Alabama faces a tough challenge at Vanderbilt

The show must go on, even though it will be in the most difficult of emotional circumstances for Alabama’s basketball team. With teammate Darius Miles, who was arrested Sunday and charged with capital murder, the Crimson Tide met Monday morning to address the dire situation and then attended an afternoon practice session before heading to Nashville.

Alabama (15-2 overall and 5-0 in the Southeastern Conference game and fourth in the nation) takes on the Vanderbilt Commodores (9-8, 2-2) Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. CST (SEC Network on TV) in the Memorial Gym at ).

Despite Bama winning three straight games against the Commodores in Nashville, Vandy has had a significant home court advantage in the past, including a 44-24 advantage over Tide on his home court. Alabama’s all-time record against Vanderbilt is a slim 74-71 lead.

The Tide pulled off a 106-66 win over LSU as Bama had his five season-opening SEC wins all in double figures, for an average goal margin of plus 22.8 points per game.

Vanderbilt will face his fourth straight ranked opponent. The Commodores pull off an impressive 97-84 win over Arkansas at Memorial Gym after losses in Missouri (82-85) and Tennessee (68-77). Vandy is 7-3 in home games. In addition to Arkansas, the Commodores also defeated South Carolina (85-82) in Nashville.

The Commodores have three players — all transfers — who have scored 1,000 points or more in their NCAA careers — Liam Robbins, Ezra Manjon and Emmanuel Ansong.

Alabama is led by 6-9 forward Brandon Miller, who is coming off a 31-point appearance against LSU and SEC Freshman of the Week for the fifth time this year. He averages 19.5 points per game (the most of any freshman in the nation) and 8.2 rebounds per game.

He will be joined in the starting lineup by 6-1 junior guard Mark Sears (15.2 ppg, including double-digit goals in 10 of their last 11 games, 4.0 rpg, 2.7 assists), 6-3 freshman guard Jaden Bradley (8, 5 ppg, team-best 3.8 assists), 6-10 freshman forward Noah Clowney (9.6 ppg, team lead 8.3 rpg) and 7-0 center Charles Bediako (5.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1, 9 blocked shots).

Speaking of blocked shots, Vanderbilt’s Robbins averages 2.94 blocks per game, making him the second-highest rebounder among Power Five players nationwide (5.9).

Robbins may or may not start, having been the starter in just seven games this year, none in SEC games, but he scored 14 points off the bench in Vandy’s win over Arkansas.

The most common starters for the Commodores are 6-7 junior forward Myles Shute (10.4 ppg and SEC’s leading three-point shooter for accuracy, 42.6 percent, and top VU rebounder in SEC games at 7, 3 per game), the 6-4 junior guard Tyrin Lawrence (10.4 ppg), 6-10 senior forward Quentin Millora-Brown (5.2 ppg), 6-0 junior guard Trey Thomas 6.1 ppg) and 6-8 freshman forward and Colin Smith 4.6 ppg). Alongside Robbins, 6-6 forward senior guard Jordan Wright (9.4 ppg) and 6-0 senior guard Ezra Manjon (8.4 ppg and the team’s best 3.1 assists) are seeing good minutes.

Alabama averages 84.4 ppg, allows 69.5, a plus 14.9 margin. Vanderbilt has a 72.9 average, giving up 69.5, a 3.4 advantage. Bama pulls down 45.9 rebounds per game, opponents 37.8 plus 8.1. Vandy has an average of 37.9, gives up 33.9 plus 4. The Tide has an advantage on assists (15.2-12.4), blocked shots (5.7-5.3) and steals (6.2-4.9), the Commodores on turnovers (12.2-15 ,2).

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