How to watch: No. 9 Alabama basketball host Jackson State

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Basketball in Alabama appears to be entering the SEC slate on a high note. After falling to Gonzaga in the CM Newton Classic over the weekend, No. 9 Crimson Tide wraps up most of its non-conference schedule Tuesday night when it hosts Jackson State.

A win over Jackson State (1-10) would give Alabama (9-2) its 10th win for the conference for the first time since the 2014-15 season. The Crimson Tide has one non-conference game left after Tuesday night as it travels to Oklahoma for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge in January.

Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday’s matchup.

How to watch

Who: No. 9 Alabama (9-2) vs. Jackson State (1-10

When: 6 p.m. CT, Tuesday, Dec. 20

Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Watch: SEC Network (play-by-play: Dave Neal; analyst: Daymeon Fishback)

Listen: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink; engineer Tom Stipe)

Alabama’s expected lineup

Jade Bradley: 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, freshman

Stats: 9.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.3 apg, 51.5% FG, 50.0% 3-pt

Mark Sears: 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, junior

Stats: 13.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.9 apg, 42.6% FG, 41.3% 3-pt

Brandon Miller: 6-foot-9, 200 pounds, freshman

Stats: 20.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.9 apg, 41.5% FG, 45.1% 3-pt

Noah Clowny: 6-foot-10, 210 pounds, freshman

Stats: 9.5 ppg, 8.8, rpg, 0.9 apg, 51.4% FG, 27.8% 3-pt

Charles Bediako: 7 feet, 225 pounds, freshman

Stats: 5.4 ppg, 6.6, rpg, 0.6 apg, 65.8% FG

Jackson State’s expected lineup

Ken Evans Jr.: 6-foot-5, 200 pound, redshirt sophomore

Stats: 11.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.6 apg, 34.8% FG, 31.0% 3-pt

Coltie Young: 6-foot-3, 201 pounds, sophomore

Stats: 9.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.8 apg, 44.4% FG, 42.6% 3-pt

Trace young: 6-foot-8, 193 pounds, redshirt senior

Stats: 10.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.1 apg, 42.7% FG, 29.4% 3-pt

Romelle Mansel: 6-foot-9, 195 pounds, junior

Stats: 7.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, 47.3% FG, 66.7% 3-pt

Zeke cook: 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, sophomore

Stats: 4.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.7 apg, 37.2% FG

A known enemy

Former Alabama standout Mo Williams is in his first year as Jackson State head coach after leading Alabama State for the past two seasons. Jackson resident Miss. got his coaching start as an assistant at Cal State Northridge from 2018-20, working under former Crimson Tide head coach Mark Gottfried. Tuesday is Williams’ first game against his alma mater.

Williams played two seasons at Alabama from 2001 to 2003, averaging 13.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists during that span. He was selected by the Utah Jazz with the number 47 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft and spent 15 seasons in the league.

“Obviously one of the better players in Alabama history,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “He had a great NBA career. He’s coming back home. He’s going to have his men ready to go. They’re a lot better than what their record indicates. I went back and watched Mississippi two weeks ago State game they were four down at the under-4 media timeout at the end of the game they’ve fought, scrapped, clawed, hung with some teams they’ll be motivated now that Mo comes back to Alabama so we should play well.

Williams posted a combined record of 13–35 at Alabama State, including a 12–24 record in conference play. He starts 1-10 at Jackson State.

“He did well at Alabama State or he wouldn’t have gotten the job at Jackson State,” Oats said. “He’s a man I talked to when he got back to town. His son [Kydarrius] was a manager for us when I first came here, stayed with us. His picture hangs on the wall here. We want to remind some of the better players here. He has been very supportive, very congratulatory in comments and texts and calls for what we are doing here. He’s happy that Alabama basketball is getting good again.”

Alabama freshmen continue to shine

Brandon Miller was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday after a combination of 60 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in games against Memphis and Gonzaga. The five-star striker shot 54.3% from the floor over the two games, with 52.6% from beyond the arc.

Monday marked Miller’s second time earning Freshman of the Week honors this season. An Alabama player has claimed the honor four of six weeks, while Noah Clowney earned it twice.

Miller leads the SEC and is tied for 19th nationally with an average of 20.1 points per game, leading the nation’s freshmen in the category. He is the only freshman in the country to rank in the top 80 in points per game (No. 19) and rebounds per game (8.2, No. 78). Clowney is ranked No. 44 in the nation with 8.8 rebounds per game, which is third best among the nation’s college freshmen.

“We’re obviously very happy with the freshman class,” Oats said. “I think it speaks to what Brandon and Noah have done themselves in addition to the group as a whole.”

Jaden Bradley has also performed well, second on the team with 3.3 assists per game and averaging 9.3 points on 50.5% shooting from the floor. Meanwhile, fellow freshman guard Rylan Griffin averages 6.2 points in 15.7 minutes per game.

“Jaden Bradley’s also played some really good games,” said Oats. “If Clowney and Brandon Miller didn’t do what they do, Jaden might have won one of these weeks.”

Tide under the weather

Alabama has already left a few guards behind due to injury and is currently trying to contain an illness that has swept through the locker room in recent days. Last week, assistant coach Bryan Hodgson of Crimson Tide missed the victory over Memphis due to illness. On Monday, Oats said some of his players are now in trouble as well.

Oats did not reveal which players are currently ill, but stated that the team had a lighter workout on Monday and moved the film study off the field to try and sort things out.

“We, myself included, just don’t feel right,” Oats said. “There’s just a lot of different things going around. Trying to keep boys as healthy as possible where they can go to Christmas break and go home to spend Christmas with their family without getting too sick. We have to get through this last game.”

Alabama starting guard Nimari Burnett underwent wrist surgery last week and is expected to be out until February. Meanwhile, St. Bonaventure transfer Dom Welch is closing in on the return of his calf injury and could soon make his Crimson Tide debut.

“Hopefully when we get back from Christmas for SEC play he can be there if not ready to go,” Oats said of Welch. “I think he can really contribute with his shooting and he has some size in that spot on the wing.”

Game notes

— Alabama leads the country in rebounds per game (47.3), defensive rebounds per game (32.7) and ranks No. 1 with Tennessee in offensive rebounds per game (15.0). The Crimson Tide ranks third in rebound margin with +11.5.

— Jackson State was selected to finish seventh in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Preseason Poll after finishing last season with an overall record of 11-19, including a 9-9 in conference play.

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