season.

Alabama basketball fans, and more importantly, the Alabama players should erase all memory of the Tide’s win over Missouri in January. It was a good road win for the Crimson Tide. But the 85-64 outcome in January is meaningless in defining Missouri now. Since that home loss for the Tigers, they have lost only three games.

Missouri has beaten Tennessee twice, on Friday in Nashville and in Knoxville in mid-February.

In the January game against the Tide, the Tigers shot only 33%, including just 11% from outside the arc. Nothing resembling that will happen in Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. Led by DeMoi Hodge and Kobe Brown, Missouri is a good three-point shooting team. Missouri led the SEC in three-point shooting accuracy in the regular season, with a team average of 35%. The Tigers were No. 2 in two-point shots, at 52.5%.

Missouri excels at turnovers, both in not making their own and causing turnovers by opponents. Alabama was outstanding on Friday, with only seven turnovers. The Tide will be challenged to keep turnovers down against Missouri.

The Tigers like to convert turnovers into fast break points and will be comfortable with the Tide’s preferred pace. Missouri was the SEC No. 2 in the regular season at the foul line, with a team average of 76.1%.

One area where Missouri struggles is rebounding. Missouri was last in the SEC in rebounding. In the previous game, Alabama had a big advantage in second-chance points and that stat should favor the Crimson Tide again on Saturday.

At its best Alabama Basketball no match for Missouri

Alabama playing near its best should be too much for Missouri. But the Tigers are a dangerous team, and if Alabama fails to perform at a high level, the Missouri Tigers could pull off an upset.

Note: Alabama and Missouri stats provided by Sports Reference

Next. Crimson Tide and the NCAA Tournament. dark

Taking over a Missouri team that was 12-21 last season, Dennis Gates was not expected to turn the Tigers around quickly. He has far exceeded expectations. A recent media poll of USA Today writers picked Gates as the SEC Coach of the Year.