January 8, 2010 9:39:00 AM
University of Alabama men''s basketball coach Anthony Grant will find out how at 4 p.m. Saturday (FOX SportsNet South) how his fast-paced style of play will work in the Southeastern Conference when his team opens the league part of its schedule at Louisiana State University.
Grant knows Alabama (10-4) is still learning his system, but he likes the progress.
"In every game, we learn a little bit more about what it takes to be successful," Grant said. "We have eight healthy guys now that we''re going with, so with every game I think we''ve had to adjust and make some changes. I think our guys have responded well."
Grant knows there are challenges that come with playing a fast-paced game. One of the biggest is taking care of the basketball.
Alabama committed 16 turnovers Dec. 30 in a 77-65 victory against Tennessee State. Grant knows that can''t happen in the SEC.
"We need to let our possessions count, and that needs to be our focus," Grant said.
Alabama scores 72.5 points per game, which is tied for ninth in the SEC with Florida. Grant said that statistic must improve.
"The ability to score and convert is critical for us to play the way we want on both ends of the floor," Grant said. "We''ve done a pretty good job of sharing the basketball over the last two or three games."
The Crimson Tide rank sixth in the SEC with an average of 14.4 assists per game, but their assist/turnover ratio (1.2) is third.
Senior guard Mikhail Torrance and sophomore post player JaMychal Green will lead Alabama against LSU (9-5). Torrance is 10th in the SEC at 15.8 points per game, while Green is 11th (15.7). Green was chosen SEC Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 28.
Grant said Green has benefited from the experience he gained last year as a freshman.
"It helped him to understand how to be effective," Grant said. "The thing I''m most pleased about with him is figuring out how to stay on the floor. When we''re able to keep him out of foul trouble he''s been able to have some success in terms of scoring and rebounding.
"Our team understands we''re a better team when he''s involved. We need to get him the ball and allow him to affect the game the way he''s capable of doing it."