Second Round Puerto Rico Tipoff Classic: Wichita State vs. Alabama

College Football Sportsbook

Wichita State won the 2011 NIT Tournament

Wichita State vs. AlabamaAlabama promises to be very good this year and they haven’t made the big dance since 2006. This year they probably will, behind the strong play and leadership of 6’8″ senior forward JaMychal Green. Green put up 15.5 points per game last year and 7.5 rebounds per game, despite being suspended early in the year. He is long and his speed will give other fowards a lot of trouble defensively, as he can step out and take a lot of other bigs to the hole. He shot over 50% from the floor last year and will see even more than the 27 minutes a game he saw last year this season. He’s teamed with a great point guard in Trevor Releford, a player who started from day 1 as a freshman. Last season, in that freshman year, he put up 11.0 points per game to go with 3.3 board per night and 3.3 assists. He made over 50% of his two point field goals and gets to the hole well for a guy that is only 6’0″ in sneakers.

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Puerto Rico Tip Off, 2nd Round

Line: ALA -2

Moneyline: ALA -135, WIT +115

Tipoff: 6:00 PM EST from San Juan, PR

Alabama promises to be very good this year and they haven’t made the big dance since 2006. This year they probably will, behind the strong play and leadership of 6’8″ senior forward JaMychal Green. Green put up 15.5 points per game last year and 7.5 rebounds per game, despite being suspended early in the year. He is long and his speed will give other fowards a lot of trouble defensively, as he can step out and take a lot of other bigs to the hole. He shot over 50% from the floor last year and will see even more than the 27 minutes a game he saw last year this season. He’s teamed with a great point guard in Trevor Releford, a player who started from day 1 as a freshman. Last season, in that freshman year, he put up 11.0 points per game to go with 3.3 board per night and 3.3 assists. He made over 50% of his two point field goals and gets to the hole well for a guy that is only 6’0″ in sneakers.

Having two great freshman at the wing positions will help. Trevor Lacey and Levi Randolph were both top 50 national recruits and they spurned bigger name colleges to play for Alabama. Lacey won Mr Basketball in Alabama twice and Randolph is a physical 6’5″ guard who can handle the ball well and both can nail from the perimeter. They will both see a lot of time all season. Charles Hankerton and Rondey Cooper will also see time, while Hankerson saw 14.4 minutes per game in the NIT tournament last year for the Tide. They are going to be young, talented, and fun to watch, but they lack the depth required to beat the powerhouses. If their premier playhers stay healthy and their two freshman come in and play like vets, they could make waves in March.

Witchita State won the 2011 NIT tournament, which is more than simply being the “69th best team in the nation,” as many suggest, since so many crappy conference champs make the big dance by default. WSU senior guard David Kyles didn’t undermine the significance of the tournament win at all:

“That’s big. The whole reason we came here was to start something.”

That “something” will continue tonight. They finished second in the MVC Conference and they may do so again, which would again deny them an NCAA berth. They beat Nebraska by 27, won at Virginia Tech, and slammed Washington State by 31. They also beat this Tide team they are playing tonight in that final game of the NIT.

They went 29-8 last season, but lost three home games in conference play. They need their backcourt to carry the team, where they have the talented Kyles (9.3 ppg in 22.1 mpg) and Toure’ Murry (9.4 ppg in 26.1 mpg). Murry made the All-MVC Second teaam and they also have senior PG Joe Ragland who scored in double figures in six of the final 11 games for the Shockers.

WSU coach attributes a lot of the success to “(knowing) the system, and (knowing that) it takes to win at a high level.”

They will have problems in the frontcourt, but they have reasons for hope there if Garrett Strutz can play better offensively on a consistent basis. Strutz did score 24 against Washington State in the NIT Semis, but he often struggles with foul troubles.

Ben Smith was sixth man of the year for the MVC and is a great three point shooter, so he will help from outside and open things up for Strutz down low. It’s sad to think a team as good as Witchita State will probably never win more than the NIT like they did last season.

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Posted by on Nov 18 2011. Filed under College Basketball, Headlines, Sports Handicapping. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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