Tide Not Looking for Patterns

Mark Gottfried said his team's poor performance against Florida in which the Tide was outscored, outrebounded and outplayed in every area on Saturday hasn't been a pattern for his 2004-05 team, and the coach's focus is now on preventing that sort of pattern from forming.

"The first thing for us is we need to bounce back. It's obvious we didn't play well in Gainesville and we've got a lot to learn from that game. We have to look in mirror and move on," Gottfried said at his Monday afternoon press conference.

Alabama remained alone atop the Southeastern Conference Western division standings as division rivals LSU and Mississippi State both also lost decisively on Saturday. Alabama is 17-4 overall and 6-2 in the SEC. The Tide travels to Knoxville on Wednesday to face 11-11 (4-5 SEC) Tennessee at 8 p.m. EST (7 p.m. CST). The game will be televised by Jefferson Pilot.

As much as Florida has had Alabama's number in recent years, the Tide has owned Tennessee both at home and on the road, winning its last five against the Vols over the past three years.

"I think you need to study the film, which we've done. We're going to coach our players on those areas where we felt like we were week and then you move on. It's no different than if you win a game like we did against MSU," Gottfried said. "You can't walk into Knoxville with your head between your legs thinking about last week. We need to address it, coach our players like we been coaching them."

Tennessee has a balanced attack led by Scooter McFadgon with 14.7 points per game. One of those players in double figures, 6-10 senior forward Brandon Crump, has missed the past four games with an ankle injury suffered against Louisville on January 22. His return. Crump is likely to return for Wednesday night's game.

"They have been playing a smaller lineup and defending well (without Crump). They're playing the style that they want to play and they've had success with that," Gottfried said.

Gottfried said Bama's chances Wednesday night hinge on the way his squad responds to adversity.

"One thing we have done well is had great poise on the road. We got down at Arkansas and had great poise and got back to where we took the lead. At Mississippi and at Charlotte we kept our poise and did the same thing," Gottfried said. "All those areas where we had poise then, we didn't have it Saturday. When that happens against a good team like Florida, and they are hungry and looking for a win, all of a sudden it's a blowout."

Kennedy Winston struggled against the Gators, but still shares the team scoring lead with Earnest Shelton at 17.2 points per game. Chuck Davis is now averaging 14 per game for Bama, while Jermareo Davidson and Ron Steele are scoring 8.5 and 8 points per game, respectively.

Alabama enters the game averaging 77.5 points per game and shooting 48.2 per cent from the field, while Tennessee averages 70 points per game and shoots 46.3 per cent field goal shooting. Alabama has the statistical edge in most categories, including rebounding margin, scoring defense, turnover margin and assist-to-turnover ratio.

Alabama returns home Saturday to face Mississippi at 6 p.m.


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