It’s NCAA eve in Greensboro and the action heats up today. Check back for updates from the arena at this afternoon’s open practice. Until then, read today’s print story.
TUSCALOOSA—When you have the 240th-ranked scoring offense in the country, progress isn’t easily identified.
Points haven’t come in bunches for Alabama this season, but its defense filled the gaps and powered the Crimson Tide into its first NCAA Tournament in six years. Keeping pace with one of the nation’s best offenses Friday’s round game creates a new challenge for coach Anthony Grant’s group.
Creighton (28-5) scores 80 points a game while Alabama’s managing 64.9 a night. In the past five games, that number dipped to 59.5. Still, the Tide’s leading scorer feels better about the offense now that he did a few weeks ago.
“I think we’re finally getting it together,” senior JaMychal Green said. “Coach Grant just put in a couple new plays that fits us and it’s a better fit for our offense. I think the freshmen, they have confidence in themselves shooting the ball, and once they knock down a couple shots, it will be a good game. I think we’ll be hard to guard.”
Alabama (21-11) actually saw its shooting numbers improve as scoring production dropped. It shot above the season average of 45.2 percent in four of last six games and was more than eight percentage points better in the SEC quarterfinal loss to Florida.
Attempting fewer 3-pointers helped the success rate. One of the nation’s worst perimeter shooting teams, Alabama makes 28.5 percent of its 3s compared to Creighton’s 42.5 3-point percentage. The Tide made 32.1 percent of its 3s in the past five games while attempting an average of three fewer than it has all season.
Freshman Trevor Lacey hit a big 3-pointer in the closing minute of Alabama’s SEC first-round win over South Carolina. And Levi Randolph beat the first-half buzzer against Florida from behind the arc.
So Green knows it’s possible for Alabama to catch a heater in Greensboro.
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