Here are three questions for the Alabama Crimson Tide as it enters SEC Tournament play at the New Orleans Arena.
Anthony Grant's Alabama teams are 2-2 all-time in SEC Tournament play.
Is there reason for concern following the Ole Miss loss?
You mean, other than the Crimson Tide's inability to score the basketball? If so, then, no, not really.
After all, the concern coming out of Ole Miss was the same going in: this team is vulnerable to long stretches of horrid shooting. Combine that with turnovers and Alabama is capable of losing to anybody. So, in witnessing about as painful of a half of offensive basketball imaginable, we didn't learn anything new or alarming about the Crimson Tide in Oxford.
While it's not exactly going out on a limb to say UA's season will end when it's perimeter players fail to hit enough shots, that is how it will ultimately go down.
Is it realistic to think Alabama can win four games in four days?
Different sport, but the credo remains the same for the Crimson Tide in New Orleans: D-E-F-E-N-S-E. Simply put, UA's work on that end of the floor will go a long way in determining the Crimson Tide's length of stay in the Crescent City.
Unfortunately for this Alabama team, Jordan Jefferson doesn't play point guard for Florida or Kentucky.
What is the Crimson Tide playing for this weekend?
In terms of tangible items, in addition to capturing its first SEC Tournament title in more than 20 years, Alabama will look to improve on its seeding for the NCAA Tournament. With an RPI of 32, the Crimson Tide heads into its first-round meeting with South Carolina safely inside the cut line, so even a second loss to the lowly Gamecocks wouldn't be enough to keep it from its first NCAA Tournament appearance under coach Anthony Grant.
Should Alabama beat the Gamecocks before bowing out to, say, UF in the quarterfinals, an appearance in an 8-9 matchup would seem likely. Win a couple of games this weekend and perhaps a No. 7 seed comes into focus.
Perhaps more than anything else, though, Grant's team needs to avoid a one-and-done from a psychological standpoint. Two straight losses heading into the Big Dance isn't on the list of prerequisites for teams looking to make a run beyond the first weekend.
SEC Tournament projection:
Thursday: Alabama (-9) 61, South Carolina 53.
Friday: Florida 64, Alabama 62.
Projected NCAA Tournament seed: 9.
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