Location: Coleman Coliseum (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Date: Friday, November 20
Time: 8:00 pm
Preview: The Friars (3-0) will head down south to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for an out of conference match-up with The University of Alabama Crimson Tide (1-1) on Friday. This will be the first road trip for the young team, which should play a big role in the game. Alabama is coming off of a win over Jackson State, but lost their first game of the season to Cornell… at home. Alabama is a young team and is picked to finish fourth in the SEC West. They are led by sophomore forward JaMychal Green. He was a double digit scorer as a freshman and is and is strong on the boards. Alabama also has a talented freshman in Tony Mitchell. He is a slashing wing who can finish above the rim and make plays on both ends of the floor. Besides that the Crimson Tide are an unknown. New coach, Anthony Grant looks to stabilize his young team and transition them out of the troubles they had last year.
Lowdown: Historically PC has had its troubles when it comes to road games. The new bunch, although, mostly freshman, need to shake this and a win in Tuscaloosa would be a great start. Following their loss to Cornell only a crowd of about 2,000 (in the 15,000 seat Coleman Coliseum) showed up for their Jackson State game. Granted this was a weeknight and a weak out of conference game, but with a football game early Saturday, we wouldn’t be surprised if the turnout wasn’t great again, which of course would help the Friars.
Alabama looks like they have some players. Green looks solid, and Tony Mitchell had a coming out party against Jackson State. But they don’t look like anything that PC can’t handle. The bigs need to play well, especially Bilal on Green. Bilal needs to shutdown Green on the boards and stay out of foul trouble. He fouled out early against Mercer and there was a noticeable difference in the post presence. The other key factor for the Friars is the play of Marshon. Kevin McNamara blogged today that Marshon is day to day. We saw him today walking around, and he looked alright, but clearly there is a big difference between walking and playing basketball. We saw what happened in the Mercer game after he hurt his ankle so for the sake of our offense we pray that he’ll be on the floor in game condition Friday night when the ball tips.
At home we would take the Friars without question, but this is a long way to go for a team that hasn’t had a road game yet, so we think it will be a fight… But a fight that PC can win. If we have a healthy Marshon and an inspired Sharaud, avoid the mistakes made during the Mercer game, and make free throws this could be a big road win. Although Alabama is not a powerhouse basketball team it is a recognizable name, and wins over recognizable teams on the road can go a long way in building the confidence of a very young team.
Coverage: Radio- WEEI 103.7 FM Providence
Up next, the Friars from Providence will come to Tuscaloosa Friday night for a 7 pm tip. They are undefeated and come from arguably the nation’s best conference in the Big East. We have a history with Providence, as they eliminated one of Wimp Sanderson’s better teams in the Sweet 16. Billy Donovan played on that team, against Mark Gottfried. This is a winnable game for us, as Mercer played them within 2, but it will not be a cake walk. There is no reason why we shouldn’t have a big crowd Friday night. The football team has an early game on Saturday, so go ahead and get to Tuscaloosa the night before and support our young basketball team!