As Anthony Grant and the Alabama Crimson Tide basketball team dropped another opportunity to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament, we look back at other missed opportunities from the (painful) 2012-13 season.
A December to Forget
Alabama started the season with six wins, including the tournament win in Madison Square Garden against Villanova. The Tide traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio to take on the 17th-ranked Bearcats on December 1, 2012. Tide fans had high hopes for the season and thought this could be the big win to jumpstart their season.
Looking back at this game now, it’s obvious that a win at Cincinnati could have been the quality win to bump Alabama over the bubble. Alabama had the momentum in this game, coming back from down 13 to take a two-point lead with 49 seconds.
This is when it fell apart for the Tide. For one of the few times this year, the Alabama defense was the problem. Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick took the ball coast-to-coast in six seconds for a layup to tie it. Alabama had a chance to win the game with just 40 seconds remaining, but a rushed jump shot by Trevor Releford gave the Bearcats a last chance. Cashmere Wright hit a buzzer beater and gave the home fans something to cheer for. It was Alabama’s first loss of the year, and a start to a long December.
We are not sure what happened to the talented Alabama team for the rest of the month, but we like to blame the tough loss at Cincinnati. The Tide traveled back home for a matchup with Dayton, which resulted in an 81-76 loss. Anthony got a ten-day break before returning to VCU. The homecoming was bittersweet, with the Tide dropping their third straight, 73-54.
After getting back on track with a road win against Texas Tech, the Tide returned to Coleman Coliseum to wrap up what was supposed to be an easy transition into conference play. The next two games just ended up being the worst part of the Alabama tournament resume: back-to-back home losses to Mercer (130 RPI) and Tulane (177 RPI).
SEC Road Trips
Alabama needed to beat the teams that they were favored against, even on the road, to improve their resume. However, road losses to Tennessee, Auburn and LSU did not end with Alabama victories. In all three games, the Tide led by at least ten points at some point in the game. This brings us back to the blown 8-point 2nd-half lead in Gainesville and the terrible road loss at Ole Miss.
This one is easy. Alabama had a ten-point lead blown against Tennessee but still had a chance to win it with a final shot. Even though Trevor Lacey might have been fouled on the final play, a fadeaway shot from the corner isn’t a good look with the game on the line.
Alabama traveled to Auburn to face a team having a very down year in what was supposed to be an easy conference win. This turned in to one of the worst offensive performance in Alabama history and a 49-37 loss.
Alabama was playing some of their best basketball all year when they went to Baton Rouge in a rematch against LSU. They held a ten-point lead with just under four minutes to go, then decided not to score for the rest of regulation. The Tide ended up dropping the game 97-94 in triple overtime. Questionable calls were once again prevalent but there are no excuses for blowing a double-digit lead after the final media timeout.
Alabama was given final chances at the beginning of March. Road trips to Gainesville and Oxford gave the Tide more chances to get the quality win that their resume needed to make the Tournament but we all know how both of those ended. An 8-point lead was blown by being outscored 27-7 in the final ten minutes in Gainesville. The trip to Oxford had a late and furious rally fall short in a high scoring 87-83 affair.
As all these opportunities have been passed up, it comes down to making a statement in the conference tournament. Be hopeful for rematches with Ole Miss and Tennessee to make up for some losses. A trip to the final could keep a bid to the Big Dance alive.