Jan. 22, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Trevor Releford drives the ball down court during the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats at Coleman Coliseum. Alabama won 59-55. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports
As Alabama is on the outside looking in at the NCAA tournament, their schedule looks favorable over the last six conference games. Although there are four games easy enough for the Tide to win, the back-to-back trips to Gainesville and Oxford give them opportunities at signature wins. The Tide can’t afford anymore slip-ups, or six-minute droughts without points for that matter. Let’s take a look at the remaining six games for Anthony Grant’s team.
Feb. 20: Mississippi State (7-17 overall, 2-10 SEC)
In the first matchup between these two teams, the Tide ran away with a 75-43 victory in The Hump. Levi Randolph lead Alabama with 18 points and 8 rebounds, while Rodney Cooper added 17 points. However, the Tide did shoot 53 percent from the field and 62 percent from 3-point range. You can’t count on this to happen again, but hopefully you can count on the home court advantage. Without too much trouble, the Tide should come away with this win.
Feb. 23: at LSU (15-9, 6-7)
Another rematch of an Alabama win from earlier in the season. When the Tigers came to visit Tuscaloosa, the Tide held a lead that got as big as 12 points throughout most of the game. However, Alabama hit a wall an only scored six points in the final five minutes, holding on to a 60-57 win. As they travel to Baton Rouge on Saturday, the Tide cannot afford to shoot 30 percent overall and 11 percent from beyond the arc. This cannot be a game they drop, or the whole season could be in jeopardy (NIT seeding included).
Feb. 26: Auburn (9-16, 3-9)
No one wants to hear anything more about the 49-37 loss at Auburn. However, there is no way the Tide can afford a loss here. A blowout win for Alabama is the only way to make up for the embarrassing loss at the beginning of the month. Fans better show up for this one, and not just for the Iron Bowl trophy presentation.
March 2: at No. 5 Florida (21-4, 11-2)
This is the game that catches everyone’s eye, especially the selection committee. Alabama currently controls their own destiny in the SEC after Florida’s loss to Missouri Tuesday night. So an unlikely win in the O’Dome may be the win to get everyone to forget the Tide’s losses to Mercer and Tulane. Moussa Gueye will have to have a career game to match up with the Florida forwards, and Lacey and Releford will have to be at their best to match Boynton, Rosario and Wilbekin. Nothing will come easy in this game, but we know Florida can be beaten. The Tide can only hope they can on March 2.
March 5: at Ole Miss (19-6, 8-4)
This is a game that can show a lot about how the Tide reacts. Whether Alabama is trying to bounce back from a blowout loss, a heartbreaking loss or an upset victory. This game in Oxford is by no means an easy game, but the Tide matchup much better with the Rebels than they do with the Gators. If Alabama can keep up with Ole Miss’s ability to shoot, there’s no reason the Tide’s defense can’t step up to win this game.
March 9: Georgia (12-13, 6-6)
The season finale is another rematch of an Alabama victory. The Crimson Tide welcome in the Bulldogs to Tuscaloosa for senior night, otherwise known as Andrew Steele night. A victory will be easy if the Tide can shut down Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Alabama traveled to Athens and pulled away an ugly 52-45 victory against Mr. KCP and Georgia. In a season finale and tune-up for the SEC tournament, the Tide need this one for momentum.