By: Zach Gaines
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – After bouncing back following a rough week and a half, Alabama looks to keep the momentum riding from Oxford. This Saturday at 11 A.M. inside Coleman Coliseium, The Crimson Tide will take on Arkansas, another prominent growing program in the SEC, in a critical conference matchup.
Entering this matchup, the Razorbacks are coming off of one of their biggest wins in program history, defeating No.1 Auburn 80-76 in an overtime thriller for the ages. Arkansas is also arguably one of the hottest teams in the country winning their last nine consecutive games, making this matchup no easy feat for the Crimson Tide.
Nate Oats commented Friday morning regarding the importance of Saturday’s game:
“It’s a huge game for us. We’ve got the hottest team in the SEC at home. Coach Musselman has these guys playing the right way. They’re a good team. We gotta really take care of home court advantage. Hopefully the coffee and doughnuts will get them out here.”
Taking care of home court is one of the best qualities of this Alabama team. Inside of Coleman the Crimson Tide stand 10-2 with losses to Auburn and Kentucky, who are both ranked inside the top 10.
The Razorbacks seem to fall into the same trend as the recent Alabama opponents, joining them in also being a Top 25 team in defensive efficiency according to KenPom. To go along with a stifling defense, the Tide will have to keep checks on Arkansas JD Notae, the SEC’s leading scorer, and Jaylin Williams, who both turned in great performances in the win versus Auburn.
If Alabama turns in another lights out performance shooting the ball, it will be extremely hard for the Razorbacks to stop the Tide. The Crimson Tide just has to remain confident in their shot and trust themselves. Even the players know what they are capable of:
“We know what we’re capable of. You can only struggle for so long. It was nothing we were surprised of. We just gotta keep shooting with confidence,” Keon Ellis said Friday morning.
Alabama owns a 21-8 record versus Arkansas in Tuscaloosa since joining the SEC, with Arkansas winning 8 of the last 10 matchups. If the same, confident, Alabama team from Oxford shows up it’s going to be a tough day in the office for Eric Musselman and the Razorbacks.