The University of Alabama basketball team’s search for more consistency will continue on the road as the Crimson Tide will visit No. 23 Florida on Saturday.
Four of the team’s next six games will be away from Coleman Coliseum. Alabama has already lost three SEC games on the road this season, at Vanderbilt, Georgia and Ole Miss.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Coach Avery Johnson said during his press conference Friday.
After upsetting No. 12 Oklahoma on Jan. 27, the Crimson Tide took a disappointing 69-60 home loss to Missouri on Wednesday. It knocked Alabama into fifth place in the SEC, a game behind Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee, which are all coming up on the schedule. The Crimson Tide will host a rematch with the Gators on Feb 27.
As for avoiding letdowns after big wins, which have plagued this young team all season, Johnson put the blame on himself and the coaching staff by saying the key was “Finding the right words to say because obviously what I’ve said is not good enough. Finding the right words to say, finding the right practice routine. Whatever we’ve done in those situations is not good enough. That’s 99.5 percent of it.
“The other 0.5 is getting some veteran leadership, also, from the guys on the team.”
Ken Pomeroy of kenpom.com ranks Alabama’s experience at 348 out of 351 teams in the nation. His ratings are determined by a player’s eligibility class (a freshman has zero years of experience, a sophomore has one year of experience, etc.), and the Crimson Tide have a 0.77 score, the lowest in school history.
- Records: Alabama (14-8, 5-4) at Florida (15-7, 6-3)
- Where: Exactech Arena/O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Fla.
- When: 4 p.m. ET Saturday.
What’s the best way to keep up with the game
Fans have numerous options:
Live stats: rolltide.com
Twitter updates: @AlabamaMBB
Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (analyst) and Allison Williams (sideline) will have the television broadcast, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) on radio.
What you should know
• The Gators have lost their last two SEC games, against South Carolina and at Georgia, but in between crushed Baylor in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, 81-60.
• Florida has dominated the series of late, having won 12 of the last 13 games in the series, and 23 of the last 27. The Gators won the only meeting last year, 80-67, but the Crimson Tide snapped the lengthy 11-game losing streak in 2006 with a 61-55 victory in Gainesville. Despite that, most of the games have been close, with 14 of the last 18 decided by 10 points or less.
• Senior point guard Chris Chiozza leads the Gators be averaging 14.5 points,4.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists over the last four games. He’s had just one turnover in each of the last five games.
• Backup guard/forward Jalen Hudson tops Florida in scoring with 16.2 points and 57 3s, but went just 3-for-14 at Georgia to snap an eight-game streak of reaching double figures. Graduate transfer Egor Koulechov averages 14.5 points and 7.2 rebounds, and junior guard KeVaughn Allen 11.3 points per game.
• Alabama is 3-1 against AP Top-25 team this season.
• Although junior forward Donta Hall had wrist surgery a couple of weeks ago, he leads the team with 44 dunks, which is more than three SEC teams. Alabama tops the league with 103. Hall would lead the nation in field goal percentage (.725, 95-of-131) if he averaged more field goals per game. He’s at 4.5 and the minimum requirement for the statistical category is 5.0.
• Alabama will visit Mississippi State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET (SEC Network).