February 21, 2009

Basketball Preview: Miss St. at Alabama

What: Mississippi State (17-9, 7-4) at Alabama (13-12, 3-8).
Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
When: Saturday.
Time/TV: 2 p.m. No television.
Series record: Alabama leads 110-70.

Alabama probable starters
GMikhail Torrance6-5, 2109.0Needs to continue to knock down shots behind the arc.
GSenario Hillman6-1, 18813.2Must continue to penetrate to creat opportunities for the offense.
G/FAlonzo Gee6-6, 22014.2Scored his 1500th point against the Gators.
FAnthony Brock5-9, 1654.6Gets the start due to State's four guard starting lineup.
FJaMychal Green6-9, 22510.1Turned in a double-double with 15 rebounds against the Gators.
Alabama top reserves
GAndrew Steele6-3, 2153.0Will see increased playing time against the Bulldogs.
FDemetrius Jemison6-8, 2402.8Will be defending more on the perimeter due to State's 3-point shooting.


Mississippi State probable starters
F/CJarvis Varando6-9, 21013.2Leads the SEC in blocks with 126 on the year.
G/FRavern Johnson6-7, 17512.4Shoots 45 percent from behind the arc.
GBarry Stewart6-2, 17011.3Leads the Bulldogs in minutes played with 31.3 per game.
GDee Bost6-2, 17011.1Averages 4.3 assist per game.
GPhil Turner6-3, 1708.5Likes to crash the boards for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State top reserves
GRiley Benock6-4, 1802.6Has played in all 26 games for the Bulldogs.
FRomero Osby6-8, 2305.0Is the primary replacement for Varando in the post.

Analysis and Prediction
Mississippi State comes into Tuscaloosa second in the SEC west and off a 75-70 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks. Alabama comes home after losing a 83-74 decision to the Florida Gators.

The Bulldogs like to shoot the three. They lead the league in 3-pointers made at 8.23 per game. The Crimson Tide will have to get out and guard the Bulldogs' four guards on the perimeter and contest every three point shot. On the inside the Tide has to deal with the SEC's top shot blocker, Jarvis Varnado. Vardnado will give Jamychal Green and the other Tide post players a touch task of scoring on the inside.

Offensivly, the Tide will need to pound it inside and take advantage of the Bulldogs smaller lineup. With the smaller Bulldog lineup offensive rebounding should be an advantage for the Tide.

For the Tide to get a win over the Bulldogs, they need more points off turnovers. Against Florida the Tide were outscored 13-2 in that catagory. If the Tide can outrebound and create turnovers they will have a chance. In the end the Bulldogs three point shooting will be too much for the Tide.

Prediction: Mississippi State 85, Alabama 82.

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