Alabama Basketball to show growth against Indiana State?


Alabama Basketball will be back in Coleman Coliseum on Friday night hosting the Indiana State Sycamores. The Crimson Tide kicked off its 2023-24 campaign with a 105-73 win over Morehead State earlier this week.

Indiana State is an improving program under third-year coach Josh Schertz. The Sycamores won 23 games last season, and return some quality contributors such as junior guard Julian Larry, junior wing Jayson Kent, and redshirt senior wing Xavier Bledson. The Sycamores’ leading returning scorer, sophomore big Robbie Avila, has been out with an injury and missed the first game.

Indiana State beat NAIA St. Mary-of-the-Woods to open its season, and relied heavily on a pair of transfer guards to get the job done. Junior Isaiah Swope, previously of Southern Indiana, led the team with 26 points. Sophomore Ryan Conwell, a South Florida transfer, added 25 points. Both transfer guards hit five three-pointers in the contest and shot well over 50 percent from the field.

Indiana State would need a similar lights-out performance from its backcourt to be competitive against Alabama Basketball. On paper, the Sycamores lack the size to keep the Crimson Tide off the boards. If the 6’10” Avila cannot play, Bama’s significant size advantage would only become more glaring.

In its opening game, Indiana State started Kent (6’8”) and Bledson (6’6”) as its de facto frontcourt. The undersized Sycamores were nearly outrebounded by their NAIA counterparts.

The Alabama frontcourt of Nick Pringle and Grant Nelson, with Jarin Stevenson and others coming off the bench, should have a field day.

So, how can Alabama Basketball show improvement in this game?

The Tide played well against Morehead State, scoring efficiently and shooting the ball at a high clip. Against Indiana State, it can continue to display elite shooting while starting to develop into an elite defensive team. Due to its size, length, and athletic advantages, Bama should be able to dominate overmatched teams defensively.

Additionally, the Crimson Tide can focus on limiting turnovers. Its 13 turnovers against Morehead State weren’t terrible, but the Tide can definitely clean up some sloppiness on the offensive end of the floor. Transfer guard Aaron Estrada committed four turnovers, while transfer forward Mo Wague accounted for three in just 10 minutes of action.

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It’s not easy to improve on a 32-point win, but Bama’s goals are to be among the nation’s elite teams. If Coach Nate Oats is going to get Alabama Basketball to reach its potential in 2023-24, it will have to focus on the minute details.