Hot Alabama basketball ready for ‘first real test’ next week

Hot Alabama basketball ready for ‘first real test’ next week
Written by nismiste
Hot Alabama basketball ready for ‘first real test’ next week

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – After eating their early season appetizers, the #18 Alabama basketball is ready for the main course of the non-conference roster.

The Crimson Tide beat Jacksonville State 104-62 on Friday night to move up to 4-0 on the season. The Gamecocks suffered the same fate as their predecessors Longwood, Liberty, and South Alabama, bullied by their length on the boards who couldn’t control Alabama’s athleticism. The Crimson Tide also set the season’s record with 21 3-pointers and 23 assists, the most dominant performance of the season.

“It was a flow for everybody,” Alabama guard Nimari Burnett said after the game. “When the first one fell, everyone started pouring. It was just a fun night.”

It’s been a fun season for Alabama so far, too.

All four of the Crimson Tide’s wins were in double digits, beating their opponents by an average of 84.75 to 57.5. That’s encouraging, but next week should offer more of a litmus test of where the team stands.

Portland, Ore, Alabama to attend the Phil Knight Invitational next week. The Crimson Tide will open the tournament on Thanksgiving against the Michigan State team that knocked out Number 4 Kentucky this week. Other teams participating in the invitation include No. 1 North Carolina, No. It includes 25 UConn, Villanova, Oregon, Iowa State, and Portland.

“This will be our first real test against a high major,” said Alabama head coach Nate Oats. “Michigan State has done some real testing. They’ve already played some tough teams. It’s our first time playing a high major, so we have to be really ready. We have to have a great week in practice and be ready to hit the road on Thursday.”

Alabama started last season 4-0 before losing their first defeat to Iona in the first game of the ESPN Events Invitational. During that game, the Crimson Tide provided just seven assists and struggled to make adjustments on the offensive side.

For four games, Alabama doesn’t look like a team ready to experience similar breakdowns next week. Despite reshaping their roster with eight scholarship newcomers in this sea, the Crimson Tide looked like a team that had played together for years in its Friday night win.

“I feel like our bond is everything,” said Brandon Miller, the season-high 28-point forward on Friday night. “We’re in the gym together. We’re out of the gym together. It makes things even better and more fun on the court.”

The winner of Thursday’s game between Alabama and Michigan State will play the winner of the game between UConn and Oregon. The losers of both matches will play in the consolation bracket. Each team in the tournament is guaranteed to play three matches over the weekend.

Alabama and the State of Michigan will mobilize at Portland’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Thursday at 9:30 pm CT. The match will be broadcast on ESPN.

“We’re very excited to be playing with one of the best defensive teams in the country,” said Marks Sears. “We’re rebounding at a high rate and seeing our offense play well as we did today, I think we finished the tournament on a good note.”

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