Alabama at LSU
When: 8 p.m. CT, Tuesday
Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, La.
Records: Alabama 10-3 (1-0 SEC), LSU 10-3 (0-0 SEC)
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 95.3 FM
The University of Alabama’s victory over Kentucky on Saturday was a cause for basketball celebration, carrying over to Monday when the Crimson Tide received seven votes in The Associated Press top 25 poll — not enough for a ranking but an indication that there is some national attention on Alabama in its current five-game winning streak.
The realities of the Southeastern Conference schedule also set in on Monday, though, as the Crimson Tide worked two practice sessions before departing for a Tuesday night road game against LSU in Baton Rouge.
“We got back to work on Sunday and will work twice today,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said on a Monday teleconference. “We had some breakdowns (against Kentucky) in the final four-minute segment of the game — correctable errors, but things we have to work on.”
Ball security would be at the top of that list. Late turnovers nearly turned the Crimson Tide’s win against Kentucky into a last-second collapse. Also, LSU is an aggressive defense led by point guard Tremont Waters, who leads the nation in steals efficiency. Waters had eight steals in LSU’s last game, an 81-69 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Dec. 28.
“You can’t play around with the ball when (Waters) is around. He’ll come at you from anywhere. He can steal it from you off the dribble. He’s great at coming up and knocking the ball loose from behind. He’ll jump into passing lanes. And those turnovers generate easy points for them on the other end. Both he and Skylar Mays will take chances because they’ve got (6-foot-10, 250-pound) Naz Reid protecting the basket.
“It’s something I’d like to us do more of defensively, because we feel Donta (Hall) is an excellent shot blocker and that would be a way to turn up our transition game.”
LSU is a young team, using four freshmen in its primary seven-man rotation, but has “outstanding, outstanding” talent, Johnson said.
Waters leads the team in scoring at 12.5 points per game and appears to be coming out of an early-season 3-point shooting slump. For Alabama, Hall has carried an increased load in the Crimson Tide’s five-game winning streak, averaging 14.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in that span.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.