Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Arkansas St. Red Wolves Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 4th 2023

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With two losses in the past three games, No. 23 Alabama will be in search of a defensive edge on Monday when Arkansas State pays a visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Crimson Tide (5-2) were undefeated through four games before dropping a 92-81 decision to Ohio State on Nov. 24 in the Emerald Coast Classic at Destin, Fla. They also lost 85-77 at home to Clemson on Tuesday in the ACC/SEC Challenge.

Mark Sears scored 23 points, Aaron Estrada had 16 and Grant Nelson added 14 for Alabama, which was undone by a pair of rough stretches.

Not only did Alabama start the game against Clemson by missing its first nine 3-point attempts, the Crimson Tide saw the Tigers go on a 16-2 run midway through the second half.

“We went up seven, they called a timeout and we don’t have enough defensive drive to get stops,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “We have to get better on defense so we know what we have to do. Show some pride on the defensive end and we got to do a better job as a program.”

Both teams finished with 41 rebounds but Clemson had a 32-22 advantage on points in the paint.

“I think a lot of it is being able to get to and finish at the rim,” Oats said. “They did not have a lot of real rim protection, but they just didn’t let you really get to the rim. They did a great job and we finished 10 of 24 at the rim so we didn’t handle their physicality well.”

Entering play Sunday, Alabama was the second-highest scoring team in the country at 94.9 points per game. But over the past three games, the Crimson Tide have given up an average of 89.3 points and are expected to be dropped from the AP Top-25 rankings before Monday’s game.

Sears scores 20.7 points per game, while Estrada is at 16.9. Nelson scores 14.3 points with 7.0 rebounds.

Arkansas State (2-6) is scoring 74.3 points per game, while giving up an average of 80.1. The Red Wolves have absorbed losses at Wisconsin and Iowa already this season and enter off consecutive defeats to Jackson State and Little Rock.

In a 77-66 setback at Little Rock on Friday, Dyondre Dominguez scored a career-high 20 points off the bench with seven rebounds, while Derrian Ford had a career-high 16 points. The Red Wolves, however, shot just 36.1 percent from the field.

Dominguez, Taryn Todd and Freddy Hicks all average a team-best 13.0 points per game for Arkansas State, but Hicks was held to four points on 1-of-7 shooting against Little Rock.

“We don’t really have a true leader yet; we haven’t had a true leader emerge,” Arkansas State head coach Bryan Hodgson said after the defeat. “… We have to find a group of five that will do the tough things. It’s not going to get any easier. It’s going to be a little bit of trial and error, but hopefully it will start to head in the right direction.”

–Field Level Media

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