December 3, 2017 / 10:02 PM / 13 days ago

Preview: Central Florida at Alabama

High-scoring Alabama looks to keep rolling when it hosts Central Florida on Sunday afternoon. The Crimson Tide are off to their best start since 2012-13, winning six of seven out of the gate, and can open 7-1 for the first time since 2011-12.

Alabama has scored at least 82 points in four of the first seven games, one more than the number of times reaching 82 all of last season. The Crimson Tide are shooting 51.6 percent from the field while averaging 83 points. They will face a Knights’ team that made its mark defensively last season while giving up 62.1 points per game, which has carried over to this season as UCF allows 65.4. The Knights are holding opponents to 37.5 percent shooting overall.

TV: 2 p.m. ET, ESPNU

ABOUT CENTRAL FLORIDA (4-3): Without injured starting point guard B.J. Taylor, the Knights have struggled offensively. UCF, which made the NIT semifinals in 2016-17, has lost three consecutive contests after starting the season on a four-game winning streak and were held under 60 points in each of the three losses. The return of 7-6 center Tacko Fall (11.0 points, seven rebounds per contest), who missed the first two games with a hip injury, has not been enough to boost the Knights offensively.

ABOUT ALABAMA (6-1): Freshman Collin Sexton heads an impressive Crimson Tide offense with four players averaging double digits, including Donta Hall (10.6), Dazon Ingram (12.6) and John Petty (12.3). Sexton leads the way at 24.7 points per game for Alabama, which ranks second in the nation among freshmen in power five schools and he set a school record for first-year players with 40 points in a loss to Minnesota on Nov. 25. Sexton is also shooting 50.5 percent from the floor, 48 percent from 3-point range and leads the Crimson Tide with 25 assists.

TIP-INS

1. This is the first meeting between the schools since UCF became a Division I program. The teams have met three times prior, with the last meeting coming on Dec. 19, 1994.

2. UCF is averaging 17 turnovers per game, compared to 9.3 assists.

3. Alabama freshmen account for 55.9 percent of the Crimson Tide scoring and 49.3 percent of all rebounds.

PREDICTION: Alabama 81, UCF 71

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