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Norfolk State Spartans vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Preview and Predictions 03-20-2019 in NCAAB


Alabama will try to get something out of this season while preparing for the future when it starts play in the NIT with a matchup against visiting Norfolk State on Wednesday night. The top-seeded Crimson Tide dropped four of their last five games to end any NCAA Tournament hopes, but will look to grow from the experience of playing in more pressure situations with several key underclassmen still developing.

"We need as many games as we can get," Alabama coach Avery Johnson told reporters. ". ... We still got a few guys returning. We can use the practice." The Crimson Tide opened the SEC season with a victory over Kentucky before knocking off two more NCAA Tournament teams - Ole Miss (twice) and Mississippi State - but could not get it done down the stretch and also lost two games during the season on 3-pointers in the final seconds. "We've got to figure out what are the issues," said Johnson, whose team won the only previous meeting with the Spartans 68-49 in 2016. "We've got to look at it and study it and analyze it and pull the onion back ... and everybody take a look at themselves in the mirror and see how we can just get better." Norfolk State won the MEAC regular-season title and had eight wins in its last 10 games, but coughed up a 10-point halftime lead in a 50-47 loss to North Carolina Central in the league tournament final last week.

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ABOUT NORFOLK STATE (21-13): Junior guard Nic Thomas, who leads the team in scoring (14.4), and senior backcourt mate Derrik Jamerson Jr. (10.3) were both held without a point in the league championship game. Sophomore guard Mastadi Pitt (9.8) scored a team-high 14 in the title game and is averaging 16.1 over his last seven contests, while freshman guard C.J. Kelly added 13. Junior guard Steven Whitley (9.6 points) tops the Spartans in assists (3.9) and senior Jordan Butler (8.1 points) leads the way in rebounds (6.3) along with blocks (2.0).

ABOUT ALABAMA (18-15): Freshman guard Kira Lewis Jr. leads the team in scoring (13.6) and assists (2.9), but managed just three points on 1-of-5 shooting from the field in the 73-55 loss to Kentucky in the SEC quarterfinals Friday. Senior forward Donta Hall, who averages 10.6 points along with team highs of 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, hopes to finish a standout career on a high note in the NIT. Sophomore guard John Petty is the third and final player averaging in double figures scoring (10.2), but has managed just 5.8 points per game over his past four contests.

TIP-INS

1. Alabama makes its 16th appearance in the NIT, losing in the 2001 and 2011 finals, while Norfolk State lost to Virginia (2013) in its only game in the event.

2. Norfolk State senior G Alex Long (8.5 points) can tie Jamel Fuentes for the program record in games played with 133 on Wednesday.

3. Crimson Tide sophomore F Alex Reese scored 15 points against Kentucky on Friday after totaling 13 in his previous five outings.

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Stadium

Coleman Coliseum
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA.
Capacity: 15,383

Last Injuries

norfolk-state-spartans-basketball Stats 2018-2019

Offensive
Player GP GS P A PH FGA FGM FTA FTM 3PFGA 3PFG RO
Player GP GS P A PH FGA FGM FTA FTM 3PFGA 3PFG RO
Nic Thomas 29 0 424 50 26 304 121 132 108 186 74 20
Derrik Jamerson Jr. 31 0 326 17 26 209 104 43 39 156 79 34
Mastadi Pitt 30 0 280 81 24 224 93 78 59 103 35 14
Steven Whitley 29 0 270 117 23 221 92 119 70 61 16 15
Alex Long 30 0 266 31 24 226 112 74 41 3 1 44
Defensive
Player GP GS RD B S TO FP FT
Player GP GS RD B S TO FP FT
Steven Whitley 29 0 126 2 38 89 75 0
Jordan Butler 28 0 125 53 13 51 78 0
Alex Long 30 0 91 23 21 62 85 0
Derrik Jamerson Jr. 31 0 89 16 19 13 88 0
Nic Thomas 29 0 69 2 21 61 71 0