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December 9, 2010TUSCALOOSA _ University of Alabama men's basketball coach Antony Grant announced that JaMychal Green is expected to play Saturday at Providence.
The suspended junior forward returned to practice last week, first working with the scout team, but won't immediately jump back into the starting lineup.
"It's just a process of him getting acclimated," Grant said Thursday afternoon. "There are things as a team that you have to do, game to game, practice to practice, things you implement. He has to get caught up with some of the things that we put in during his absence."
When asked what some of those new things, Grant mentioned: "Tony Mitchell moving down to the power forward spot, from an offensive standpoint, trying to do some things trying to put some guys in position where they can be most effective."
That might indicate some more time at center for the 6-foot-8 Green, who is averaging 13.0 points and five rebounds per game. The preseason All-SEC selection was the Tide's top returning scorer and rebounds from last year, when he averaged 14.1 points and 7.2 rebounds.
Green missed three games after being suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. Alabama won the first two convincingly against Alabama A&M and South Alabama, but lost at No. 22/18 Purdue last Saturday, 66-47.
Without him, Mitchell has played a team-high 101 minutes and was a rebound shy of a double-double in all three games. Of his 37 rebounds, 11 have been offensive. He's averaged 15.3 points and 12.3 rebounds the past two games.
Tide heads to Providence
Alabama will look to play a little better away from Coleman Coliseum when it visits Providence on Saturday (1 p.m. on ESPNU). Alabama (4-4) went 0-3 at the Paradise Jam and lost at Purdue.
Although Providence (9-2) is coming off an 88-86 loss at Boston College on Wednesday, the Friars are unbeaten at home (8-0). Additionally, Alabama has never won a game on a Big East team's home court (0-10, with six of the losses to Louisville before it joined the conference).
"They're playing very good basketball as a team," Grant said. "Very, very explosive team."
Although Alabama beat Providence at Coleman Coliseum last year, 84-75, the Friars were ahead until Andrew Steele's layup put the Tide ahead with 1:10 remaining to spark a 10-0 closing run.
Most of the Providence roster is new, but Grant well remembers three holdovers, senior guard/forward Marshon Brooks, sophomore guard Vincent Council and sophomore center/forward Bilal Dixon.
Brooks is averaging 22.0 points and 8.7 rebounds, Council 16.7 points and 7.0 assists and Dixon 9.8 rebounds.
"We have to get better execution-wise," Grant said. "Taking care of the basketball has been a big issue for us all year. It's obviously an issue we have to get solved to give us a chance to win against the competition we're playing."
Women practice in Fosters
The women's basketball team practiced for the first time at its future permanent home, renovated Foster Auditorium, on Thursday.
Coach Wendell Hudson had high praise for the facility and atmosphere, but said the new floor was "bouncy."
"I thought one of the girls was going to dunk, I was so excited," he joked, but made a point to tell Grant because the men's team will practice there as well (Coleman is currenlty configured for graduation ceremonies).
Although school officials had targeted the Jan. 16 game against Arkansas for the facility's debut, that's again in flux. The final hurdle is the installation of the custom-made bleachers.
Women to face Kansas
Hudson is expecting a lot of scoring when the 8-1 women's team visits Kansas on Sunday.
"The score a lot of points so I expect the score to be 140-145, like an old ABA score," Hudson said. "We're excited to be making the trip, not the weather.
"We're looking for tests for the basketball team."
Kansas (8-0) visits Michigan tonight, but is averaging 85.3 points per game, which ranks ninth in the NCAA. Sophomore forward Carolyn Davis leads the Jayhawks with 19.0 points per game, followed by junior forward Aishah Sutherland (12.9) and sophomore guard Monica Engelman (12.6).