After a neutral-site win without their highly-touted freshman, No. 25 Alabama goes home and inches closer to full strength when it hosts Lipscomb on Tuesday. The Crimson Tide will have freshman guard Collin Sexton, who served a one-game suspension levied by the NCAA, when they aim to win their eighth straight home opener.
Even without Sexton and two other potential starters Riley Norris (hip) and Braxton Key (knee), as well as reserve forward Ar’Mond Davis (knee), the Crimson Tide opened with an 82-70 win over Memphis in the Veterans Classic at Annapolis, Md. Adding Sexton reinforces a lineup that had five double-digit scorers in the opener. Alabama might need him against the Bisons, who are averaging 87.5 points during their first 2-0 start since 2006-07. Lipscomb is 0-9 against ranked opponents, and the closest contest was a 72-60 loss to Baylor in 2010.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, SEC Network
ABOUT LIPSCOMB (2-0): Lipscomb ranked ninth in the nation in scoring last year at 85 points per game and returns 81 percent of its scoring. The Bisons are led by junior Garrison Matthews, who was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Week after averaging 31 points in the first two games. Rob Marberry (15 points, 11.5 rebounds) has been a force inside thus far but will face a tougher assignment against the Crimson Tide.
ABOUT ALABAMA (1-0): Freshmen Herbert Jones (12 points, five rebounds), Alex Reese (eight points, nine rebounds) and John Petty (11 points) all had nice debuts, and Sexton was the biggest prize of the class. Adding the newcomers to returners Dazon Ingram, who collected 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in the opener, and Donta Hall (11 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks) gives the Crimson Tide far more offensive prowess than a season ago. Alabama ranked in the top 30 in the nation in scoring defense and field goal defense in 2016-17 and was solid at the defensive end against Memphis, holding the Tigers to 38.3 percent overall and 2-for-17 from 3-point range.
1. Alabama is 46-4 in home openers at Coleman Coliseum.
2. The Crimson Tide are trying to start 2-0 for the first time in coach Avery Johnson’s three seasons at the helm.
3. Lipscomb F Eli Pepper needs one rebound to become the fifth player to reach 500 career boards since the school moved to NCAA Division I.
PREDICTION: Alabama 86, Lipscomb 71