Bama Basketball Doing Best It Can

Here is where some don't seem to get it. Is it better to be in the NCAA Tournament than in the NIT? No question. Even one-and-done in the NCAA has greater effect for a basketball team than an NIT appearance. Why argue that? The point is, it wasn't Alabama's choice to be in the NIT. Bama was not selected for the NCAA Tournament. Thus, the Crimson Tide now does the best it can with what it has.

Is that so hard to understand? Why take a shot at Alabama for being in the NIT?

The best the Crimson Tide of Coach Anthony Grant can do is continue to win, which is more than 36 teams selected for the NCAA Tournament can do. By this evening, the NCAA is down to 32. Not included are the likes of Georgia, Tennessee, and UAB (not to mention a handful of Big East squads), teams that many thought should have been behind Southeastern Conference Western Division champion Bama in the much-criticized NCAA selection process.

Meanwhile, Alabama hopes to continue NIT play and the practice time that goes with it. Alabama disposed of Coastal Carolina, 68-44, in the first round. Next up in Coleman Coliseum at 8 p.m. CDT Monday is New Mexico, a 69-57 winner over UTEP in its first round game. ESPN will televise the Monday contest. If Alabama wins the Tide will play again Wednesday in Coleman Coliseum against the winner of the Miami-Missouri State game.

Alabama is 22-11 this year, New Mexico 22-12.

The Lobos of Coach Steve Alford have averaged 73.4 points per game this year. That will be a challenge for Bama, which has held opponents to only 58.8 points per game. The squads are very close in scoring margin with Alabama scoring 66.7 points per game and having a 7.9 margin, New Mexico holding opponents to 65.7 points per game and having a 7.7 margin. The Lobos have a more impressive rebounding resume, getting 37.3 per game and having a 6.3 margin to the Tide's 36.6 and 3.2.

Alabama does a better job in turnover mrgin, steals, and blocked shots.

Alabama is undefeated in 17 games at Coleman Coliseum this season. Bama has won 17 of its last 22 games this season. New Mexico also comes in hot, having won five of its last six games.

The Tide is in its first postseason appearance since 2007 and its 11th NIT appearance in program history. Bama is 18-13 all-time in the event.

Monday's game will be seventh home NIT game for the Tide. UA is 4-2 in the previous six games. The Tide has won four-straight NIT home contests.

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