Alabama is once again on the cusp of rewriting more history.
After tying the program record for most wins in a regular season, the Crimson Tide is looking to break that mark on Saturday afternoon. To do so it’ll have to down a Missouri who defeated Tennessee by eight points less than 24 hours ago. While Alabama is looking to punch its ticket to the SEC Championship final, a win over the Tigers would mark the first time it has defeated Missouri twice in one season since 2016-17.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game.
How to watch
Who: No. 2 Alabama (27-5) vs. Missouri (22-11)
When: Noon CT, Saturday, March 11
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Watch: ESPN (play-by-play: Karl Ravech; analyst: Jimmy Dykes; sideline: Marty Smith)
Listen: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink; engineer Tom Stipe)
Alabama’s projected starters
Jahvon Quinerly: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, senior
Stats: 7.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.7 apg, 39.2% FG, 34.3% 3-pt
Mark Sears: 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, junior
Stats: 13.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 42.7% FG, 37.7% 3-pt
Brandon Miller: 6-foot-9, 200 pounds, freshman
Stats: 19.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 45.3% FG, 40.4% 3-pt
Noah Clowney: 6-foot-10, 210 pounds, freshman
Stats: 10.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 0.9 apg, 48.8% FG, 26.5% 3-pt
Charles Bediako: 7-foot, 225 pounds, sophomore
Stats: 5.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.6 apg, 63.2% FG
Missouri’s projected starting lineup
Nick Honor: 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, senior
Stats: 8.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 3.0 apg, 41.9% FG, 40.5% 3-pt
D’Moi Hodge: 6-foot-4, 188 pounds, senior
Stats: 14.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 46.9% FG, 39.6% 3-pt
DeAndre Gholston: 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, senior
Stats: 10.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.8 apg, 43.4% FG, 33.7% 3-pt
Mohamed Diarra: 6-foot-10, 215 pounds, junior
Stats: 3.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.6 apg, 45.3% FG, 30.8% 3-pt
Kobe Brown: 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, senior
Stats: 16.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 55.8% FG, 45.5% 3-pt
Gurley continues his grind
There’s something to be said about a player who continues to stay ready even when he isn’t getting the playing time.
Noah Gurley has done that all season long for Alabama, averaging 14.8 minutes per game but in SEC play he’s gone past that average just four times. Lately, the senior has seen his playing time dwindle even further playing 10 minutes or less in six of the last seven games.
Regardless, Gurley remained committed to the team, just biding his time. On Friday, he was rewarded, scoring 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting in 21 minutes.
“We talked about his leadership all year, I think you see it,” Oats said. “For a guy to have some DNPs late in the year for a fifth-year senior that was a big contributor, started a lot of games last year, to come in and have himself mentally ready to go.
“This is a team that plays big. Cam Matthews is more traditional four man. We decided to go bigger with Gurley at the four more often. Had great practices, he was ready to go. I think he embodies our team, to be honest with you. Unbelievable culture of guys just caring about their teammates. He’s continued to lead, never pouted. We needed him today.”
While his contributions were needed, Gurley was 3-for-4 from behind the arc which boosted the team’s 3-point shooting percentage to over 35%. He also had a 92 effective field goal percentage which was second on the team behind Dom Welch who went 1-for-1 before suffering a tailbone injury.
“He just stayed with it, led the team as a leader, stayed in the gym, worked his tail off,” Oats said. “I mean, I was in the training room two days ago. He came in, full-out sweat, probably three, four hours after practice was over. I said, ‘What have you been doing?’ He was drenched. He said, ‘I just got done with a shooting workout.’ This is a kid that never dropped his head, never pouted. A real high-character kid. All of our kids are high-character kids. But he’s at the top, and I’m really happy for him.”
A rematch with Kobe Brown
Saturday’s rematch means a second meeting with Huntsville Alabama native Kobe Brown.
The 6-foot-8 senior has led Missouri all season averaging a team-high 16.2 points per game and adding 6.3 rebounds per game. Alabama didn’t get a chance to face Brown during the regular season as he was dealing with an ankle injury. Since his return to the floor, however, he’s scored in double digits in all but three games which included a 24-point performance against Tennessee on Friday.
“I wasn’t here when he was getting recruited out of high school, so I’m not taking any responsibility for not recruiting him,” Oats said in January. “Maybe you can put that out there so he doesn’t take it out on me. I would love to have him on this team. You can tell how good he is.
“He shoots the 3-pointer well, he’s big and strong and when he gets to the rim he finishes. He’s really one of those matchup guys. He’s gotten better every year like he’s shooting the ball better than when he came in. He doesn’t have many holes in his game.”
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