Alabama Crimson Tide (7-2) at Arizona Wildcats (6-3)
The Alabama Crimson Tide will head all the way out west to face the Wildcats of Arizona for a true non-conference road game. The Tide are looking to climb back into the top 25 with a big road win. Arizona will attempt to defend their home court and are -9-point favorites. The game total over-under is set at 150 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM PST from the McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona.
The Arizona Wildcats are as talented as any team in the country this year. They feature two lottery pick players in Alonso Trier and Deandre Ayton. Yet, Arizona was the first team in AP Poll history to fall all the way from number two in the rankings to out of the top twenty-five in one week.
This came after a disastrous 0-3 record at the Battle for Atlantis tournament early in the year. It was a shocking development that made us wonder, is Arizona really any good this year?
Since that really bad weekend, the Cats have gotten their act back together and are looking a lot more like the team that we thought they were coming into the season.
Arizona has won its last three games, two of which were against solid competition. They beat a game UNLV team on the road and then beat a very good and top ten ranked Texas A&M team at home in their last game. This proves that Arizona can beat any team in the country this year.
But they can also lose to any team in the country. Just ask SMU and NC State. It is really hard to put a finger on just how good this team is right now. They are wildly talented, we know that for sure, but will head coach Sean Miller get them playing together as a team in time for a deep run in March?
Miller has had several teams stacked with talent over the years and doesn’t have any trip to the Final Four to show for it. Stay tuned to see how this season plays out, but if Miller can’t win with these guys, who can he win with?
Alabama is trying to break the reputation that they are just a football school. They brought in former NBA coach of the year Avery Johnson and he has done a great job bringing in talent to Tuscaloosa.
The Tide were briefly ranked this season and should be right around the top twenty-five all year long. They are loaded with young talent that Johnson has playing hard and they already have a couple of good resume-building wins this season.
Alabama beat a way better than you think Texas-Arlington team, an always competitive BYU team, and a tournament-bound Rhode Island team. To the casual fan none of those wins really pop out at you, but those are all teams that I project to see playing in March, they were good wins.
It feels like it might be a year early for this Alabama team though. Johnson has got loads of talent, but they are young and inexperienced and this team badly needs some upperclassmen leadership.
Johnson is going to take this team to the promise land at some point, I just feel like it might not be until next season or beyond.
This game should be a great one to watch. It is chalked full of talent and athleticism on both sides of the ball for both squads. I expect a hard-fought game where every possession matters.
I think the Wildcats are starting to finally form the team they should be and are too good to lose this game at home. But, and there is always a but, -9 points is too much for this game.
Over Arizona’s last six games they are 3-3. In those three wins, two of them were by just three points. This team isn’t playing well enough right now to blow out a solid team.
I see the first half being competitive, and then Arizona will open up a lead and ride it out for the win. But the game will be competitive, and for that reason, I must snatch up the 9 points and back the road team.
Give me the Alabama Crimson Tide and the points tonight from Tucson!