Alabama (6-3) at Texas Tech (5-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 19, 8 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: United Spirit Arena (15,098) -- Lubbock, Texas. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: UA 4-1, TTU 5-2. Away Record: UA 0-2, TTU 0-0. Neutral Record: UA 2-0, TTU 0-0. Conference Record: UA 0-0, TTU 3-0. Series Record: Alabama leads, 5-1.
GAME NOTES: The Texas Tech Red Raiders continue their lengthy homestand on Wednesday night, as they welcome the Alabama Crimson Tide to United Spirit Arena in Lubbock for a non-conference tilt.
Texas Tech is in the midst of an 11-game homestand to start the season, as the team won't leave Lubbock until after the New Year. Since starting the year 4-0, the Red Raiders have dropped two of their last three contests. Most recently, they suffered an 80-75 setback to McNeese State on Sunday.
Alabama has also scuffled of late, losing three in a row after a 6-0 start. The Crimson Tide suffered their worst loss of the season this past Saturday, falling at VCU, 73-54. Following this matchup, they'll return to Tuscaloosa for their next three games.
UA leads the all-time series, 5-1, although this is the first meeting between these two teams since the 1983-84 season.
Playing on the road against a solid VCU squad, Alabama dug itself an early 11-2 hole and was never able to climb out. The Crimson Tide went on to shoot just 39 percent from the floor in addition to committing 18 turnovers. They made only 3-of-11 3-pointers for the game, compared to a 9-of-25 effort by VCU. Freshman Devonta Pollard tallied 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while Levi Randolph added 10 points in the loss. Leading scorer Trevor Releford (15.9 ppg) shot just 3-of-9 from the floor and finished with nine points. In addition to Releford, Rodney Cooper (13.5 ppg) and Trevor Lacey (13.4 ppg) are also averaging double figures on the season. But where the Crimson Tide have really hung their hats is at the defensive end, holding foes to 40.6 percent shooting from the floor and a mere 59.8 ppg. UA is also +3.3 in turnover margin.
Alabama's pressure defense will present an interesting challenge for the high- octane Red Raiders, who are putting up 80.3 ppg. Jaye Crockett leads Texas Tech in scoring (15.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg) despite coming off the bench in every game so far. Josh Gray (11.9 ppg) and Dejan Kravic (11.3 ppg) have also played significant offensive roles. The Red Raiders lack a perimeter presence -- they shoot just 28.3 percent from beyond the arc as a team -- but Crockett and Kravic have been ultra-efficient with their touches, combining to shoot 61.3 percent from the field. However, the Red Raiders let a 10-point lead slip away against McNeese State as they let the visitors shoot 59.4 percent from the floor in the second half and 55.9 percent for the game. Crockett once again led the way with 17 points and 10 boards, while Gray added 15 points.
The Red Raiders appeared to let off the gas pedal a bit against McNeese State. They'll need to keep up the intensity for a full 40 minutes if they hope to get back into the win column here, as the Crimson Tide don't allow many open looks at the basket.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas Tech 71, Alabama 66
12/19 10:39:53 ET