Oakland (7-9) at Alabama (7-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Coleman Coliseum (15,383) -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Television: CSS. Home Record: Oakland 4-0, Alabama 4-3. Away Record: Oakland 3-9, Alabama 1-2. Neutral Record: Oakland 0-0, Alabama 2-0. Conference Record: Oakland 2-1, Alabama 0-0. Series Record: Alabama leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Alabama Crimson Tide will attempt to turn things around on Saturday when they welcome the Oakland Golden Grizzlies to Coleman Coliseum for a non-conference duel.
Although the Golden Grizzlies enter two games below .500, they built a little bit of momentum by knocking off IUPUI (84-62) and Nebraska Omaha (91-79) in Summit League action to improve to 7-9 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Oakland is still just 3-9 on the road this season, although it did hold a second half lead in six of the setbacks. Coach Greg Kampe's Golden Grizzlies have some punch on the offensive end, which had led to 71.8 ppg, but they need to improve on the defense as they are giving up 73.4 ppg on 48.5 percent shooting from the field.
Anthony Grant's Crimson Tide looked to be headed towards the top of the rankings as they began the season with six consecutive wins. However, Alabama has gone 1-5 since the hot start and its 53-50 loss to Tulane on Dec. 30 gave it its second loss in a row. The Crimson Tide have really struggled on the offensive end recently with just 57.3 points per game over their last four games. Overall, they have been stellar on defense, limiting foes to 40 percent field goal efficiency for just 59.9 ppg.
This will be just the second meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Alabama came out of the first encounter, which took place on Nov. 14, 2011, with a sizeable 74-57 win over the Golden Grizzlies.
Oakland used a total team effort to push past the Mavericks on Thursday as all five starters scored in double figures in the Summit League tilt. Ryan Bass scored 20 points to lead the way. Travis Bader dropped in 19 points, and Duke Mondy produced 18 points, nine assists and six steals. Corey Petros chimed in with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Drew Valentine managed to register a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards which he accompanied with five assists and a couple of thefts. Bader is leading the team in scoring with 20.2 ppg thanks to his nation-best 65 makes from 3-point range. Petros is doing a solid job in the middle with 13.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per outing, while Mondy, who adds 12.1 ppg, leads Division I players with 49 steals.
Alabama looked to have the Green Wave under control after 20 minutes of play on Sunday, as it took a 25-20 edge into halftime after limiting Tulane to 25 percent shooting. However, the Green Wave sank 5-of-10 shots from 3-point range and shot 44.0 percent overall in the second period to get back in the game while Alabama cooled to 37.5 percent shooting. Nick Jacobs and Trevor Lacey each tallied 12 points to pace Alabama. Trevor Releford, who is averaging a team-best 15.4 ppg, went just 2-of-5 for six points. Lacey is second for the Crimson Tide in the scoring column (13.3 ppg) and top assist man (3.3). Rodney Cooper is a serviceable role player who generates 12.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Although Oakland is gaining steam and Alabama appears to be in a free fall, the Crimson Tide cannot be counted out due to their ability to stifle the opposition. The Golden Grizzlies' reliance on the 3-pointer for their offensive production is going to be the double-edged sword that determines their fate.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Alabama 67, Oakland 66
01/05 10:37:01 ET