Did Alabama really just erase an 18-point deficit to win a basketball game? Apparently, so.
South Carolina tried to nurse a progressively evaporating lead late in the second half only to see Alabama yank away a 68-63 win in the SEC tournament opener.
The same Alabama team who blew lead after lead, including a 23-pointer at Ole Miss, turned the tables on what once appeared to be an inspired South Carolina team.
Time to write now, but I still don’t really believe what just transpired. Kentucky is up next. The Tide will need even more magic to repeat that tomorrow.
(AP photo of Mikhail Torrance)
We’re about a half hour from tipoff between Alabama and South Carolina in the tournament’s first game. Crimson Tide and Gamecock fans are outnumbered, however, by a a fan base that doesn’t even have a team playing Thursday. Blue-shirted Kentucky fans are everywhere getting an early look at who they’ll play Friday. See in game updates on Bama Blog twitter.
To catch the replay of the Alabama/South Carolina game at anytime commercial-free, you can always check out the SEC Digital Network.
To save you the searching, I’ve provided the link right here.
And for a video of Saturday’s Rammer Jammer, see below.
It wasn’t pretty, but Alabama improved to 7-0 with a 20-6 win over South Carolina. Here is the first few paragraphs of the game story you can expect in the morning.
By Michael Casagrande
TUSCALOOSA ― Penalties, interceptions and continued red zone failure.
All set the table for an upset loss for second-ranked Alabama in a chilly Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night.
The difference ― as it had been most of the season ― was Mark Ingram and the devastating Crimson Tide defense.
Alabama’s bruising back piled up 246 yards on 24 runs as he carried the Tide to an ugly 20-6 win over No. 22 South Carolina. It was the second-best rushing performance nationally this season and one of the best coach Nick Saban said he’s ever seen.
“I tell you, if we had a whole team of guys who played like that, the sky would be the limit in terms of the heart and character that he plays with,” Saban said.
Welcome to a chilly Bryant-Denny Stadium. The crowd is still partying outside the stadium and they can’t be warm. Check out the following picture of the expansion in the south end zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Check back later for any news updates.
On the day before the homecoming game, here are a few of the headlines making news for the Crimson Tide’s opponent.
- Second-leading rusher Jarvis Giles is not coming to Alabama. He was suspended for the game according to The State newspaper of Columbia. Read more about it here.
- Keeping with the freshman theme, read this story about new receiver Alshon Jeffery in the Greenville News by clicking here.
- But back to the not so pleasant for South Carolina, it looks like a starting lineman is no longer a Gamecock. It looks like Heath Batchelor left the team according to this story.
- For a little extra on the South Carolina offensive line, the State wrote this story about the shuffling front that has an eye on stopping Terrence Cody.
Here is some interesting reading to chew on with your Thursday lunch. Don’t kill the messenger, but check out the following column by the Charlotte Observer’s Tom Sorensen.
The link is here.
A quick preview: He likes South Carolina’s chances in Saturday’s visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium. Enjoy.
It’s just a lazy afternoon in the media room for this beat writer (not really). But since I’ve neglected this space all day, here are a few nuggets to chew on. (Again, none of that Bleacher Report stuff will appear on this blog)
- The Associated Press wrote an interesting piece about Nick Saban/Steve Spurrier angle for Saturday’s game. Read it here.
- Doug Segrest, formerly of the Decatur Daily now of the Birmingham News, did a midseason report for the SEC. Take a gander by clicking this.
- Bobby Jackson, the first quarterback to play under Bear Bryant at Alabama, died Monday at age 73. Read more about him in this story from the Mobile Press-Register.
- The original Big Al mascot costume is headed for its final resting place — the Bear Bryant Museum. Don’t believe me? Then click this.
- In case you’ve followed jtbowtie on YouTube, you’ll want to see his latest effort that breaks down the South Carolina and Tennessee games. It’s not flattering for the Gamecocks or Vols if you had to guess.
Six days before kickoff, we now know exactly when Alabama’s homecoming game with South Carolina will begin.
It will be a 6:45 p.m. (Central) start time for the game that will be televised on ESPN.
The Arkansas at Florida got the 2:30 p.m. time slot and the CBS telecast.
Now felt like a good time to take a break from the normal Thursday marathon of story writing. Keep an eye out for Friday’s story that takes a behind the scenes look at how the Bryant-Denny Stadium field stays so dry in spite of heavy rain showers.
- Former Alabama player Tommy Johnson was hired to coach the Lexington Horseman of the af2 where he will coach against the Tennessee Valley Vipers. Read more here.
- Check out Nick Saban’s interview and preview of the Arkansas game with ESPN by clicking here.
- My Saturday story will deal with Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett. If you want a head start on your homework, check out this story about the cannon-armed QB.
- See USA Today’s prediction of Saturday’s game by clicking this link.
- Tonight’s game between Ole Miss and South Carolina will be fascinating to see just how good the Rebels will be. No, it won’t tell the full story, but it should give us a better idea of how the Tide’s Oct. 10 game in Oxford stacks up.
- Don’t forget to come back at noon Friday for the weekly Alabama chat. See you then.
One South Carolina ballplayer Alabama won’t have to prepare for is backup infielder Casey Rihn. Gamecock coach Ray Tanner said Rihn was “dismissed” from the team following an unfortunate run-in with Columbia, S.C. police Saturday night.
Read the followed Associated Press story for just what got Rihn booted from the roster:
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina coach Ray Tanner has dismissed backup infielder Casey Rihn following the player’s weekend arrest for public drunkenness and resisting arrest.
Tanner said on the Southeastern Conference’s coaches teleconference Monday morning that Rihn was no longer on the team. The 21-year-old was arrested around 2 a.m. Sunday after police said he used his hands to hit the back of a passing police cruiser.
Columbia police officials said he continued to hit the car after officers stopped and told him he was under arrest. Rihn tried to pull away and was placed face-down on the ground after he continued to struggle.
Rihn was released from jail Sunday evening on a personal recognizance bond. It was unclear whether he had an attorney. He didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail Monday.
Well, the regular season is now in the books and Auburn took momentum despite Alabama’s 13-3 win in that final game. The Tigers took two of the three games to end the Tide’s bid for an SEC title.
So Alabama went from a potential No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament to the No. 4 playing five-seed South Carolina at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. The offense that disappeared in losses (3-2, 3-1) reappeared in the 13-3 win in the final game.
The moral of the story: Rivalry series are big regardless of the records. Auburn played spoiler and possible nosed its way into the NCAA field. We will find out next Sunday when the pairings are released.
Between now and then, expect a decent amount of Alabama baseball coverage.