College Basketball Game of the Week: Alabama vs. Houston
The No. 9 Alabama Crimson Tide return home to face off against the No. 14 Houston Cougars on Saturday at 10 p.m. on ESPN2. These two teams are fighting their way up the rankings and are starting to put together their resumé, a win in this game would be a nice piece to that.
In Alabama’s game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs, that was an opportunity for the Crimson Tide to grow. They were able to grow alright but in an impressive win. Houston on the other hand has flexed its muscles against opponents scoring almost 100 points or more in two of its past three games.
Alabama comes off an impressive 91-82 win over the Gonzaga Bulldogs after its three guards had big nights. The team’s lead point scorer junior Jaden Shackelford dropped 28 points against one of the nation’s top teams while freshman JD Davison was 4-for-6 from 3-point range and ended with 20 points, both earning SEC honors this week.
Let’s not forget junior Javon Quinerly who averages 14.9 points a game and has only come up short of his points average three times this year. This team is difficult to cover outside of the paint with so much talent in the backcourt.
Not only does this team have good play at the guard position, but freshman center Charles Bediako who is the enforcer of the paint and stands at seven feet tall, blocked six shots and makes it difficult for opponents to score in the paint.
Houston has a handful in their frontcourt as well, Marcus Sasser leads this squad averaging 18 points per game alongside Kyler Edwards and Jamal Shead who are playmakers for this team. The team succeeds with its depth as guys like sophomore Tramon Mark can come off the bench and make a big impact in games.
While this team can score a lot of points, the margin of points they win comes down to how many points they give up per game. The Cougars are second in the nation in defensive scoring as they give up only 54.3 points on average.
Teams struggle to score as Houston’s opponents shoot 35.6% from the field and the Cougars have 99 steals on the year with Sasser leading the pack with 23.
The size this team has and its ability to get teams to force mistakes is how the team pulls away in so many games. Houston averages over 30 points a game off turnovers, making teams lose much more than a possession when they cough up the ball.
The most impressive thing about Alabama’s win over Gonzaga is it committed 24 personal fouls and still won by nine points. Houston has beaten the No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers and the 2019 National Champion Virginia Cavaliers this year and has proved it can win against big teams as well.
Will the Cougars be able to stop the Alabama front court? The Houston defense hasn’t seen a guy like Shackelford, and Alabama's front court will best Houston’s.
Game Score: Alabama 83, Houston 79
Matthew Gelhard is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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