By: Zach Gaines
–TUSCALOOSA, Ala. After arguably their worst performance of the season, Alabama (14-9, 4-6 SEC) hopes to bounce back in against Ole Miss at 7:30 P.M. in Sandy and John Black Pavilion.
Coming off their hardest three-game stretch in recent memory the Crimson Tide are in desperate need of a confidence boost, and a win against the Rebels can be that boost.
The Rebels (12-11, 3-7 SEC) currently stand thirteenth in the SEC ahead of Georgia and behind Missouri, who both defeated Alabama at home this season. But even though Ole Miss is ranked lower, Coach Nate Oats knows this won’t be a cakewalk.
“We’ve lost three straight SEC games. We’ve got to get back on track towards a higher seed in the SEC Tournament. There’s a lot of questions to be answered. Ole Miss is a good team. They’ve beaten good teams,” said Oats on Tuesday.
Alabama over the course of this season is 1-5 on the road this year, with their only win being against Florida back in early January. If Alabama wants to think about making a run in March, it’s imperative that they start winning on the road, and it all starts with Ole Miss.
In order to beat the Rebels, the Crimson Tide will have to find more ways to score than just behind the arc. Alabama has attempted the 9th most 3-pointers per game in Division I and rank just 321st in making those shots. And if that stat wasn’t enough for you, Ole Miss ranks No. 29 in the country in Three-Point Field Goal defense, allowing 29.7 percent from beyond the arc.
As the Kentucky game showed many Alabama fans this past Saturday, the Tide can’t rely on the three-ball as much as last season. After the recent struggles from behind the arc, the 3 of 30 performance versus Kentucky being a prime example; Oats needs to find a balance within his offense where they don’t live and die by the three.
Hopefully the Crimson Tide can gain much needed momentum with a win in Oxford.