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Alabama women’s golf vs. Arizona for the national championship: Preview, TV info

Alabama golf-Crimson Tide golf-Angelica Moresco-NCAA Championships

Wednesday should be an interesting day for University of Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne.

When the Crimson Tide women’s golf team plays for the national championship, it’ll be facing his former school and the coach he hired in 2010.

Laura Ianello, then known as Laura Myerscough, played for the Wildcats from 1998-2003 and was part of the Wildcats’ 2000 national championship. She spent five seasons playing professionally, but went back to Arizona to finish up her degree and became an assistant coach.

Ianello was the first of Byrne’s nine coaching hires at Arizona. Football’s Rich Rodriguez was his third in November 2011, and baseball’s Jay Johnson was his last in 2015. During his first season, Johnson led the Wildcats to the College World Series Finals.

Tournament details

  • What: NCAA Women’s Match Play Championship
  • When: 3:25 ET Wednesday.
  • Where: Karsten Creek, Stillwater, Okla.
  • Par: 72; Yardage: 6328
  • Weather forecast: The Weather Channel forecast is for partly cloudy skies, high of 87 degrees, winds SSE 9 mph. There’s a 25 percent chance of rain.

The pairings

Alabama players are listed first, along with individual pre-tournament rankings.

  1. Lauren Stephenson (3) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (31)
  2. Kristen Gillman (6) vs. Gigi Stoll (75)
  3. Cheyenne Knight (19) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (67)
  4. Angelica Moresco (91) vs. Sandra Nordaas (NR)
  5. Lakareber Abe (54) vs. Haley Moore (28)
Alabama golf-Crimson Tide golf-Lakareber Abe-NCAA Championships
Senior Lakareber Abe will be playing her final collegiate match when Alabama faces Arizona for the national title. Photo by UA Athletics/courtesy.

What’s the best way to keep up with the match

Fans have numerous options:

TV: The Golf Channel will show the match beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Live updates: Will be posted on SEC Country

Live stats: Will be available on golfstat.com

Twitter updates: @AlabamaWGolf

What you should know

  • The SEC hasn’t won the national title since the championships went to the same format as the men, with four days of stroke play followed by the match-play playoffs, in 2015. The winners have all been from the Pac-12, with Stanford, Washington and Arizona State. The last SEC team to win the title was Alabama in 2012.
  • The Wildcats shot +17 on the final day of stroke play and needed an eagle on the par-5 18thhole by Bianca Pagdangdanan to force a playoff with Baylor for the last spot in the quarterfinals. She also made a birdie on 18 in the quarterbacks to top UCLA’s Patty Tavatanakit as Arizona won the match 3-2.
  • Alabama came into the tournament as the top-seeded team and finished the stroke-play portion tied for first. Had the tiebreaker gone the other way, with UCLA places first in the match-ply bracket, Alabama and Arizona would have played in the quarterfinals.
  • Arizona is looking for its first national championship in women’s golf since 2000.It also won the title in 1996. Alabama is aiming to win its second national title.
  • The Alabama men’s players and coaches will arrive early to cheer on the women’s team and check out the course. After a practice round on Thursday, their version of the NCAA Championships will begin on Friday.

The post Alabama women’s golf vs. Arizona for the national championship: Preview, TV info appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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Alabama softball has to go through Washington to reach WCWS: Preview, TV info

Alabama softball-Crimson Tide softball-NCAA Super Regional

Although the University of Alabama softball team would probably never admit it, this was the scenario it was trying to avoid.

When the brackets were announced for the 2018 NCAA Softball Tournament, the Crimson Tide were hoping for two things:

1) To host a regional (which it did);

2) Have a favorable path to the College World Series.

This was anything but that.

Granted, any opponent would be tough at this point, but Alabama knows how tough Washington can be. The Crimson Tide visited Seattle early in the season when the Huskies were atop both major polls at No. 1.

They lost the first meeting 8-0 in five innings and the second 4-1.

No. 12 Alabama isn’t quite the same team and might be the healthiest it has been all season, but beating the Huskies twice in their own stadium is a daunting task. No. 5 Washington is 15-3 at home this season, and all three losses were to Oregon, the tournament’s top-seeded team.

Super Regional details

  • Format: Best-of-three.
  • When: The games are scheduled for 9 p.m. ET Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday.
  • Where: Husky Softball Stadium.
  • Weather forecast: Although it could get a little chilly, The Weather Channel forecast is otherwise ideal with no rain expected.

What’s the best way to keep up with the game

Fans have numerous options:

TV: Game 1 is scheduled for ESPNU, Game 2 is scheduled for ESPN2, and Game 3, if necessary, will be back on ESPNU.

Radio: 93.3 FM in Tuscaloosa.

Live video will be available (Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3)

Live stats will be available.

Twitter updates: @AlabamaSB

What you should know

  • Alabama (36-18) is coming off an impressive showing at the Tuscaloosa Regional, during which it gave up one run against Middle Tennessee, Wisconsin and Oregon State. The Crimson Tide is the only team to play in a Super Regional every year since the format was introduced in 2005.
  • Sophomore center fielder Elissa Brown has moved into the team lead with a .357 batting average. She went 4-for-7 (.571) last weekend. She has stolen 30 bases. Coming off a foot injury, sophomore first baseman Bailey Hemphill hit her 13thhome run and is batting .350 (41 for 117). She leads the Tide in RBI (48) and walks (39).
  • Alabama will see a lot of freshman Gabbie Plain (19-4, 1.03 ERA) and junior Taran Alvelo (21-4, 1.16), as the Washington staff has an ERA of 1.13. The Crimson Tide will counter with senior Alexis Osorio (15-9, 2.10) and junior Courtney Gettins (14-4, 2.37).
  • Washington (47-8) swept Boise State, Texas and Minnesota in its regional and allowed three runs.
  • This will be the fourth postseason meeting between the programs. Washington lost to Alabama in the 2015 Regionals and 2016 Super Regionals, but defeated the Crimson Tide in Super Regionals in 2007 in Seattle.
  • The winner of the Seattle Super Regional will advance to play in the double-elimination Women’s College World Series, beginning May 31 in Oklahoma City. With the brackets fixed, the next opponent will be either No. 4 Oklahoma or No. 13 Arkansas. Overall, nine of the 16 remaining teams are from the SEC.

The post Alabama softball has to go through Washington to reach WCWS: Preview, TV info appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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2018 NBA Draft preview: Kentucky, Calipari hope to add five names to unprecedented list of picks

Kentucky-NBA-NBA draft-2018-John Calipari-UK basketball-Kevin Knox-Shai Gilgeous Alexander-Hamidou Diallo-Jarred Vanderbilt-Wenyen Gabriel-mock draft

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Happy John Calipari Day, everybody. The 2018 NBA Draft is upon us, which means ESPN will turn into an all-day commercial for Kentucky basketball.

What the Wildcats have done in the draft since Calipari took over in 2009 is unprecedented: 31 picks, 24 first-rounders, 17 lottery picks, seven top-5 picks, three No. 1 overall selections. And Kentucky has five more players hoping to hear their names called tonight.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox seem almost certain to join that list of lottery picks, while Hamidou Diallo is hoping to sneak into the end of the first round, Jarred Vanderbilt figures to be solidly in the middle of the second round and Wenyen Gabriel likely will sweat out the final few selections in the 60-pick draft.

Get ready for the big night with one last look at the major mock drafts — ESPN here, Sports Illustrated here, The Athletic here and Sporting News here — and what Calipari had to say about each of his draft hopefuls. Plus, the full (growing) list of Cal’s Draft Cats:

PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

  • ESPN: No. 6 (Orlando)
  • SI: No. 11 (Charlotte)
  • SN: No. 11 (Charlotte)
  • Athletic: No. 12 (L.A. Clippers)

Cal says: “The teams love this kid. You’re talking 6-6, 7-foot wingspan. You’re talking a projection — which is what the NBA is, it’s a futures league — from where he was at the beginning of our year, he was our ninth-rated player, to where he was at the end of the year: when he played well, we won. A guy who proved he could shoot it better than everybody thought he could. Why? He was in the gym every morning at 7 a.m. working on it. A guy who got stronger physically. Why? He was the best in the weight room and he started to mature physically. And now they’re looking for bigger point guards. Why is that? Because they want to switch one through four — and they’d even like to switch one through five. The game has become positionless. Who was Cleveland’s point guard? Who was Golden State’s point guard?”

SF Kevin Knox

  • ESPN: No. 9 (New York)
  • Athletic: No. 9 (New York)
  • SN: No. 9 (New York)
  • SI: No. 14 (Denver)

Cal says: “There are going to be teams that pass on him and people are going to say two years from now, ‘Why would we have passed on him?’ He’s the youngest player in this draft. He’s mentally mature — he’s got a great drive and will in his body — but physically his body is not there yet. So you’re getting a 6-10 scorer who is tougher than you think but has a ways to go, because he’s going to mature physically, and what you find out when you get him is that’s what the league is moving to: 6-10 guys that can score the ball, can shoot it, can block shots, athletically can do it. And then the thing about the toughness becomes: He has the mentality to be tough, it’s just physically he’s growing into his body.

“I look at guys like Jayson Tatum, who I thought was unbelievable in the playoffs, and recruiting him and knowing him and being around him and watching him, I never knew he had that kind of toughness in him. I watched him. I watched a ton of games, AAU, all summers. What I saw, he never showed in college. But what I saw in the NBA, obviously he’s starting to mature, his body is starting to mature [and] now you have a skilled, long, tough player who is a future All-Star. But people knew he was good; they didn’t know he was that tough. Kevin falls into the same mold right now. When that toughness sprouts out, that’s when everybody says, ‘How did we pass on this guy?’ ”

SG Hamidou Diallo

  • SI: No. 35 (Orlando)
  • Athletic: No. 40 (Brooklyn)
  • SN: No. 40 (Brooklyn)
  • ESPN: No. 41 (Orlando)

Cal says: “I’m hearing good stuff with Hami. Hami may end up going about where he was going to go a year ago, in that range — late first, early/middle second round, in there somewhere — but I know this because I’ve been with him: way more prepared to make it than he was a year ago. Now there are areas he’s got to get better and he knows, but athletically, there is probably not a better athlete in the draft. So now you’re taking one of the best athletes in the draft, who played at Kentucky, which means everything was thrown at him, who had a great attitude — never, not one time was an issue for me as a coach. And he could’ve been. I mean, he could’ve been, ‘Come on, I came back and …’ Never. ‘Tell me what I gotta do.’ I think what he went through is going to prepare him to make it in that league. Even though he probably will go in the same area he would’ve gone a year ago, he’s way more prepared to make it.”

RELATED: How Calipari helps fringe draft picks decide

PF Jarred Vanderbilt

  • ESPN: No. 46 (Houston)
  • SI: No. 47 (L.A. Lakers)
  • SN: No. 52 (Utah)
  • Athletic: No. 53 (Oklahoma City)

Cal says: “All those teams are really looking at the analytics stuff, and his in those [14] games were off the charts. NBA motor, goes after balls, feel for the game, quick twitch, can pass it and bounce it. [The injury concern] was our conversation — the whole conversation. And let me say this: of all the kids, he was the one who kept calling and saying, ‘Cal, tell me what you think.’ And then we had to talk about what’s out there, what’s the opportunity? What are teams saying? Can you get a 2-year deal? Because at the end of the day, he’s been injured and now it becomes, OK, what happens if next season you can’t play right away or whatever? So he was great about it. I think we talked through everything, every scenario. He knew what they were. And in his case, I’m counting on his agent being on top of what’s true and what’s not true for him, the opportunities. And what I’m hearing for him is late in that first round somewhere or early to the middle of the second round. I’m telling you: pro spirit, pro energy, NBA body, all that stuff. Gotta shoot it better, but there have been many players who’ve gone into the league and gotten better shooting.”

PF Wenyen Gabriel

  • Athletic: No. 65 in top 100
  • ESPN: No. 79 in top 100
  • SI: No. 91 in top 100
  • SN: Not ranked in top 60

Cal says: “A couple of the teams he worked out for really liked him, and the reason is he’s 6-10 and he can really shoot, and that’s kind of where the league is going. Now, physically, he’s got to get stronger. In an NBA environment, I think within a year, I think you would see someone who is 6-10, can physically battle and can really shoot it. Right now, the physical part is a little tougher for him. But again, if someone could get him in that late second, that’s a steal in my mind. Either way, he’s probably going to have to go through the G League and figure out, ‘I gotta get stronger’ and all those things. He wanted to go for it, and he was adamant, ‘I gotta do this, Coach,’ so at that point, my shift is, ‘OK, how do I help? What teams are you working out for? Who can I call? I’ll give you a feel for what they’re saying.’ ”

Kentucky draft picks under John Calipari

2017
5. De’Aaron Fox
11. Malik Monk
14. Bam Adebayo
2016
7. Jamal Murray
28. Skal Labissiere
34. Tyler Ulis
2015
1. Karl-Anthony Towns
6. Willie Cauley-Stein
12. Trey Lyles
13. Devin Booker
44. Andrew Harrison
48. Dakari Johnson
2014
7. Julius Randle
17. James Young
2013
6. Nerlens Noel
29. Archie Goodwin
2012
1. Anthony Davis
2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
18. Terrence Jones
29. Marquis Teague
42. Doron Lamb
46. Darius Miller
2011
3. Enes Kanter
8. Brandon Knight
45. Josh Harrellson
53. DeAndre Liggins
2010
1. John Wall
5. DeMarcus Cousins
14. Patrick Patterson
18. Eric Bledsoe
29. Daniel Orton

The post 2018 NBA Draft preview: Kentucky, Calipari hope to add five names to unprecedented list of picks appeared first on SEC Country.

Kyle Tucker – SEC Country

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Alabama men’s golf vs. Oklahoma State for the national championship: Preview, TV info

Alabama golf-Crimson Tide golf-Wilson Furr-NCAA Championships

University of Alabama coach Jay Seawell knows what to expect because he’s been here before.

In this case, here is the national championship match, which the Crimson Tide have reached for the fourth time since 2012. It lost the first time against Jordan Spieth and Texas, but came back to win back-to-back titles in 2013-14  — the second of which was against the team Alabama will be facing Wednesday afternoon, Oklahoma State.

The Crimson Tide won 4-1, in Hutchinson, Kansas.

This time Oklahoma State has the advantage of playing on its home course.

The top-seeded Cowboys have been considered the team to beat in college golf all season. Every player has a sub-par scoring average, with three who were ranked in the top 15 individually prior to the tournament with No. 4 Matthew Wolff, No. 5 Viktor Hovland and No. 14 Zach Bauchou.

The Cowboys notched seven straight wins and nine overall, one short of trying the program record set in 1985-86. Overall, OSU has won 10 national titles and been the runner-up 17 times.

It also has a strong fan base, with approximately 5,000 expected to show up and root for the home team.

“We realize that [Wednesday] we’re going to hit a lot of good shots and won’t hear a single thing except for maybe a mom and a dad, so I know that’s coming, and there’s nothing wrong with it,” Seawell said. “That’s what makes it great. So we’ll share a little bit what happened in Kansas a little bit because they probably had a couple thousand people in Kansas and we had like 100. So it’ll be a lot more than that [Wednesday]. But there’s still five guys playing golf, and that’s what we’ve tried to talk about the whole time.”

Tournament details

  • What: NCAA Men’s Match Play Championship
  • When: 3:25 ET Wednesday.
  • Where: Karsten Creek, Stillwater, Okla.
  • Par: 72; Yardage: 7,460 yards
  • Weather forecast: It rained Tuesday night, but sunny conditions are expected despite a few afternoon clouds. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. A high of 94 degrees with winds at 5 to 10 mph. The chance of rain is 20 percent.

The pairings

Alabama players are listed first.

  1. Lee Hodges  vs. Viktor Hovland
  2. Davis Riley vs. Matthew Wolff
  3. Wilson Furr vs. Kristoffer Ventura
  4. Davis Shore vs. Austin Eckroat
  5. Jonathan Hardee  vs. Zach Bauchou

What’s the best way to keep up with the match

Fans have numerous options:

What you should know

  • No. 6 Alabama advanced by defeating Texas Tech 3-2 in the quarterfinals, and swept Duke 5-0 in the semifinals. No. 1 Oklahoma State squeezed out a 3-1-1 win over Texas A&M, and won 3-2 over Auburn on Tuesday.
  • Alabama’s two freshmen, Davis Shore and Wilson Furr, combined to go 4-0 on their matches. “I’ve never been on a team with freshmen who can play this way,” Crimson Tide senior Lee Hodges said. “I knew they’d be great players, but they’re even better than I thought.”
  • Former Alabama player Justin Thomas, now ranked No. 1 in the world, spent some time with the team last week when in Tuscaloosa for a charity event. He also practiced at the team facility and has been sending the players texts this week. “When he talks, he’s someone you listen to,” junior Davis Riley said.
  • Seawell on his team playing for the national championship. “I will never take this for granted, so I feel as excited as I did in 2012 when the first time we did this. I feel exactly the same. I’m just really proud for the guys. It’s a player’s game. I get to drive the van. I love coming to work every day and doing all the things that we do because these are special kids. And I think we forget sometimes how hard people work just to be  —  to have this opportunity, and I’m thankful that I get a front row seat to that.”

The post Alabama men’s golf vs. Oklahoma State for the national championship: Preview, TV info appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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When will Alabama guard Collin Sexton be selected: 2018 NBA Draft preview, TV info

Alabama basketball-Crimson Tide basketball-Collin Sexton-NBA Draft-2018 NBA Draft

It’s been a long wait, but former University of Alabama guard Collin Sexton will finally know his NBA destination Thursday night.

The one-and-done player is expected to be a lottery selection, which means a top-14 pick, although there’s a lot of contrasting speculation about when and where he’ll end up.

“[Thursday] is going to be exciting, especially after the draft,” Sexton said in a release Wednesday. “Everybody is looking forward to it. There is so much excitement in the air because it’s the day that everybody is waiting for, just to see where you land and see your dreams come true.”

Sexton averaged 19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 29.9 minutes per game while leading Alabama to the NCAA Tournament.

The speedy and aggressive guard is one of 20 players to attend the draft. For the first time in their history, the Phoenix Suns have the top selection.

Sexton is poised to be the first Crimson Tide player selected in the two-round draft since Richard Hendrix in 2008, and first first-round pick since Gerald Wallace in 2001.   

2018 NBA Draft details

  • When: 7 p.m. ET, Thursday
  • Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • TV: ESPN
  • Watch Online: WatchESPN.com
  • Live updates: NBA.com

When and where do the mock drafts have Collin Sexton selected?

On his Mock Draft Show that aired Tuesday night, David Aldridge of TNT had Sexton selected sixth by the Orlando Magic. He also made it clear that he’s not very good at mock drafts.

Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated projected Sexton to be picked ninth by the New York Knicks, saying “There’s a growing sense that the Knicks have zeroed in on drafting a point guard at this spot.”

NBADraft.net has Sexton lasting until the Charlotte Hornets at No. 11.

The consensus mock draft compiled by NBA.com listed Sexton among the most common picks at No. 12 to the Los Angeles Clippers, stating: “His toughness and competitive streak are viewed highly by pro evaluators, even drawing comparisons to Russell Westbrook.” However, it then projected him to go 11th to the Hornets.

A team of writers from USA Today interviewed numerous NBA officials before putting together their mock draft. The had him at No. 9 to the Knicks, but added, “The guard-depleted Cavs are known to be interested in Sexton as well.” That’s exactly where Sean Deveney of The Sporting News has Sexton heading with the eighth selection.

ESPN Insider Jonathan Givony has Sexton heading to the Clippers. … Both Carl Berman at netscouts.com and Gary Parrish of CBSsports.com have Sexton joining the Knicks. … The lowest projection we could find was by Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports, No. 14 by Denver Nuggets.

2018 NBA Draft order, first round

  1. Phoenix Suns
  2. Sacramento Kings
  3. Atlanta Hawks
  4. Memphis Grizzlies
  5. Dallas Mavericks
  6. Orlando Magic
  7. Chicago Bulls
  8. Cleveland Cavaliers
  9. New York Knicks
  10. Philadelphia 76ers
  11. Charlotte Hornets
  12. Los Angeles Clippers
  13. Los Angeles Clippers
  14. Denver Nuggets
  15. Washington Wizards
  16. Phoenix Suns
  17. Milwaukee Bucks
  18. San Antonio Spurs
  19. Atlanta Hawks
  20. Minnesota Timberwolves
  21. Utah Jazz
  22. Chicago Bulls
  23. Indiana Pacers
  24. Portland Trail Blazers
  25. Los Angeles Lakers
  26. Philadelphia 76ers
  27. Boston Celtics
  28. Golden State Warriors
  29. Brooklyn Nets
  30. Atlanta Hawks

The post When will Alabama guard Collin Sexton be selected: 2018 NBA Draft preview, TV info appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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Alabama scrimmage preview: ‘You just want to make plays’

Alabama football-Crimson Tide football-Isaiah Buggs

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It may not be the most important day of the offseason for the University of Alabama football team, but that doesn’t mean that the first scrimmage of the spring Saturday isn’t important.

In terms of evaluations it’s crucial and the first significant measuring stick regarding the reining national champion’s offseason progress.

“Pressure makes diamonds, so putting that pressure on yourself and the coaches putting pressure on you to make it as real as a game as possible, that’s the best thing we can do here,” Alabama senior linebacker Jamey Mosley said. “I think that scrimmages are so important to us.”

This one will be a bit different, though, because of the new faces surrounding the team.

While it’s the first live action for early enrollees —Stephon Wynn, Slade Bolden and Skyler DeLong —and junior college transfer Saivion Smith, it’s also for Nick Saban’s new coaching staff.

Not only does it have six new faces, but different coordinators from a year ago.

Moreover, rain is in the forecast and with storms expected Friday night the conditions may be less than ideal. Set to be played at Bryant-Denny Stadium there’s no backup plan to go indoors.

It’s also closed to the public and unlikely that any statistics will be released. Except for Saban’s post-scrimmage comments, reporters will have to wait until the next practice to see if there are obvious changes on the field.

“They don’t really talk about too much the depth chart in the spring. It’s more a set for organization,” junior tight end Irv Smith said. “They definitely tell us in the scrimmages this is who going … whoever is making plays in the scrimmages, that’s the game player. You just want to make plays so you can elevate your game.”

Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (hand) has been practicing, but is not ready for a complete return. During the media observation periods of practice, the sophomore has been working in the rear of the quarterbacks and his passing has been limited — although Smith did tell reporters he was throwing like usual: “He’s still out there getting his work in and doing what he has to do and we expect that a lot.”

On Tuesday, Saban announced that junior defensive lineman Raekwon Davis and junior cornerback Trevon Diggs had suffered ankle injuries. Don’t expect either to play, or sophomore wide receiver Jerry Jeudy who just had a knee scope.

With Alabama already having depth issues at those positions this spring, it’ll be a lot of extra snaps for players such as redshirt freshman wide receiver Tyrell Shavers.

“It’s a work in progress for him,” Saban said. “But he’s got some talent and he’s one of those guys that we need to develop and create a role for because he certainly has the ability to contribute.”

Obviously the high-profile quarterback competition between Tagovailoa and junior Jalen Hurts is on hold, but they’re under way at other positions including the secondary and the offensive line.

Among the defensive backs, Alabama has to replace not just all four starters, but the nickel and dime players as well (called star and money, respectively). Even before Diggs’ injury it couldn’t fully go two-deep in dime package this spring due to the lack of numbers.

On the offensive line, Jedrick Wills has been at right tackle with Matt Womack (foot) out this spring. However, the surprise has been at left tackle, where senior Josh Casher (6-foot-1, 291 pounds) has been lining up with Ross Pierschbacher having moved to center.

“Well we’re mixing and matching a lot of different guys on the offensive line, but Josh is certainly in the mix, you know, at one of the guard positions,” Saban said. “He’s very smart, he’s a great leader, he does everything the right way. He’s got good explosion and good power. One thing he works hard to overcome is his size and I think he’s proving to us every day that that’s not at issue for him to be able to play.

“But I will say that there’s probably seven or eight offensive linemen that are all in competition for positions and he’s one of those guys.”

The post Alabama scrimmage preview: ‘You just want to make plays’ appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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Alabama softball may be without staff ace against Ole Miss: Series info, preview

Alabama softball-Crimson Tide softball-Patrick Murphy

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama softball team might still be without its ace pitcher, Alexis Osorio, when it hosts Ole Miss for a three-game series this weekend.

The senior has yet to be cleared from concussion protocol after being struck in the face by a batted ball at Auburn last Sunday.

She’s thrown 61.0 of the team’s 173.1 innings, amassing 101 strikeouts for an average of 1.67 per inning. The two-time All-American has a 1.61 ERA.

If she’s still sidelined, the Crimson Tide will have to rely on their other two pitchers, who are both new additions this season. Courtney Gettins, a junior-college transfer, is 8-2 with a 1.62 ERA, with 34 strikeouts and 28 walks. Freshman left-hander Madison Preston is 6-2 with a 1.83 ERA, 36 strikeouts and 21 walks.

Alabama is No. 15 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 16 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. In early RPI ranking, Alabama is No. 20 and Ole Miss 35th.

Series details

  • What: Ole Miss (15-10, 1-5 SEC) at Alabama (20-7, 1-2)
  • When: 7:30 p.m. ET Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: Rhoads Stadium
  • Weather forecast: According to the Weather Channel, rain isn’t in the forecast until Sunday afternoon when scattered thunderstorms will go through the Tuscaloosa area. The chance of rain is 50 percent, so keep an eye out for a possible preemptive schedule change.

What’s the best way to keep up with the games

Fans have numerous options:

Radio: 93.3 FM in Tuscaloosa.

Live video can be found on SEC Network+: Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3

Live stats will be available.

Twitter updates: @AlabamaSB

What you should know

  • The last meeting between the teams was in the SEC Tournament, a 4-1 victory for Ole Miss. Overall, Alabama leads the series 58-5, and had a 30-game win streak snapped in 2017.
  • Former Alabama softball player Chandler Dare will be the analyst on the SEC Network broadcasts. Crimson Tide football play-by-play announcer Eli Gold is slated to call Sunday’s game.
  • The Rebels’ three primary pitchers are freshman left-hander Anna Borgen (2-4, 2.58 ERA), senior Kaitlin Lee (9-4, 2.66) and sophomore Morgan Bruce (2-0, 3.46).
  • Ole Miss batters have been struggling this season, batting .255 as a team, which is last in the SEC. Sophomore Kaylee Horton leading the Rebels with a .360 batting average. The 5-6 utility player hails from Jasper, Ala.
  • The Rebels are 13-2 when scoring first and 2-7 when playing from behind. They’re 10-0 when scoring in the first inning.
  • Alabama defense ranks second in the SEC with a .978 fielding percentage. The .273 batting average is 12th and the 1.70 ERA ninth.
  • Alabama doesn’t have any midweek games scheduled until mid-April. It’ll travel to Kentucky next weekend, and host Florida on April 7-9.

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Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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Alabama softball hosts UAB to complete home-and-home: Game info, preview

Alabama softball-Crimson Tide softball

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Barring any added games, the University of Alabama softball team will play its final in-state opponent during the regular season when it hosts UAB on Tuesday evening.

It’s the second meeting between the teams, with the Crimson Tide pulling out a 4-0 victory at Mary Bowers Field on Feb. 27. This will complete the home-and-home series and Alabama’s in-state schedule having already faced Auburn and South Alabama.

Alabama’s only remaining non-conference game on the schedule is Southern Miss on April 18, although Coach Patrick Murphy might add some games to make up for rainouts.

Alabama is ranked No. 10 in the latest ESPN/USA Softball poll, and No. 12 in the USA Today/NFCA coaches poll.

Game details

  • What: UAB (10-19-1) at Alabama (19-7)
  • When: 7 p.m. ET, Tuesday
  • Where: Rhoads Stadium
  • Weather forecast: After the temperature was up near 80 degrees prior to Monday night’s storms, the forecast is for windy and cooler conditions. According to the Weather Channel there’s a slight chance of rain and the temperature should be near 50 degrees around game time.

What’s the best way to keep up with the games

Fans have numerous options:

Radio: 93.3 FM in Tuscaloosa.

Live video can be found on WatchESPN.

Live stats will be available.

Twitter updates: @AlabamaSB

What you should know

  • Alabama leads the all-time series 22-0, with 12 wins in Tuscaloosa.
  • Freshman Kaylee Tow has been a pleasant surprise so far, topping the Crimson Tide with a .362 batting average (25-for-69). She has 12 extra-base hits and her five home runs are tied with sophomore Bailey Hemphill for the team lead. Hemphill has reached base safely in 17 of her last 18 games, in part due to drawing team-leading 16 walks while hitting .333 (22-for-660 and knocking in 22 runs.
  • Sophomore center fielder Elissa Brown is batting .321 with 15 runs scored and is 17-for-17 in stolen bases.
  • Alabama’s team batting average of .268 is 12th out of 13 SEC teams. The 1.64 staff ERA is eighth.
  • In the first RPI of the season, releasedMonday, Alabama was No. 26. All 13 SEC teams are in the top 35.
  • Last week senior Peyton Grantham became the second Crimson Tide player to tally nine assists in a game this season, and third all-time. She had nine assists at third base in the March 14 win at Georgia Tech, less than a month after freshman Maddie Morgan had the same number while playing second base vs. Georgia State on Feb. 23.

Alabama Single-Game Assists

  1. Peyton Grantham at Georgia Tech (3/14/18): 9
  2. (tie)    Maddie Morgan vs. Georgia State (2/23/18): 9
  3. (tie)    Staci Ramsey at South Carolina (4/19/03): 9
  4. Kelley Montalvo vs. Memphis (2/7/09): 8
  5. (tie)  Kelly Kretschman at Ole Miss (4/9/99): 8
  6. (tie)    Kelly Kretschman vs. LSU (5/9/98): 8
  7. (tie)   Christy Kyle at Arkansas (3/15/97): 8
  • UAB sophomore outfielder Destini England was named Conference USA Player of the Week on Monday after she went 9-for-13 with eight RBI, four runs scored and hit three doubles in the series against UTEP. She hit .800 (4-for-5) with runners in scoring position and went 2-for-3 with the bases loaded.
  • Alabama will host Ole Miss for a three-game series beginning Friday. The Rebels (13-17) are ranked No. 15 and 23 in the polls.

The post Alabama softball hosts UAB to complete home-and-home: Game info, preview appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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Alabama basketball vs Virginia Tech in NCAA Tournament: Game information, TV, preview (March 15, 2018)

Alabama basketball-Avery Johnson-NCAA Tournament-Virginia Tech-Collin Sexton-Dazon Ingram-Donta Hall

Alabama basketball will face Virginia Tech in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 15 at approximately 8:20 p.m. CT at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

The Crimson Tide (19-15) earned the No. 9 seed in the East Region as an at-large selection, while the Hokies (21-11), who were also chosen at-large, earned the No. 8 seed. TNT will televise the game.

Alabama advanced to its first NCAA Tournament since 2012 with its selection on Sunday. It marks the Crimson Tide’s 20th NCAA appearance in school history, but it’s just the second showing since 2006. Alabama made five consecutive tournaments from 2002-06.

The Crimson Tide are 18-19 all time in the tournament and have advanced to the Sweet 16 seven times and the Elite Eight once (2004). The appearance also is the first for any current member of the Crimson Tide. This is the first tournament appearance for Alabama coach Avery Johnson.

How to follow Alabama basketball vs. Virginia Tech 

  • The first-round game on Thursday will air on TNT with Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner and Dana Jacobson on the call.
  • The radio broadcast can be found on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) on the call, with the pregame show beginning at 7 p.m. CT on the Crimson Tide Sports Network.

What you should know about Alabama basketball vs. Virginia Tech

  • This matchup will mark the 15th meeting between Alabama and Virginia Tech with the Crimson Tide leading the all-time series 9-5. However, it will be the first meeting between the programs since 1989.
  • Alabama reached the 1987 Sweet 16, which was later vacated, along with its 2-1 record in that tournament because of an NCAA violation. With that honor removed, Alabama has made seven Sweet 16 appearances in program history, with the last coming in 2004. That was the same year that the Tide made its lone Elite 8 showing.
  • Alabama is 7-10 in games away from Tuscaloosa this season and holds a 5-2 mark in neutral-site contests.

The post Alabama basketball vs Virginia Tech in NCAA Tournament: Game information, TV, preview (March 15, 2018) appeared first on SEC Country.

Marq Burnett – SEC Country

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Alabama basketball at Auburn: Game information, TV, preview (February 21, 2018)

Alabama basketball-John Petty-Crimson Tide basketball

University of Alabama freshman Collin Sexton has had numerous high-profile matchups this season, but Wednesday night’s will be a little different at No. 12 Auburn.

Auburn sophomore point guard Jared Harper was a former high school teammate. The two have stayed in touch and, one way or another, usually talk every week.

But not this week.

Outside of practices at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, Ga., Sexton guessed that they haven’t faced one other since “probably eighth grade.”

“He can drive as well as he can shoot the ball,” Sexton said of Harper. “He can pass it. He has an all-around game. Just watching him and learning from him has been pretty good.”

Harper averages 13.8 points per game and is just one of three Auburn starting guards who averages over 13 points a game. Bryce Brown (16.4) and Mustapha Heron (16.1) lead the team in scoring, while Harper’s 157 assists (5.8) is second in the SEC.

When Alabama upset Auburn 76-71 on Jan. 17, Sexton was out due an abdominal injury. Freshman guard John Petty made eight 3-pointers to lead the Crimson Tide with 27 points, while sophomore guard Dazon Ingram had 16.

“It hurt me a whole lot because I wanted to be out there with my teammates and help them get the win,” Sexton said. “But I feel like everyone stepped up that game for us and it was a big win.”

Said sophomore forward Braxton Key said: “It’ll be big since he didn’t play last time,”

This time, though, Auburn will without sophomore forward Anfernee McLemore, who suffered a season-ending injury against South Carolina on Saturday. He averaged 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game.

“I don’t think they’re going to change [their approach] at all,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “They are who they are, and they’re a fast team. They shoot a bunch of 3s, and the way they rebound, they get a high percent of those missed 3s back because of their foot speed.”

Game details

  • Records: Alabama (17-10, 8-6 SEC); Auburn (23-4, 11-3 SEC)
  • Where: Auburn Arena, Auburn, Ala.
  • When: Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 8:30 p.m. ET

What’s the best way to keep up with the game?

Fans have numerous options:

Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Pat Bradley (analyst) will have the television broadcast, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) on radio.

So what are quadrant wins and what do they mean for Alabama?

The NCAA selection committee is emphasizing what it calls a quadrant win-loss system, which is based on victories and winning percentage against quality opponents.

  • Quadrant 1: Home games vs. teams ranked 1-30 in RPI; neutral sites vs. 1-50; away games at 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home 31-75; neutral 51-100; away 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home 76-160; neutral 101-200; away 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home 161-plus; neutral 201-plus; away 241-plus

Alabama is 6-5 in Quadrant 1 games. The wins are third-most in the SEC and are tied for ninth in the nation.

Following the loss at Kentucky on Saturday, Alabama was No. 34 in the NCAA’s RPI rankings that included games through Monday. The Crimson Tide are 3-0 against teams in the top 15, having defeated No. 7 Auburn, No. 8 Rhode Island and No. 14 Tennessee.

What you should know

  • Johnson on seeing Harper play when he was recruiting Sexton: “Two guys who are pretty dynamic in their scoring ability, breaking defenses down and their speed, hand-eye coordination, all the things that we look for, reaction, coachable — and having for what I call high basketball IQ for such a young guy at that time.”
  • Junior forward Donta Hall is averaging 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals over his last three games. He shot 82.1 percent from the field (23-of-28), while 12 of his 23 field goals were dunks. He leads the SEC with 61 dunks.
  • Alabama has won five straight over AP Top-25 opponents.
  • Auburn is 21-2 when scoring at least 75 points. The Tigers are coming off an 84-75 loss at South Carolina, and have split their last two home games, defeating Kentucky 76-66 and losing to Texas A&M 81-80.
  • Johnson called rebounding his team’s Achilles heel of late, especially after Kentucky had a 44-27 edge last Saturday. It’s been a priority, especially with the guards.
  • A common statistic in all four Auburn losses, the opponent made more 3-pointers. The Tigers lead the SEC in 3-pointers made (9.9), but are fourth in 3-point percentage (.378). They’re also ninth in 3-point percentage defense (.342), while Alabama is third (.313).

The post Alabama basketball at Auburn: Game information, TV, preview (February 21, 2018) appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country