Alabama’s star point guard Trevor Releford re-injured a balky right ankle on Monday at practice, a setback that could force him to miss Wednesday’s game at Mississippi State.
“Whether or not he’s available, our full expectation is to go in there and play well,” head coach Anthony Grant told AL.com while listing Releford as doubtful.
Releford, the younger brother of Kansas wing Travis Releford, is averaging 16.3 points this season and has scored 41 points in the Crimson Tide’s first two SEC games. It’s a big blow for the Tide, and not only because Releford is their best player.
The Tide struggled in non-conference play, and given the lack of quality teams in the SEC this season, every loss is going to become magnified. Mississippi State is so banged up this season that coaches are jumping in on practices, but they have won three straight games and their first two in SEC play. Road games are tough in league play, and given the Bulldogs effort on the defensive end of the floor, tonight should be no different.
Not having their starting point guard in the mix is a massive blow, but an excuse won’t make up for a loss they simply cannot afford.
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: