Alabama Basketball On The Road At South Carolina

Alabama Basketball travels to Columbia to face the SEC’s No. 1 team, the South Carolina Gamecocks.

After two disappointing losses, Alabama Basketball faces the toughest week of the 2016-2017 season. Tuesday night at South Carolina and back at home Saturday to take on Kentucky. No doubt the players welcome the opportunity to play against the two best teams in the SEC. Not too many fans can find these two games affording opportunity for anything but two more losses.

In Frank Martin’s fifth season, he has the Gamecocks playing their best roundball in many years. South Carolina cannot match the Kentucky Wildcats in talent. Not many teams in the nation can.  South Carolina has four losses on the season, but only one in 2017 and that one was in Lexington.

Despite losing to the Cats, the Gamecocks are 9-1 and No. 1 in the SEC. Frank  Martin is arguably the best coach in the SEC for getting the most out of his players.  Martin coaches his teams to play tenacious defense. The results stifle any debate. South Carolina is the best defensive team in the SEC and No. 8 in Scoring Defense in the nation.

Given Alabama’s ongoing struggles to score, particularly in half-court sets, it could be a long night for the Tide. South Carolina only gives up an average of 61.5 points per game. Carolina’s weakness, like Alabama, is shooting. They are only hitting 42.6 percent of their shots, 12th in the SEC. Alabama is 13th in the SEC at 42.3 percent.

Alabama will have the statistical edge in rebounding. South Carolina has the statistical edge in free throw percentage and three-point shooting.

How Can the Tide Win?

Alabama must win the rebounding, free throw shooting, and turnover battles to pull off an upset.

Alabama must match South Carolina’s intensity with tough, smart defense.

An alternative would be to scorch the nets from outside the arc, but that is the least probable scenario for success.

Coach Avery Johnson and the Alabama staff will need a masterful game plan against the Gamecocks.

This article originally appeared on