‘Intense’ practices lead Tide into SEC tournament opener

It’s still basketball season, remember? The NFL draft hoopla yields the floor back to hoops. Here’s a look at today’s Alabama-South Carolina match up in the SEC first round …

TUSCALOOSA — Walking down a hallway below Coleman Coliseum, a group of Alabama basketball players shared a joke and a smile Tuesday afternoon.

AP photo

The atmosphere was light — a complete departure from the gloomy corridor outside the visitors’ locker room Saturday evening following an uninspired — and losing — effort at Ole Miss.

Alabama (20-10) was riding high on a four-game winning streak before Saturday’s demoralizing 60-51 loss. It was far from the momentum-builder the team had envisioned heading into the SEC tournament.

Ultimately, Tennessee’s win over Vanderbilt made the Crimson Tide’s loss irrelevant in the seeding process. Alabama’s No. 5 seed and today’s meeting with 12th-seeded South Carolina in New Orleans Arena still gives coach Anthony Grant’s team a shot at redemption on multiple fronts.

And the early week practices in Tuscaloosa included an extra message outside the game plan for South Carolina.

“It was probably the most intense practices we’ve had all year,” senior forward JaMychal Green said.

South Carolina earned one of its two league wins over Alabama on Jan. 25. It was the Tide’s fourth straight loss and one of the low points of the Crimson Tide’s season.

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