Alabama State is 337th of 347 Division I teams in Jeff Sagarin’s computer ratings, and the Hornets play in a Southwestern Athletic Conference that’s rated 31st out of 32 leagues.
However, UE gets Alabama State on an upswing when the teams tip at 1:05 p.m. Saturday in the Ford Center.
The Hornets (1-7) won their first game Thursday against Troy, a team they had already lost to this season, and their last two games marked their highest scoring output so far.
The difference? Key scorers redshirt senior forward Shawntez Patterson, junior guard Denzell McDaniel and senior forward Phillip Crawford were available.
“Those three players were having to take care of some academic issues during the first few games of the season,” said Darrell Orand, Alabama State’s media relations specialist.
Since logging their first minutes, Patterson is averaging 11.3 points per game (second on the team), McDaniel adds 8.3 and Crawford 6.3.
All three will likely start against UE.
“Since they’ve been back, (Alabama State has) played better,” said Aces coach Marty Simmons, “and those particular players have played well.”
UE has never lost to a SWAC opponent and earlier this season beat Alabama A&M, also from the conference, handily.