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Courtside Players Club

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Courtside Players Club (12/4/23)

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(1 Pick)

8:00PM EST: Alabama -24.5 (3 Units)

Rolllllll Tide Roll. This is a meeting of Mentor and Mentee. Arkansas State Head Coach Bryan Hodgson was a longtime assistant of Alabama Head Coach Nate Oats. Unsurprisingly they both play very similar basketball. They like to play fast and attack in transition. Arkansas State is just outgunned and going to play right into Alabama's hands.

The Crimson Tide have played 4 games against mediocre opponents and have covered every time. Beating Morehead State by 32, Indiana State by 22, South Alabama by 56, and Mercer by 31. Alabama ranks 2nd in points per game, 14th in FG%, 11th in FT%, and 8th in 3-PT %. They are an incredibly high-powered offense, and they push the pace of every game. They were ranked 24th in the pre-season poll following a 31-6 season and trip to the Sweet 16. They were also the SEC regular season champs and winners of the SEC Tournament. When a team with this much firepower plays an inferior team, it gets ugly.

Both Alabama and Arkansas State average 74.5 possessions per game. When Arkansas State played Wisconsin, they saw 81 and against Iowa 77. Alabama ranks 31st in Adjusted Tempo per Ken Pom Rankings. They also rank 13th overall per Ken Pom while Arkansas State ranks 223rd.

Alabama did just have their 19 Game at Home win streak snapped by Clemson. They shot just 34.3% from the floor that day, easily a season low. Don't get much better of a rebound spot than this. Arkansas State has an opponent effective FG% of 50.1%. They also rank 331st, averaging 21.1 fouls per game. They had 21 against Wisconsin and 30 against Iowa. The Hawkeyes shot 46 Free Throws against them. Alabama is better offensively than both of them, more athletic, and puts a hell of a lot more stress on an opposing defense. Arkansas State also turned it over 17 and 18 times against Iowa and Wisconsin. That will lead to plenty of easy transition baskets.

Just a bad spot to be if you're Arkansas State. Alabama's out to avenge that snapped losing streak and playing their former coach. Hodgson just left Alabama and took over the Red Wolves this year. There actually aren't too many Bama Boys that were here to play under Hodgson, but their best player Mark Sears was. He's off to an incredible start averaging 20.7 points per game while shooting 58.9% from the field and 51.6% from 3.

Nate Oats will have these boys focused to take on his former assistant. We imagine they can't wait to take the floor again anyway following that home loss. Doesn't hurt that it's just a great time to be an Alabama supporter right now either. The Tide just upset Georgia and earned a berth into the CFB playoff. Expect some of those players to attend this game, which will only heighten the environment.

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