Alabama basketball coach Anthony Grant has labeled the college basketball season a marathon on numerous occasions. The 2012-2013 marathon for the Crimson Tide has been one full of more bumps and valleys than those found on an Olympic marathon course.
The Tide started the season 6-0, but have lost six of its last eight. Not everything has been negative, however, as Alabama was most recently within six points of the No. 10 Missouri Tigers with seven minutes to go before losing 84-68 on the road.
“At the end of the day, we always look at results,” Grant said while swatting down the positive thought of outrebounding the Tigers. “I think myself, the staff and the players are all prepared to go out and win the game.
“One thing that we’ve talked about all season long is how we need to do a better job of rebounding the basketball. It was good to see our guys go out there and compete on the glass. But at the end of the day we’re going to judge ourselves by winning games.”
Alabama’s pressure to win will only grow larger now, as the Tide prepares to host rival Tennessee.
“Tennessee’s a very disciplined team, a very well-coached team,” Grant said. “They’re coming off of a tough loss so I would expect they’re going to come out with great intensity. we have to do a great job of taking care of the basketball and playing with intensity defensively. We have to be able to bring pressure of
Grant said Tennessee’s most recent loss, 92-74 to Ole Miss in their SEC opener, went much like Alabama’s loss to Missouri, in which the Rebels pulled away in the last 10 minutes of the second half.
“I thought for 30 minutes of the game, it could’ve gone either way,” Grant said. “It was a one or two-possession game with about six minutes left there.”
But Alabama, as Grant said earlier, has not the situation for moral victories like the one against Missouri.
“We’ve got to build some common experiences and we’ve got to do it quickly,” Grant said. “We have to understand what it takes on a consistent basis. We have to understand the intensity and focus we have to play with for 40 minutes. We can’t play casual.”
Contributed by Brett Hudson
Video of today’s news conference with Grant and players Trevor Releford and Andrew Steele: