Bama escaped with a one-possession win after trailing for the first 38 minutes, and, as someone who watches most Tech games, they didn’t get Tech’s best shot, literally. Bama was fortunate that the bad shooting Tech team showed up in Tuscaloosa. The Bulldogs are streaky from the arc. Tech led almost the entire game by 5 to 10 points despite their best arc shooter going 2 of 12 from deep, and he missed a bunch of good looks that on some nights he knocks down with regularity. I doubt Bama put their best foot forward either. It was an ugly game.
Bama’s offense was inefficient. Sharp-shooting frosh John Petty was benched in the second half and didn’t look happy about it. Whether it had anything to do with an ankle injury is unclear, but he played 19 minutes and scored 2 points. Without him as a factor on the perimeter they only managed 2 treys, although Ingram, Norris, and Sexton are good shooters in principle. Bama turned the ball over frequently and didn’t do anything special inside. The Tide couldn’t muster 1 point per possession on their home floor when getting 37 home-cooked FTAs. Needless to say, on this night they didn’t look like a top-25 team. Their defense was okay, but they were largely gifted a 4 of 23 night by Tech from the arc.
La Tech has a solid ballclub that should compete for the CUSA crown. Tech, Fresno St., and Evansville looked evenly matched in Cancun. Struggling against them is far from a disgrace or surprising, but they could easily have won that game at the level Bama was playing. Tech’s personnel is a doppelganger of Arkansas’. They have a strong four-guard rotation on the perimeter that dominates their scoring. The frontline is deep and athletic but light on points at present. They have solid rim protection. Tech even plays a similar style to Arkansas. They like to pressure and run, and Bama had trouble handling against them
This was my second glance at Sexton. He’s the real deal and looks remarkably similar to UK’s Fox. Sexton can score at all three levels. He’s a much better shooter than Fox but probably not as athletic. He didn’t finish efficiently against Tech, going 5 of 17 inside the arc. Tech had a good matchup for him. Daquan Bracey is fast, quick, and strong at PG. All of Tech’s guards are fairly athletic and defend well and could rotate on him.
Avery Johnson’s biggest challenge looks like balancing rotations. Outside of Sexton and Ingram, Bama’s roster at present looks like specialists with major deficiencies at one end or the other, though their young players will probably figure some things out as the season progresses. At present it looks like he has major tradeoffs between offense and defense.