The University of Alabama men’s basketball team will look to bounce back from its second loss of the season — one that looked disturbingly familiar in some ways — as it hosts the Furman Paladins on Tuesday.
Like Penn and Rhode Island, Furman lacks the Power 5 name but brings a strong team into Coleman Coliseum. The Paladins are 4-0 this season and 52-18 under Bob Richey, now in his third year as head coach. They are good enough not to need the kind of help that Alabama gave to Rhode Island last Friday when the Crimson Tide turned the ball over 22 times resulting in 33 Rhode Island points.
“We like to play fast, so we’re playing fast,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said at an open practice on Sunday. “Our skill level’s probably not where it needs to be. It’s also only their third game in this system. They’ve got to get used to it. Definitely, we’re not used to playing at this speed here before.
“We’re one of the worst teams right now in the country at turning the ball over. We’ve got to get more guys used to handling the ball, more guys used to playing downhill, more guys used to playing in an attacking mode and making those reads … I certainly don’t want to walk in blaming them. They’re the ones on the floor, but we’ve given them a new system to run. They’ve got to learn it. So, I’ve got to take as much ownership as I possibly can.”
Alabama has also been short-handed due to injuries and a questionable NCAA eligibility ruling on transfer Jahvon Quinerly. That may continue to be the case on Tuesday night as guard Beetle Bolden is “a game-time decision” with a lingering shoulder issue.
Making it official?
Alabama has not received the paperwork on four-star forward Keon Ambrose, who committed on Sunday but expects to receive his signature and make an official comment on Tuesday.
Ambrose is a 6-8 forward from Toronto who is ranked the No. 99 prospect in the country by Rivals.com.
Speaking generally about recruiting, Oats said he was “excited” to have filled the one scholarship Alabama had available for November.
He also said it was “a little disappointing but not unexpected” that the Crimson Tide missed on two five-star prospects, guard Nimari Burnett (who signed with Texas Tech) and post player Isaiah Jackson (who signed with Kentucky.)
“The people we were going against, it’d hard to win some of those,” Oats said. “We’ve got one senior (Bolden) and there might be one transfer, too, so we said if we got one early, that was going to be good. We’re going to continue to recruit a lot of guys who will sign late.”
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or via Twitter @cecilhurt
Furman at Alabama
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Coleman Coliseum
Records: Alabama 1-2, Furman 4-0
TV: SEC Network Plus
Radio: 95.3 FM