The Crimson Tide really appear to be finding their rhythm during this must-win part of the SEC schedule, moving to 4-0 in conference play after Tuesday night's 18-point win over the Missouri Tigers.
The atmosphere in Coleman Coliseum was raucous and the team really seemed to feed off the energy of the building. From Coach DeBoer making an appearance, to Coach Oats getting physical with a Mizzou player, and the overall chippiness set the tone of the game and gave Bama a needed homecourt advantage. It wasn't the prettiest game, but the Tide withstood several Mizzou runs to finally put the game away late, winning by an impressive 18 points. The biggest concern going forward for the Tide is the health of Mark Sears, who tweaked his ankle at the end of the first half and wasn't much of a factor for the rest of the game.
With Sears limited in the game it was imperative that others stepped up and that is exactly what happened. Five Tide players reached double figures, led by Rylan Griffen and Aaron Estrada who both had 21. This team has figured out not only how to win, but how to withstand other team's runs in the 2nd half and it comes at the perfect time as SEC play is really beginning to pick up. The victory gives Coach Oats his 200th career win just in time for the Tide to travel to Knoxville on Saturday to take on the #6 Tennessee Volunteers. A win here would really let the college basketball world know that the Tide has arrived.
Up next for the Alabama Crimson Tide are two tough contests. First is a Saturday road date in Knoxville. The Vols are 13-4 and the three of the losses came against the nation's top teams. Next Wednesday the 14-2 Auburn Tigers will be in Tuscaloosa. Auburn's schedule has been easier than Bama's but Bruce Pearl has them playing well.