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How to watch: No. 22 Alabama vs. South Alabama

Alabama forward Nick Pringle (23) catches a pass and scores over Morehead State forward Dieonte Miles (23) in the game at Coleman Coliseum. Photo | Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY
Alabama forward Nick Pringle (23) catches a pass and scores over Morehead State forward Dieonte Miles (23) in the game at Coleman Coliseum. Photo | Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY (Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY)

For the second time since the 1964-65 campaign, Alabama opened its season with back-to-back 100-plus point performances, after the Crimson Tide pulled away from a frenetic Indiana State team Friday.

There’s been a clear message from Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats ahead of No. 24 Alabama’s clash against South Alabama on Tuesday: Defend hard and you’ll get minutes. While Oats expects the Crimson Tide to improve on that end of the floor, its offense has had one of the best starts of any team in the country.

Tuesday’s game against the Jaguars will be another chance for that offense to shine, while some individuals will look to impress Oats and stay in the rotation with positive defensive contributions.

Here's everything you need to know about the game:

How to watch 


Who: No. 22 Alabama (2-0) vs. South Alabama (1-1)

When: 7 p.m. CT, Tuesday, Nov. 14

Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Watch: SECN+/ESPN+ (play-by-play: Richard Hoover; analyst: Richard Hendrix)

Listen: (Play-By-Play: Chris Stewart, Analyst: Bryan Passink, Engineer: Tom Stipe)

Alabama's projected starters

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

Stats: 18.5 ppg, 3.5 apg, 4.5. rpg, 60% FG, 66.7% 3-pt

Aaron Estrada: 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Graduate Student

Stats: 21.5 ppg, 4.0 apg, 4.0 rpg, 61.5% FG, 72.7% 3-pt

Rylan Griffen: 6-foot-6, 190 pounds, sophomore

Stats: 6.0 ppg, 1.5 apg, 2.5 rpg, 42.9% FG, 40.0 3-pt

Grant Nelson: 6-foot-11, 230 pounds, senior

Stats: 22.0 ppg, 1.5 apg, 7.5 rpg, 63.6% FG, 33.3% 3-pt

Nick Pringle: 6-foot-10, 230 pounds, senior

Stats: 3.5 ppg, 0.5 apg, 4.0 rpg, 40.0% FG

South Alabama's projected starters

Tyrell Jones: 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, senior

Stats: 6.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 25.0% FG, 61.5% FT

Maxwell Land: 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, junior

Stats: 7.5 ppg, 1.0 apg, 2.5 rpg, 35.3% FG, 25.0% 3-pt

Isiah Gaiter: 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, senior

Stats: 13.5 ppg, 2.0 apg, 3.0 rpg, 57.1% FG, 50.0% 3-pt

Judah Brown: 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, senior

Stats: 14.0 ppg, 0.5 apg, 3.5 rpg, 44.4% FG, 38.5% 3-pt

Thomas Howell: 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, junior

Stats: 7.5 ppg, 2.0 apg, 8.5 rpg, 40.0% FG

Defensive effort

Indiana State was able to match Alabama’s offensive output, as the Crimson Tide struggled to make the right defensive reads, prevent defenders from blowing past and protect the rim during portions of Friday's contest.

Oats again cautioned that Crimson Tide players who don’t pick up the slack to slow opposing teams down won’t see the floor at all.

“Indiana state they’re tough team,” Oats said. “They were right with us for a majority of the game. We had to play who we had to play to win the game and we were not playing great on defense. Some guys' defensive leverage numbers weren’t great.”

Oats used freshmen Sam Walters and Davin Cosby Jr. as examples of how it can be difficult to transition to a team where your defensive contributions are what earn you minutes. Oats said that for players with so much talent at the high school level, like those in Alabama’s 2023 Class, it didn’t really matter what their effort on defense was because those players were simply too good for their high school teams to take of the floor.

That’s not the case on an Alabama roster loaded with offensive weapons. Oats' comments don’t feel like a slight towards Cosby or Walters specifically, but rather paint a clear picture as to what the deciding factor will be for Oats when he inevitably trims his deep rotation as the season goes on.

“You've got to bring it on the defensive end in order to play and I think they're seeing that I think some guys are locked in,” Oats said. “We've got guys staying after practice with Coach (Ryan) Pannone trying to get better on defense.”

More from Alabama’s returners

Rylan Griffen and Nick Pringle have both been in the starting lineup for the Crimson Tide’s last two games, and are expected to make big leaps this season with expanded roles.

Both players made solid contributions as backups in 2022/23, but have not had any standout performances so far this season. Pringle played just 12 minutes against Indiana State and 13 against Morehead State, which were the lowest among the Crimson Tide’s starters. Pringle is also yet to register a block this season and will need to improve his defensive numbers as he competes with Mohamed Wague for minutes in Alabama's vacant rim protector role left by Charles Bediako.

“He hasn't improved as much as I like to see him improve," Oats said. "That's a big challenge that we've made to him just because if he's gonna be a rim protector you need to block some shot at the rim. So we need him to get better.”

Oats seemed more optimistic that Griffen’s breakout game is coming soon. He has yet to get into double figures this season, but Oats said that due to the explosive scoring performances by Grant Nelson, Aaron Estrada and Mark Sears and how teams defend a Crimson Tide squad with so many offensive options.

“If they're gonna stay locked onto (Griffen) on the perimeter and open up huge driving gaps for those other three guys that helps them because they've got a shooter on the floor,” Oats said. “If they're gonna choose to try to cut those guys’ water off and really load up in the gaps heavy and Rylan gets some open threes, you saw that kick-down three he got (against Morehead State), he can end up with three or four of those.”

Oats said Griffen needs to improve his play on the offensive glass, and scoring in transition, but when his ability to score has been limited he’s chipped in nicely on the defensive end.

“He did an unbelievable job on (Indiana State guard Isaiah Swope) in the second half,” Oats said. “Kind of reminiscent to what he had done with Wendell Green last year at Auburn. So (we’re) really trying to sell them on being one of the best perimeter defenders in the country. I think he's capable of doing that.”

While it's still early in Alabama's 2023/24 campaign, its nonconference schedule will ramp up quickly. Pringle and Griffen both have the tools to be a mainstay for the Crimson Tide and another opportunity against a weaker opponent Tuesday, to make some of the adjustment Oats is looking for.

Game notes

The Crimson Tide is averaging 103.5 points per game, which ranks No. 15 in the country and second-best among Power Five programs (No. 12 Iowa, 104.0 ppg).

UA is shooting 50 percent from three-point range, which ranks No. 8 in Division I.

Alabama has a 17-game winning streak at home, which ranks as the fifth-longest streak in the country.

During Alabama’s home winning streak, UA has won by double-digits 13 times and by an average of 24.8 points per contest.

Alabama is the only team in the SEC that has two players averaging 20 points or more per game (Aaron Estrada and Grant Nelson).

Since 2019-20 Alabama has won a league-best 78 games overall and 41 SEC contests.

In his first five years at Alabama, Oats has won 94 games which is the most by a coach in his first five years at UA.