Three predictions for Alabama-Vanderbilt

(Photo: Troy Taormira, USA TODAY Sports)

Three predictions for fourth-seeded Alabama (15-2, 5-0 SEC) in his matchup with Vanderbilt (9-8, 2-2) Tuesday night at Memorial Gymnasium (7:30 p.m. CT/SEC Network).

Scotty Pippen Jr. won’t shoot 21 free throws – but both teams will shoot many

Rest up, Bama fans. With Pippen playing a two-way deal with the Los Angeles Lakers these days, your team probably won’t endure anything like the combined 39(!) free throws he got in two games against UA a season ago.

In a string of games with the Commodores in 2022, Alabama was penalized for 55 fouls, culminating in a whopping 81 trips to the Stripe for Vandy. Of the Dores’ 164 points in those competitions, 58 came from the free-throw line. Pippen’s 29 brands made up exactly half of that.

Meanwhile, a team from Alabama, not known for their ball power, managed 59 free throws in those same games. On a night when it did its best to upset a double-digit lead, a 22 out of 25 performance from the line – highlighted by some clutch marks Jahvon Quinerly — has come a long way in the Crimson Tide to earn a 74-72 win at Memorial High School.

A year later, Alabama has expanded its presence on the Strip, averaging 29.1 free throw attempts per game (up from 20.6 apg a year ago). Vanderbilt averages 18.2 attempts per match, Jerry StapelhausThe newest team from didn’t exactly live by the line. Still, the Commodores pulled off a 97-84 win over Arkansas in which they converted 29 of 36 free throw attempts, including 21 of 23 in the second half.

Given these numbers, there is no question that these teams will achieve the bonus with the remaining time. It’s more a question of how early the free throw shooting competition (and my weekly request that men’s baskets be switched from halves to quarters) will start.

If a team has a 50-point half in the game, it’s Alabama

Speaking of high-scoring affairs, the Commodores finished their aforementioned win over Arkansas with a 63-point second half. That followed the 59 points that UA bet LSU 106-66 earlier in the day.

In the SEC game, Alabama averages 86 points per game. The Crimson Tide’s lead to winning five league competitions without a loss is 22.8 points. With four players averaging double-digit points, the Commodores have upped the pace in SEC play. In their four league games to date, they have scored 82 or more points three times.

Vanderbilt isn’t likely to win a game going into the ’80s. More so than the SEC teams Alabama faced to start conference play, a club playing with confidence at their home level should be able to maintain contact with the lead if the pace suits UA better.

If ever there was a time for a two-game road trip, this probably is

And that’s not to downplay the tragedy that happened over the weekend. first of all, Jamesa Jonae Harris Losing her life to the senseless act that unfolded in the early hours of Sunday morning should chill anyone with a pulse to the core.

At a very secondary level, games have yet to be played for a UA team that has performed on a level all their own. The kind of closed ranks that come with the team dynamic means there’s no way, home or away, to fully escape the discomfort this group is undoubtedly experiencing.

As such, trips to Nashville and CoMo this week will not provide a complete escape from the reality of a situation still unfolding at home. However, coping with the psychological fallout of a terrible turn of events could make this team’s cohesion even stronger on the road.

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Contact Travis Reier via personal message or on Twitter (@travisreier).

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