Alabama Basketball Faces Tough Road Test at Florida
Coming off a massive win to start SEC play at Coleman Coliseum last week against a somewhat depleted Tennessee, things don't get much easier for the Crimson Tide tomorrow night with a difficult road test in Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators.
Despite not playing their best game offensively, Alabama was able to come away with a victory against a talented Volunteers team that plays absolutely suffocating defense. Florida, a phenomenal defensive team themselves, will attempt to slow down the Tide on offense as well.
Coach Nate Oats addressed exactly this in his media availability to preview the matchup, saying, "We've got to do a better job taking care of the ball against Florida's pressure defense. Their offense feeds off their defense. Our defense starts with taking care of the ball. Looking forward to it, Florida's a really good team."
Despite offensive struggles against Tennessee, mostly due to missing open. shots, the focus in practice this week has been more so on the defensive side of things, with Oats knowing the fact that good defense feeds the offense.
"I think we've had a really good week of practice, focusing on the defensive end. We're looking forward to it. Florida's a really good team...The energy has been better. We chart all the same stats in practice as in games. Keon Ellis has been top 2 in blue collar points in practice the last two days. Shackelford has been really good in practice the last couple days," Oats continued.
Alabama will have their hands full with Florida forward Colin Castleton, a near seven footer who is averaging almost 15 points and over nine rebounds per game. When asked specifically about Castleton, Oats mentioned Charles Bediako as someone who needs to step up in order for Alabama to have a chance at stopping him.
Headed into an undoubtedly difficult environment like Florida, somewhere the Crimson Tide surrendered a massive lead in the second half and lost the game just two seasons ago, the team believes that a difficult non-conference schedule in which they have already played in some tough places will work to their benefit.
"The environment (at UF) was pretty good two years ago. We were up 22 at one point. They made the big comeback and the crowd got behind them and in overtime. I think it's good we've played at Memphis and against Gonzaga in Seattle."
The Crimson Tide start their two game road trip at Florida tomorrow night at 6 p.m. CT before heading to Missouri this weekend to take on the Tigers on Saturday.