Alabama at Rhode Island
When: 6:30 pm. CT, Friday
Where: Ryan Center, Kingston, R.I.
Records: Alabama 1-1, Rhode Island 1-1
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: 95.3 FM
The University of Alabama basketball team will have its first road test of the 2019-2020 season Friday night against an opponent that will look to hammer the Crimson Tide on the backboards.
Alabama will face Rhode Island, which is also 1-1 through two games. The Rams, under second-year head coach David Cox, play at a slower tempo than Nate Oats’ Crimson Tide but rely on 6-foot-8, 240-pound Cyril Langevine to clean up any lingering mess.
Through two games, Langevine is averaging 11 points and 16 rebounds per game, with a total of 17 offensive rebounds. Alabama, meanwhile, is thin on the inside despite a strong 19-point, nine-rebound performance by Javian Davis is a Monday night win over Florida Atlantic.
“We recruited Cyril at Buffalo a little bit, but he went to Rhode Island,” Oats said. “He’s averaging eight and a half offensive rebounds a game. That’s crazy. We’re going to have to put a body on him. He’s going to get some rebounds but we can’t let him get eight or nine offensive rebounds like he’s done in their first two games.”
Alabama, meanwhile, continues to list its top defender, Herb Jones, as a game-time decision with a hyperextended elbow. Jones did not play in Monday against FAU.
“Herb looked fairly decent in the skill stuff (at practice) today,” Oats said. “He’s a tough kid but we don’t want to get him hurt any more for down the road. We really need him healthy a few weeks from now.”
Oats also stressed the value of a true road win on Alabama’s overall resume.
“It would be huge,” Oats said. “We’ve talked about it. The A-10 (Atlantic 10 Conference) has looked really good. VCU beat LSU, Saint Joe’s beat UConn. The A-10’s going to be back to where they have maybe three or four NCAA Tournament team. Rhode Island … will be one of those teams in the hunt for that. If we could get a road win against an NCAA Tournament team, I think this is huge (for) March, and we addressed that with the team.”
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or via Twitter @cecilhurt