TideIllustrated - How to watch: No. 10 Alabama basketball vs. Davidson in C.M. Newton Classic
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How to watch: No. 10 Alabama basketball vs. Davidson in C.M. Newton Classic

Photo | USA TODAY
Photo | USA TODAY

After a change in opponents, No. 10 Alabama will get one final tune-up before conference play begins next week. The Crimson Tide was originally scheduled to play No. 21 Colorado State during Tuesday night’s C.M. Newton Classic but will instead play Davidson due to COVID-19 complications in the Colorado State program. Tuesday’s matchup will serve as a neutral-site game as it will take play inside Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala.

Here’s everything you need to know about the game.

How to watch

Who: No. 10 Alabama (9-2) vs. Davidson (8-2)

When: 6:00 p.m. CT, Tuesday, Dec. 21

Where: Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Ala.

Watch: SEC Network+ (play-by-play: Eli Gold; analyst: Richard Hendrix)

Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink; Sideline: Roger Hoover; engineer Tom Stipe)

Alabama's projected lineup

Jahvon Quinerly: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, redshirt junior

Stats: 14.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.3 apg, 43.8% FG, 27.9% 3-pt

Jaden Shackelford: 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, junior

Stats: 16.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, 43.0% FG, 42.0% 3-pt

Keon Ellis: 6-foot-6, 175 pounds, senior

Stats: 12.7 ppg., 6.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, 48.9% FG, 36.2% 3-pt

Juwan Gary: 6-foot-6, 218 pounds, redshirt sophomore

Stats: 8.9 ppg, 4.7, rpg, 0.4 apg, 53.3% FG, 18.8% 3-pt

Charles Bediako: 7-foot, 225 pounds, freshman

Stats: 7.3 ppg, 4.5, rpg, 0.9 apg, 70.0% FG

Davidson’s projected lineup

Foster Loyer: 6-foot, 175 pounds, junior

Stats: 15.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.5 apg, 47.3% FG, 53.3% 3-pt

Michael Jones: 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, redshirt junior

Stats: 11.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.3 apg, 48.7% FG, 41.3% 3-pt

Hyunjung Lee: 6-foot-7, 210 pounds, junior

Stats: 18.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.3 apg, 51.2% FG, 40.3% 3-pt

Sam Mennenga: 6-foot-9, 245 pounds, redshirt sophomore

Stats: 7.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 50.8% FG, 57.1% 3-pt

Luka Brajkovic: 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, senior

Stats: 11.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.3 apg, 55.6% FG, 31.6% 3-pt

Last-minute scouting 

A week after Alabama players wrapped up their final exams, the Crimson Tide’s staff had some cramming to do over the weekend. Alabama was originally scheduled to play Colorado State on Tuesday before COVID-19 complications caused the Rams to cancel the matchup Friday evening. Less than 24 hours later, the Tide had a new opponent as Davidson agreed to travel down to Birmingham for the C.M. Newton Classic.

That was great news for Alabama but a challenging assignment for the Tide’s assistant coaches, who were left with only a couple of days to ready the team for its new opponent.

“Really the pressure was on the staff who works ahead,” Oats said. “They had already worked ahead and got Colorado State done, and all of a sudden that work’s out the window and they had to quickly work early Saturday morning.”

This situation isn’t completely new to Alabama. Last season the Tide had to replace its game against Houston due to COVID-19 concerns as Western Kentucky traveled to Alabama instead. However, there was five days notice in between that change instead of the three it has this year.

“It’s not ideal,” Oats said. “You kind of feel like you’re back in high school. Even in high school you don’t have something you have to change last minute like that. The good thing is we have a lot of staff who work, but they had to work all day, working ahead before the Jacksonville State game. I told our players [of the change in opponents] that Saturday morning once we finalized the contract what the change was, but our focus was entirely on Jacksonville State until that game was over.”

Western Kentucky upset Alabama 73-71 in Coleman Coliseum during last season’s replacement game. While Davidson isn’t ranked as highly as Colorado State, Oats said his team will have to be on its A-game if it wants to leave Legacy Arena with a win Tuesday night.

“They’re a good team,” Oats said of Davidson. “Fourth in the country in three-point percentage (41.59) right now. They’re going to test our defense. We’re going to have to play a lot better.”

Davison back for Davidson

JD Davison sat out the majority of the second half during Alabama’s win over Jacksonville State on Saturday. Following the game, Oats said the freshman guard was nursing a sprained knee and could have played in an emergency situation.

Oats said Davison “practiced in some of the stuff” on Monday, stating that the freshman “looks like he’ll be a go” for Tuesday night’s game. Davison, the No. 13 overall recruit in this year’s class, is averaging 9.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists over his first 11 games.

Alabama was without assistant coach Antoine Pettway against Jacksonville State due to a medical issue. Monday, Oats said Pettway won’t rejoin the team until after Christmas.

International flair

Tuesday’s matchup will take on an international flair as Davidson features a diverse roster. Three of the Wildcats’ projected starters — Hyunjung Lee (South Korea), Sam Mennenga (New Zealand) and Luka Brajkovic (Austria) — hail from foreign countries. Davidson also has three international bench players in Nelson Boachie-Yiadom (England), David Kristensen (Denmark) and Styrmir Thrastarson (Iceland).

Lee is the most notable of the bunch as the 6-foot-7, 210-pound wing leads the Wildcats averaging 18.1 points and 6.9 rebounds through 10 games. Last season, the Yongin City, South Korea native became the first Davidson player to conclude a campaign shooting at least 50% from the floor and 40% from beyond the arc.

Brajkovic, 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, is averaging a team-high 1.2 blocks per game and is second on the team averaging 6.8 rebounds. The Feldkirch, Austria native is also averaging 11.6 points and is shooting 55.6% from the floor. Mennenga, 6-foot-9, 245 pounds, leads Davidson in 3-point shooting (57.1%). The Auckland, New Zealand native is averaging 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Alabama’s roster has a trio of internationals in Canadians Charles Bediako and Keon Ambrose-Hylton as well as Alex Tchikou, who hails from Paris, France. When asked Monday about recruiting foreign players, Oats responded, “we’ll go anywhere we can find them.”

Game notes

— The C.M. Newton Classic is named in honor of the Hall of Fame head coach, who coached Alabama from 1968-80. During his 12 seasons in charge of the Crimson Tide, he posted a 221-123 record, won three straight SEC Conference titles (1974-1976) and made two NCAA Tournament appearances. In addition to his coaching accolades, Newton was the first coach to integrate the men’s basketball team at UA with Black student-athletes.

— Tuesday’s game will mark Alabama’s 72nd appearance in Birmingham and fifth in the last seven years. The Crimson Tide owns a 47-24 all-time record in the Magic City. Alabama’s last game in Birmingham came against Samford in a 105-87 win on Dec. 18, 2019.

— Alabama is 3-1 all-time against Davidson. The last meeting between the two teams came when the Tide defeated the Wildcats 76-59, in the 1991-92 season opener in Davidson, N.C.

— Davidson coach Bob McKillop is one of five active head coaches with 600 or more wins at one school and is the 40th head coach with at least 600 wins at the Division I level. He owns a career record of 615-375 (.621) and is currently 18th on the active wins list behind Mark Few (635).