January 8, 2013

Tigers will face a familiar style against Tide

When Frank Haith watches his next opponent on tape, the Missouri coach might feel like he's staring into a year-old mirror. As Alabama comes to Columbia for the Southeastern Conference opener, the Tide bring a familiar look to town. Anthony Grant will start four guards against Haith and the Tigers on Tuesday night.

"A little bit like what we did last year," Haith said. "You've got to guard dribble penetration. When you play four guards, you've got guys that can handle the ball and deck it and get in the paint. We've got to do a great job of keeping them out of the paint and then we've got to limit them to one shot. The biggest thing is just keeping guys in front of you."

"Most of the year that's the lineup, that's been the case for us," Grant said. "We're not a bigger physical team and so we've got to be able to take advantage of the personnel that we have and try to put them in positions where they can be successful."

Like Missouri a year ago, Alabama is running the lineup not by choice, but by necessity. Prior to the first game of Haith's career at Missouri, starting power forward Laurence Bowers tore his ACL and missed the season. In Alabama's loss to Cincinnati on December 1st, 7-foot-1 center Carl Engstrom tore ligaments in his knee and is out for the season.

"You can be tough to match up against," Haith said. "They play the four-out, one-in much like we did last year and play to their strength. That's what the game's all about is playing to your strengths and teams have to match up against you."

As much as Alabama resembles what Missouri did a year ago, Tuesday's game will bring a complete contrast in styles. The Tigers have changed from an undersized, athletic team to a big, physical squad.

"It's a huge concern as you look at their rebounding numbers," Grant said. "I think the best rebounding team in the country, two or three in the country offensive rebounds, that's a major concern and then having to deal with them from a physicality standpoint both offensive and defensively.

"Just really impressed watching Missouri on film, what they've been able to accomplish, the way they've played. I think (they're) one of the better teams in the country."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!