Alabama basketball looks to turn page, focus on Top 25 road test

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By WVUA 23 Sports Reporter Grace Brister

There’s no shortage of challenges in SEC basketball and Alabama is getting reminded of that again this week.

The No. 4 Crimson Tide travel to Fayetteville, Ark. to play No. 15 Arkansas in Bud Walton Arena, which is considered one of the toughest road venues in college basketball.

“It’s a big road game for us, (it’s a) big test if you’re going to try to win a conference championship, these are games you have to come ready to play in,” Oats said. “We’re going to have to expect a tough road environment, and we’re going to have to play through some stuff.”

Oats said that the problem with turnovers have improved. The Tide has had back-to-back games with single-digit turnovers: a season low of seven against ole miss, and nine against Kentucky.

Oats said in order to win games on the road, the team has to be tough.

“We’ve got a mature group that understands what type of character it takes to win tough road games,” he said. “We need to be really up for a tough road game now. This is about as good a road environment you’re gonna see in the SEC.”

Coach Oats and Arkansas Head Coach Eric Musselman started their coaching careers in the Southeastern Conference together, and Oats said he has done a good job with the program.

“This game probably means a little bit more right now than it used to in the past, so this will be a fun game to go get,” Oats said. “This has meaning when it comes to SEC championships. The fact that they’ve started 1-and-2 I don’t think phases them a whole lot. I think they’re going to be ready to go and still planning on competing for an SEC championship as we are.”

Alabama guard Jahvon Quinerly scored his 1000th point on the previous game against Kentucky, and Oats said that it shows how much he cares about winning.

“You can see how closely knit our group is, the comradery, the chemistry, I think that’s one of the things that speaks to how close our guys are and what a great group of kids we’ve got the opportunity to coach,” Oats said. “We feel lucky we’ve got such a good group of guys to coach, and he’s part of the top of that.”

For Quinerly, he seems to be more focused on his team and the game. He said he did not even know he reached the milestone and replied, “it’s big, I didn’t even know until yesterday.”

Alabama’s battle with the Arkansas Razorbacks will tipoff Wednesday at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Categories: Alabama, College Sports, Sports