Alabama Vs. LSU Again...In Hoops

This sounds familiar. In the 1970s, when Alabama football under Coach Paul Bryant was piling up championships and dominating the Southeastern Conference, C.M. Newton was trying to build a basketball program. Newton had a good line: SEC foes couldn't beat Bama in football so they tried to get their revenge in basketball.

That's not really how it was then as Newton's basketball team became dominant, too. It's likely, though, that Alabama Basketball Coach Anthony Grant is glad that his Crimson Tide men's team will be hosting LSU in Coleman Coliseum Wednesday night.

The Crimson Tide football team of Coach Nick Saban spent Monday night dismantling the LSU football team in the national championship game. Bama basketball will tip off against LSU at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the first home game of 2012 for Alabama. CSS will televise the game regionally.

Last Saturday the Tide opened SEC play with a 74-59 win at Georgia, Bama's fourth consecutive victory. Alabama is 12-3 on the season. LSU also opened SEC competition with a win, defeating Ole Miss, 81-55, in Baton Rouge. The Fighting Tigers are 11-4 on the season.

Alabama has won 25 of its last 26 games in Coleman Coliseum. Bama has swept LSU the past two years and the Tigers haven't won in Tuscaloosa since 2004. Bama holds an all-time advantage of 100-66 against LSU.

Alabama's 21-0 win over LSU in New Orleans in the BCS National Football Championship Game wasn't overlooked in the basketball department.

Grant said, "My hope is our guys will be excited and ready to go. We're very happy and excited for what the football team was able to accomplish, but we understand that we have an opportunity to control our own destiny in the league and LSU is a very, very tough opponent.

"We've got to come locked in, focused, and ready to control what we can control."

Senior forward JaMychal Green said, "We anticipate there being a lot of energy in the building after the job our football team did Monday. LSU is a very physical team and you have to be mentally ready for that. They have some great shooters and inside players, so, once again, I think it's going to come down to our ability to defend."

That is ordinarily a good thing.

The Tide's scoring defense is 10th in the nation by allowing only 55.9 points per game. Only four Alabama opponents have reached the 60-point mark and four have failed to reach 50.

Grant said that LSU has impressed him with new additions. "They are an impressive group," the Tide coach said. He noted the play of freshman point guard Anthony Hickey and said that freshman Justin Hamilton is leading the league in offensive rebounds.

The Rebels also return experienced players in the likes of Ralston Turner and Andre Stringer.

"They are a really physical team with good size, speed, quickness, and skill level," Grant said. "They can shoot the ball very well. They are turning people over about 18 times per game."

Alabama has been led by sophomore point guard Trevor Releford, who is averaging 16.5 points per game in the Tide's most recent four games. He is 26-37 from the field, and has 13 assists and 12 steals during that period.

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