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Alabama close to NCAA bid

February 19, 2013

The Alabama Crimson Tide have quietly had a good season in Southeastern Conference play this season.

The Crimson Tide are 9-3 in SEC play and sit alone in second place. They have an overall record of 17-8.

Winners of its last three games. Alabama's Ratings Percentage Index is 59 according to ESPN's Joe Lunardi. 

Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant and his squad are not focused on the NCAA Tournament. They realize that they do not control the selection process.

"We're trying to take it one game at a time," Grant said. "We've had some challenging losses over the course of the non-conference and even in the conference. The only thing we can take care of is today. I don't know at the end of the day what'll happen, (or) at the end of the season. To be honest, I'm not spending a lot of time thinking about that right now. 

"For my team, every day we've got to come and play our best. If we don't, we could get beat on any given night. I understand that and I think our team is beginning to understand that. As long as you take care of yourself one game at a time, it'll shake out."

Tuesday's schedule in the Southeastern Conference features LSU at Tennessee and Missouri hosting Florida. Along with Mississippi State traveling to Alabama on Wednesday, Ole Miss travels to South Carolina, Auburn hosts Texas A&M and Vanderbilt makes the trip to Kentucky. On Thursday, Arkansas hosts Georgia. and Vanderbilt travels to MSU. Closing the week on Saturday, LSU hosts Alabama, South Carolina travels to Georgia, Texas A&M welcomes Tennessee, Ole Miss is at home against Auburn, Arkansas makes the trip to Florida and Missouri goes to take on Kentucky.

Calipari backtracks
from postgame comments

Kentucky suffered one its worst losses in season history on Saturday against Tennessee.

The Volunteers took an 88-58 decision over the Wildcats.

After the game, when Kentucky head coach John Calipari addressed the media, he wasn't too happy with his team.

"We've got a couple of guys that are basically not real coachable," Calipari said after the Tennessee game.

On Monday's SEC teleconference, he backtracked from those comments.
"During a game, on the bench, there are a lot of things I say," Calipari said. "If a guy is not listening, is not playing rough enough, is not coming up with 50/50 balls, there's a lot things I say, but this team is a bunch of good guys."

The Wildcats lost freshman forward Nerlens Noel to a knee injury last Tuesday. Before Noel went down, he was one of the better players for the Cats, especially on the defensive end. 

"We just lost our best player and why wouldn't a guy wouldn't listen, or why is he going out and not doing what we're asking him to do," Calipari said.

African-American coaches
finding a home in the SEC

Of the 14 teams in the SEC, seven have African-American head basketball coaches.

Mississippi State's Rick Ray, Alabama's Anthony Grant, LSU's Johnny Jones, Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin, Arkansas's Mike Anderson, Auburn's Tony Barbee and Missouri's Frank Haith have broken the color barrier in the SEC.

"It says a lot about the SEC," Ray said. "Sometimes when you hear (about) the South, me growing up in the Midwest, you have some negative connotations, especially when you start talking about places like Mississippi and Alabama, about race relations.

"It speaks volumes about the hiring process for the SEC and the schools in the SEC, that they would reach out and have this many African-American head coaches."

For Ray, he doesn't see it as a big deal that seven African-Americans are head coaches. It feels it has been totally accepted.

"The bigger story is that fact that it’s not a story," Ray said. "The thing the SEC should be most proud of is that us having this many African-American head coaches is really not a big story, because that means it’s accepted here in the South, and it’s really not a problem."

There have been African-Americans that have paved the way for the seven in the league today. A couple proved with national championships that they could compete in this league.

"You look at a guy like Nolan Richardson who was Arkansas and the success he enjoyed there winning a national championship," Grant said. "(There's) Tubby Smith at Kentucky winning a national championship. If nothing else, if the support's there, the resources and guys do a job you can compete for championships in this league. Those guys are really the guys that paved the way for a guy like myself and other coaches across the league."

Powell, Frazier
honored by SEC

Arkansas's Marshawn Powell was selected as the SEC Player of the Week and Florida's Michael Frazier III earned SEC Freshman of the Week.

The 6-foot-7, 240-pound junior Powell averaged 22 points, 5.5 rebounds, two assists and 1.5 blocks in wins over Auburn and Missouri last week.
Frazier, at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, averaged nine points, two rebounds and an assist in wins over Kentucky and Auburn. 

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