Good & Bad News For Tide Basketball

Trevor Releford seems to be marching to the beat of a different drummer. While Releford has been all-star caliber this season, his Alabama teammates haven't kept up as the Crimson Tide is headed for its worst season in decades. The good news is that Bama will be on its home court Saturday. The bad news is that Missouri, which beat Alabama by 21 points a month ago, is the opponent.

Alabama senior basketball guard Trevor Releford has made a three-point basket in the final second of Bama's last three games. Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide, only one of the treys was enough to help Bama get a victory. In Alabama's last home game, Releford's three-pointer with six-tenths of a second gave the Tide a 67-64 win over Ole Miss. A few nights later on the road at South Carolina, Releford's three-pointer went down as time expired in a 67-66 loss to the Gamecocks. Thursday night, Releford again made a trey as time expired, but it was irrelevant in a game in which Texas A&M routed Alabama, 63-48, in College Station.

With his 20 points against Texas A&M, Releford has four straight games of 20 or more points and has reached that plateau in six of the last eight games and 11 times this year. Meanwhile, Bama has lost six of its last seven games and now stands at 10-16 overall and 4-9 in Southeastern Conference games.

With only five regular season games remaining, it is mathematically impossible for Alabama to have a winning record and wildly improbable the Tide could have a break-even SEC mark in regular season play.

Alabama last had a losing record in 1998, when David Hobbs's Tide went 14-15 in regular season play (15-16 after going 1-1 in the SEC Tournament) and 6-10 in the SEC. Hobbs was fired at the conclusion of the season, his only losing season in six campaigns.

Anthony Grant is winding up his fifth season as Bama head coach.

Bama begins its final five games of regular seasojn play hosting Missouri at 7 p.m. Saturday in Coleman Coliseum. ESPN2 will televise the game. On Jan. 18 in Columbia, the Tigers trounced Bama, 68-47. Although Alabama has a 4-3 all-time record against Missouri, the Tigers have won the last three meetings.

Alabama is playing at home for only the second time in its last six games and it will be the last and third time for Bama to be in Coleman Coliseum in the month of February. The Tide is 10-4 overall in Tuscaloosa and 4-2 in SEC home games.

Releford has led the Tide in scoring in 17 of UA's 26 contests this season and, of course, is Bama's leading scorer at 19.0 points per game. That ranks fifth in the SEC. He has been in double figures in 27 consecutive games dating back to last season. Releford has connected on 50.5 percent (154-of-305) of his shots from the floor (7th in the SEC) and a team-best 40.3 percent (60-of-149) from beyond the arc (5th in the SEC). He also leads the SEC and ranks 28th nationally with 2.2 steals per game and leads the Tide with 2.8 assists per contest (10th in the conference). He is the only player who ranks in the top ten in the SEC in those statistics.

With junior forward Nick Jacobs having been granted a "leave of absence" in the stretch run, Releford has only seven scholarshipped teammates. They are junior guards Levi Randolph and Algie Key, soph guard Retin Obasohan, junior forward Rodney Cooper, freshman forward Shannon Hale, junior post player Carl Engstrom, and freshman post Jimmie Taylor.

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