A Player's Preview: Alabama - Tucson News Now

A Player's Preview: Alabama

TUCSON, AZ -

After a pair of wins away from home, at UNLV and versus Texas A&M, the Arizona Wildcats return to McKale Center for an ESPN primetime match-up with the Alabama Crimson Tide at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 on ESPN2. 

UA (6-3) defeated No. 7/9 Texas A&M, 67-64, on Tuesday evening at the Valley of the Sun Shootout in Phoenix.

The quartet of Deandre Ayton, Brandon Randolph, Dusan Ristic and Dylan Smith each scored 13 points to lead the Wildcats. 

The Wildcats and Crimson Tide have never met during the regular season. The programs' two previous match-ups came in the 1985 and 1990 NCAA Tournaments both won by Alabama.

Freshman Deandre Ayton was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 62.1 percent from the field in a pair of wins over Long Beach State and UNLV. 

Ayton have recorded a double-double in seven of his nine games this season and ranks third in the nation in defensive rebounding at 8.67 defensive rebounds per game.

UA is anticipating the return of sophomore guard Rawle Alkins to the lineup for the game. Alkins has missed the entire season to this point after breaking his foot in the pre-season.

He averaged 11 points and five rebounds in his freshman season.

RELATED: Sean Miller is looking forward to the return of Rawle Alkins

Arizona is playing SEC foes in back-to-back games for the first time since the 1956-57 season.

The Crimson Tide (7-2) comes to Tucson off a win Wednesday night at home over Rhode Island.

They are led by freshman guard Collin Sexton who is averaging 21 points and four assists per game. 

RELATED: UA head coach Sean Miller gives his thoughts on Collin Sexton

He got poked in the eye during the victory over the Rams and is listed as questionable for Saturday night’s game.

Alabama could also have back top returning scorer Braxton Key (12 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg), a sophomore forward, who has missed the first nine games with a knee injury.

Copyright 2016 Arizona Athletics. All rights reserved.

David Kelly contributed to this story.

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