Alabama opened the season with seven consecutive victories before falling in back-to-back games to Georgetown and Dayton. Fortunately for the Crimson Tide, they did manage to get back on track last Sunday with a 62-54 decision over Detroit. Alabama owns a 3-0 record in neutral-site games thus far, an obvious reason for confidence heading into this evening's affair.
Kansas State opened the season with five consecutive wins before finally tasting defeat, as the club fell in heart-breaking fashion to West Virginia in double-overtime. The Wildcats were then pushed to overtime in the next contest by North Florida, and while that game did result in a 79-68 victory, the closer-than-expected clash with a seemingly inferior opponent is reason for concern for coach Frank Martin and his team.
The Crimson Tide and the Wildcats have split their only two previous series meetings, the most recent of which took place in 2009.
The strength of the Alabama squad is clearly the frontcourt duo of JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell. Both players are scoring 15.4 ppg on over 50 percent shooting from the floor, and Mitchell is ripping down 7.4 rpg, marginally better than Green's output of 6.8 rpg. The third and final double-digit scorer on the roster is Trevor Releford with 10.5 ppg, and he has dished out 30 assists. The Crimson Tide are generating 66.8 ppg as a team, but it has been the team's play at the defensive end that has been most impressive. Alabama is holding foes to 55.3 ppg on 35.6 percent shooting from the floor. In the eight-point win over Detroit last time out, Green posted 21 points before fouling out, as he connected on 7-of-9 field goal attempts. Mitchell pitched in 15 points, while Nick Jacobs added 13 points. The Tide limited Detroit to 32.1 percent shooting from the field and won the game despite getting just seven points from its starting guards.
Through seven outings, Kansas State is scoring 76.4 ppg while limiting opponents to 64.0 ppg on 36.6 percent shooting. The Wildcats are outrebounding foes by four boards per contest and have four double-digit scorers in the fold. Thomas Gipson checks in with 14.0 ppg and 8.1 rpg to lead the way in both categories, while Rodney McGruder supplies 12.7 ppg. Will Spradling is close behind with 12.6 ppg, and Jamar Samuels rounds out the foursome with 11.8 ppg and 7.0 rpg. In the overtime victory over North Florida, Gipson exploded for 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Spradling added 12 points and nine assists. Samuels had 12 points as well, while McGruder contributed 10 points. The Wildcats shot just 38.9 percent from the floor in that affair and turned the ball over 19 times. Fortunately, they forced 21 giveaways and earned a 50-36 rebounding advantage.