The Flames hit the road for the first of 6 straight games away from the Vines Center Tuesday night against Alabama. The game will be played in Huntsville, Alabama on a neutral court as part of the Rocket City Classic. Tip-off is scheduled for 8pm. This will be the first ever meeting between the two programs. The game will be televised on SEC Network plus.
The Crimson Tide are coached by Avery Johnson and are coming off the program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2006 behind standout freshman Collin Sexton. The Tide are 6-3 so far this season in what has been a mixed bag of results thus far.
“We’ve looked solid in wins over Wichita State and Arizona, and looked like a steaming pile of garbage in losses to Northeastern and Georgia State,” according to DJC at BamaHoops who we spoke with to help preview the game.
“We have a much more experienced team than last year, and overall have good length, size, and depth,” DJC continued. “Our best player is a 17 year old point guard named Kira Lewis who re-classified to be a part of this class. Most expected him to struggle as he adapts to the college game in a season when he should be playing high school ball, but he’s started from day one and is averaging 15.4 PPG. He’s fearless, quick, has a smooth shot that he can make from anywhere on the floor, and makes good decisions getting his teammates involved.”
Another player to watch out for is Alex Reese, a stretch 4 sophomore. He’s shooting over 38% from 3 point range, but he can also score and rebound from the post. Donta Hall is a veteran big man who can defend the rim and control the boards. Herbert Jones is a lock-down defender who can play multiple positions.
‘Bama barely escaped Mercer in the Rocket City Classic a season ago, as the Bears missed a potential game winning shot at the buzzer. The Von Braun Center is also home to a minor league hockey team, and there have been issues with slick spots on the floor due to the underlying ice in previous games played there.
“Alabama is good,” Coach McKay said. “Obviously, we will need a great effort in order to go into Huntsville and compete. Avery does a great job with his team. They’ve got an experienced staff and experienced team except at the point guard. They rebound the ball as well as anyone I’ve watched live or on tape this year. They are terrific on the glass. They do a lot of things well. They give us some problems with different matchups. Hopefully, we can keep it close and see if we can hang around.”