▪ Dick Vitale, in case you haven’t heard, will be at Koch Arena. His desire to do a Shockers game just about completes the circle of media love WSU generated over the past two-plus seasons. It is hard to think of a national outlet that hasn’t chronicled the Shockers and now ESPN’s College GameDay appears to be the lone holdout.
If it takes Vitale’s appearance to validate WSU’s rise, here he is.
“I think it’s cool that he’s coming here and it will definitely bring a lot of attention,” WSU junior Evan Wessel said. “It will be a lot of fun. He definitely brings a personality to the competition.”
Freshman Rashard Kelly said Vitale’s appearance is creating more buzz on campus than in the locker room. For Kelly, Vitale’s presence is more proof he is playing at a big-time program, like the ones he watched as a youngster.
“Watching basketball growing up, you always wanted to be there,” he said. “Now that I’m there, it’s like ‘Wow, how things change.’ You always look for his voice and his Diaper Dandies and all that.”
▪ Turnovers and rebounds are perhaps the biggest red flag for a Shocker opponent. The Crimson Tide is an even rebounding team against opponents. Iowa State out-rebounded Alabama 34-31 (although the Cyclones only had two offensive rebounds) while beating the Tide 84-74. Xavier beat Alabama 97-84 and won the rebounding battle 32-22. Xavier also forced 17 turnovers and scored 27 points off those turnovers.
According to kenpom.com, opponents grab 32.6 percent of available offensive rebounds against the Tide, ranking Alabama in the bottom half of the nation for preventing offensive rebounds.
▪ Alabama’s three-point defense is also a concern. Opponents are making 36.5 percent of their threes, also a low national ranking. Xavier and Iowa State combined to make 20 of 42 threes in their wins over Alabama.
The Wichita Eagle: Dick Vitale wants to see the Shockers.
AL.com: Cheat sheet for Tuesday’s game.