One day into the three game series that will determine if Alabama makes the SEC baseball tournament, the respirator is still on.
The Crimson Tide’s 11-3 win over Tennessee is one-third of the sweep it will most likely need to grab that eighth and final spot. Kentucky lost 8-6 to Georgia, so now Alabama just needs an LSU loss Mississippi State in the next two days, coupled with that sweep of the Vols.
LSU survived a 14-13 series opener with the Bulldogs on Thursday to keep things interesting.
And now, a slight change to a daily feature. Instead of featuring only the great Kige Ramsey, the Bama Blog will now present a general YouTube video of the day. Some will be funny, others more interesting. Today, we start with funny. Enjoy.
For a non-football weekend, this coming edition will be a busy one with a lot on the line for a host of Alabama sports. Here is a quick breakdown:
- The Crimson Tide baseball team is fighting for a spot in the SEC tournament. As one of a four-team deadlock for that eighth spot, Alabama needs to sweep Tennessee this weekend to have a shot. LSU and Kentucky also need to lose at least one game this weekend to keep the Tide in contention. Two Alabama wins coupled with two losses apiece from LSU and Kentucky also gets Mitch Gaspard’s team to Hoover.
- On the softball field, the No. 1 overall-seeded Tide hosts UAB, Lipscomb and Alcorn State in the Tuscaloosa Regional. Riding high after winning the SEC tournament a week ago, coach Patrick Murphy’s squad is pointed towards the young program’s first national title.
- Speaking of NCAA championships, the Alabama women’s golf team is in the hunt. The Tide is second in the championship, trailing USC by seven strokes after the second round in Wilmington, N.C. Stay tuned for updates.
- The men’s golf team is seeded fifth in the New Haven Regional that starts Thursday. It won the regional round a year ago with the core of that team back.
Alabama leads No. 2 UK 40-34 with 16:48 to play in the SEC tournament second round.
Follow the action on our twitter feed by clicking here.
UPDATE: They didn’t hang on long enough. Kentucky wins 73-67.
It’s a soggy Friday in Nashville, but the multiplying Kentucky fans are not hiding away. They still litter the streets around Bridgestone Arena looking for tickets. Scalpers are getting several hundred bucks for tickets to today’s noon meeting with Alabama in the SEC tournament second round.
Ticket sellers are even trying to sell me tickets as I walk by with my pass around my neck. It’s a free for all out there.
No real news to report just yet. There are debates around the media room about a potential Alabama trip to the NIT, but that’s hardly newsworthy.
Check back later for updates and follow the Bama Blog twitter feed during the game.
Did Alabama really just erase an 18-point deficit to win a basketball game? Apparently, so.
South Carolina tried to nurse a progressively evaporating lead late in the second half only to see Alabama yank away a 68-63 win in the SEC tournament opener.
The same Alabama team who blew lead after lead, including a 23-pointer at Ole Miss, turned the tables on what once appeared to be an inspired South Carolina team.
Time to write now, but I still don’t really believe what just transpired. Kentucky is up next. The Tide will need even more magic to repeat that tomorrow.
(AP photo of Mikhail Torrance)
We’re about a half hour from tipoff between Alabama and South Carolina in the tournament’s first game. Crimson Tide and Gamecock fans are outnumbered, however, by a a fan base that doesn’t even have a team playing Thursday. Blue-shirted Kentucky fans are everywhere getting an early look at who they’ll play Friday. See in game updates on Bama Blog twitter.
From reading stories coming out of Kentucky, it’s clear Alabama native DeMarcus Cousins is not regretting his decision to play with the Wildcats instead of the Crimson Tide.
Both the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader wrote stories about Cousins’ distaste for his in-state school that recruited him without success. Tonight, he’ll get a chance to work through his frustrations with an 8 p.m. showdown with the Tide on ESPNU.
I’d suggest reading both stories for an interesting look at one of the several players from Alabama who went out of state.
On a side note, news yesterday saddened this blogger. Cacie Pope, a women’s basketball player I covered while at student at Western Kentucky, passed away after battling brain cancer. May she rest in peace.
There is no mistaking the difference between the football and basketball editions of this event. The buzz is muffled in Birmingham today compared to what it was a few months ago in Hoover.
But there were still a few stars.
Kentucky’s John Calipari led off the day’s events with an hour in front of print reporters. He sounded optimistic about the SEC’s ability to bounce back and even predicted seven or eight league teams would make the NCAA tournament. Alabama coach Anthony Grant agreed with that.
Read more tomorrow and in the coming days about some of the story lines coming out of the event.
You’ll be interested to hear Calipari’s take on Alabama football coach Nick Saban.
In this amateur photo I took, notice the difference in the crowd surrounding Calipari compared to the Arkansas women’s player in the foreground.
If you don’t want to wait for it to come on television, you can always check out the replays on the Southeastern Conference site.
To see Saturday’s game in its entirety, click this link.
Stay tuned Monday for the usual load of news. Rolando McClain will have a good shot at SEC defensive player of the week with his 12 tackles, interception and force fumble.
The pregame depth chart lists the same Alabama linebacker lineup that finished out last Saturday’s win over Arkansas after Dont’a Hightower’s injury.
SAM: Eryk Anders
MIKE: Rolando McClain
WILL: Cory Reamer
JACK: Courtney Upshaw
The weather is perfect and the kickers are warming up. Stay tuned for more later.
I know this is devastating news, but Friday’s regularly scheduled live chat won’t happen this week.
This sports writer will be driving to Kentucky Friday afternoon for Saturday’s game. Sorry to disappoint.
In attempt to salvage something, please post your score predictions in the comment section.
Another perfectly sunny afternoon in Tuscaloosa had the Crimson Tide practicing outdoors again today. As seen in the point-and-shoot photo masterpiece above, the defensive line was where I spent most of my media-viewing period today.
Check out the photo gallery below for more pictures of the first and second teams working on the Kentucky game plan led mostly by coach Sal Sunseri — easily the most excitable coach that we can see in practice everyday.
Over on the exercise bike was Jeramie Griffin, the sophomore running back who tore his ACL early in August preseason practice.
Kentucky coach Rich Brooks certainly has respect for the defense Alabama will bring to town Saturday. Speaking on the SEC teleconference, Brooks said the Crimson Tide defense is better than Florida’s which he saw last Saturday, at least statistically.
He wouldn’t be wrong, but Florida’s defense frustrated Kentucky all afternoon, holding the Wildcats down in a 41-7 win.
Read more in the coming days about his plan to increase productivity against Alabama.