Tide Won't Be Tired

Alabama's basketball team of only seven scholarshipped players may have been a little fatigued as the season came to an end. Bama looked tired in losing to hapless Mississippi State in the regular season finale and then ran out of gas in the Southeastern Conference Tournament against Kentucky, failing to score in the final four minutes in both the first hald and at the end of the game. Now the Tide is being sent across country to play on the first day of the NCAA Tournament.

But Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried emphasized, "Our guys won't be tired. Our guys would be ready if we played on Monday. In fact, I think we're better off playing quick. We don't have enough players to practice."

He said another reason that fatigue is not a factor in NCAA Tournament games is the television timeouts are "so long you could grab a pillow and take a nap. We won't be tired at all. Fatigue won't have anything to do with it."

Gottfried said the Tide would have "a couple of tough practices" before heading to San Diego, where Bama, the 10th seed in the Oakland bracket, will meet seventh seed Marquette on Thursday. He said the trip far from home means the players will be able to "focus on one game" since there will be few Tide fans following the team so far.

Alabama preparation got started even before the Tide hit the practice floor on Monday.

Sunday evening, Gottfried said that "Our staff does an excellent job of collecting (video)tapes of games all year long, so we have several tapes of Marquette games and we'll start studying them tonight."

Gottfried said, "There were times we could have played better, and I know the players would agree with that."

A point of emphasis in preparation will be offensive execution. "We've had some moments when we have not executed, and that affects shot selection," Gottfried said. "We need to push the ball more. If we have better shot selection, that leads to a higher percentage of shots made and more points."

He also said the Tide needed to work on "defensive lapses," such as Kentucky scoring on its final 11 possessions in the SEC Tournament. The Wildcats outscored Alabama 20-3 in the final minutes to erase a big Bama advantage and take a 68-61 win.

Turnovers and rebounding are also on the practice agenda.

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