basketball Edit

How to watch: No. 23 Alabama basketball vs. Clemson

Alabama guard Aaron Estrada splits between Mercer forward TJ Grant (14) and Mercer guard Jah Quinones (0) at Coleman Coliseum. | Photo: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama guard Aaron Estrada splits between Mercer forward TJ Grant (14) and Mercer guard Jah Quinones (0) at Coleman Coliseum. | Photo: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports (Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports)

Alabama split its two matchups and learned a lot more about the current state of its defense at the Emerald Coast Classic last weekend. The Crimson Tide bounced back from a 92-81 loss to Ohio State on Friday with a 99-91 win over Oregon on Saturday.

No. 23 Alabama (5-1) continues its run against Power Five opposition when it faces Clemson (5-0) on Tuesday.

The Tigers are yet to face a Power Five foe but are unbeaten this season and notched a 90-69 win over Alcorn State in its most recent game. Clemson narrowly missed out on the NCAA Tournament last season but Tigers’ coach Brad Brownell reloaded with some key additions in the transfer portal and retained one of the best players in the ACC from a season ago, center PJ Hall.

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

How to watch 


Who: No. 23 Alabama (5-1) vs. Clemson (5-0)

When: 8:30 p.m. CT, Tuesday, Nov. 28

Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Watch: ESPN (Play-By-Play: Jon Sciambi, Analyst: Jay Williams, Sideline: Angel Gray)

Listen: Crimson Tide Sports Network | Sirius/XM 134/201 (Play-By-Play: Chris Stewart, Analyst: Bryan Passink, Sideline: Roger Hoover, Engineer: Tom Stipe)

Alabama's projected starters

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

Stats: 20.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.2 apg 61.0% FG, 54.5% 3-pt

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

Stats: 17.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, 54.9% FG, 51.9% 3-pt

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

Stats: 8.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 46.4% FG, 41.2% 3-pt

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

Stats: 14.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.2 apg, 48.2% FG, 23.5% 3-pt

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

Stats: 6.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.2 apg, 80.0% FG

Clemson’s projected starters

Joseph Girard III: 6-foot-2, 189 pounds, graduate student

Stats: 12.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.6 apg, 38.9% FG, 38.2% 3-pt

Chase Hunter: 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, senior

Stats: 13.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.0 apg, 46.0% FG, 42.1% 3-pt

Ian Schieffelin: 6-foot-8, 238 pounds, junior

Stats: 7.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.4 apg, 54.2% FG, 66.7% 3-pt

Jack Clark: 6-foot-10, 207 pounds, graduate student

Stats: 3.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.6 apg, 35.3% FG, 30.0% 3-pt

PJ Hall: 6-foot-10, 238 pounds, senior

Stats: 21.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 54.8% FG, 36.4% 3-pt

10 seconds of improvement

The Crimson Tide went back to basics on defense this week, after it went 1-1 in the Emerald Coast Classic.

“We did get back to some drills we haven't done since before we played games,” Oats said. “Like just close-out drills… basic defensive fundamentals. You can't have a great team defense if you don't have really good individual defenders.”

As the Crimson Tide continues to figure out its defensive identity, Oats said his team has been good at forcing its opponents into longer possessions. The problems start when Alabama loses its defensive intensity late in the shot clock.

“Whether it's a late breakdown, whether it's giving up an (offensive) board after we force a tough shot, we're not doing a great job closing in the last 10 seconds of the shot clock,” Oats said. “So we worked on that today in practice.”

How the Crimson Tide play in the final seconds of the shot clock will be under a microscope Tuesday. Alabama ranks No. 61 in defensive efficiency among all Division I teams according to KenPom, and will have its hands full with a Clemson side that received five votes to be ranked in this week’s AP Poll. Clemson also ranks No. 34 in offensive efficiency, scoring 113.1 points per 100 possessions so far this season.

"No rebounds, no rings"

Oats ended his media session with this quote from legendary former coach Pat Riley and once again challenged Alabama’s forwards to be better on the glass.

The Crimson Tide's effort on the glass was a direct indicator of Alabama’s success in the Emerald Coast Classic. The Tide was outrebounded 32-24 in its loss to Ohio State but outrebounded Oregon 40-28 on the way to win in the championship round.

It's worthwhile to note Oregon was without its 6-foot-11 center N’Faly Dante and 7-footer Nate Bittle, who are both recovering from surgeries. Alabama’s effort on the glass against the Ducks was also largely spearheaded by its guards.

While Grant Nelson led the Crimson Tide with eight rebounds, Alabama’s second-leading rebounders were guards Mark Sears and Latrell Wrightsell Jr., who had seven boards each. Forwards Nick Pringle and Mohamed Wague accounted for just three rebounds between them.

It’s always helpful to have guards that crash the glass. Oats’ blue-collar system demands that extra effort. However, that effort should be supporting the Crimson Tide’s forwards’ work on the glass rather than replacing it.

Oats has challenged Pringle plenty already this season and the former Wofford man has responded well. On Monday Oats' focus was on Wague's development, with the hope that the West Virginia transfer can add even more depth to the Crimson Tide's frontcourt.

“Mo Wague coming off the surgery in the offseason (he) just hasn't had enough reps,” Oats said. “The more comfortable he gets in the system the more I think we can play him. When he gets more minutes I think he can be a great rebounder for us.”

For Wague, that comfort will have to happen sooner rather than later. He’ll likely need to put in a strong shift against a Clemson team that has two 6-foot-10 forwards in its starting lineup in Hall and Clark, as well as the 6-foot-8 Schieffelin, who averages seven rebounds per game, which leads the Tigers.

No pass for Hall

While Schieffelin is a threat on the glass, Hall has been Clemson's ace on both ends of the floor so far this season.

Oats said Hall is “one of the best post players in the country.” The senior leads the Tigers in scoring, averaging 21.4 points per game, and blocks with 1.8. Hall earned third-team All-ACC honors last season and is coming off a career high 29-point performance against Alcorn State.

When Hall isn’t doing damage in the paint, he’s one of many Tigers that can hit shots from behind the 3-point line. Hall shoots a solid 36.4% on just under 4.5 attempts per game from beyond the arc.

As a team, Clemson hits 39.7% of its 3s this season, which ranks No. 19 in the country. Girard and Hunter are both very capable to score in bunches from deep, shooting 38.2% and 42.1% from 3-point range respectively.

Girard, who joined the Tigers after four seasons at Syracuse, and Hall are the ACC’s top returning scorers from a season ago. While Hall is certainly the No. 1 threat to Alabama's success Tuesday, he has a very strong supporting cast that shares the ball and creates open looks. Clemson is averaging 19 assists per game, which is tied for the 12th best mark in the nation.

“Clemson's a very good team that's gonna win a lot of games in the ACC,” Oats said. “If we don't play well we're not winning this game. It's gonna take a colossal effort to play well. We need unbelievable crowd support. We need our home court advantage.”