basketball-men-d1 flag

Alex Byington | The Decatur Daily | March 7, 2018

Alabama's confidence 'bigger than ever' entering SEC tournament

High Five: Best Final Four Cinderella stories

TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama ended the regular season with five straight losses and enter this week's Southeastern Conference tournament playing its worst basketball of the season.

MARCH MADNESS SHOP
But you wouldn't know it by the attitude inside the Crimson Tide locker room.

"I feel like the confidence in the locker room is probably bigger than ever, (even though) we lost five straight," Alabama freshman guard Collin Sexton said Tuesday. "So I feel like everybody's ready to play and will try to get this win Thursday."

March Madness: Possible NCAA tournament bids are at stake in these critical games

Ninth-seeded Alabama (17-14, 8-10 SEC) enters Thursday's noon tip against No. 8 seed Texas A&M (20-11, 9-9) needing a win for any hope of making the NCAA tournament.

But as far as the Crimson Tide is concerned, there is no looking beyond the current mission -- simply securing a win in its second-round matchup in St. Louis.

"Our resume speaks for itself, OK? Yes, we have had some disappointing losses, but we've won a lot of high-level games," Johnson said. "We've beaten a lot of really good teams. As much as we've had a five-game losing streak, we had a four-game winning streak in arguably the toughest conference this year in basketball. ... All those things are facts, but the tournament that we're focusing on today is the SEC tournament and how we can finish with one more point than Texas A&M. And that's all we're worried about. The rest of it will take care of itself."

NCAA conference tournament schedule: Tracking March Madness 2018 automatic bids

Thursday's game against the Aggies will be the second straight matchup between the familiar foes after A&M held on for a 68-66 win Saturday in College Station, Texas. Alabama beat the Aggies 79-57 on Dec. 30 in Tuscaloosa.

"This year during conference play, (it's been proven) anybody can beat anybody," Johnson said, "and we've had our share of losses, but we've had our share of wins against really good teams."

The winner plays top-seeded Auburn in the tournament quarterfinals at noon Friday.

March Madness live stream and TV schedule: How to watch every game

"This is a new season for us," Johnson said. "It's coming at a great time. We obviously didn't end the SEC regular season like we wanted to, but this is a new opportunity, one that anything can happen."

Alabama practiced before boarding a flight to St. Louis Tuesday evening, with plans to practice in the Scottrade Center today.

The Tide could again be without the services of freshman wing Herbert Jones, who suffered a concussion in the first half last week against Florida and then missed the Texas A&M game.

Jones was medically cleared to participate in "some parts" of the contact portion of Tuesday's practice, Johnson said, but his availability for Thursday's game remains a up in the air.

"Don't know his availability yet, we're going to have a pretty tough practice today, so we'll see how much of that practice he can participate in and how he recovers," Johnson said

This article is written by Alex Byington from The Decatur Daily, Ala. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

10 track and field athletes to watch in the 2019 NCAA championships

The NCAA track and field championships features some of the fittest and fastest athletes in the country every year, and 2019 is no exception. Here are the five female and five male athletes you won't want to miss.
READ MORE

UCLA wins Women's College World Series against Oklahoma on walk-off single

The 2019 NCAA Softball tournament continues with the Women's College World Series Finals. Check out the bracket, schedule and scores below.
READ MORE

The 5 lessons learned from Day 1 of the Women's College World Series

The first taste of victory in Oklahoma City is sweet, and for four teams — Arizona, UCLA, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma — the accomplishment of winning their opening game in the 2019 Women’s College World Series earned them the opportunity to stay alive in the championship bracket. Here are the five biggest lessons we learned from watching the opening games in this year’s Women’s College World Series. 
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners