"I could say I'm not," Tide senior Emeel Salem said, "but I think we're all aware of what's going on,"
For the record, Alabama (27-22 overall, 11-13 SEC) is hanging by a thread onto the last available spot in the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Hoover on May 23-27. Only the top eight teams in the league make the conference tournament, making the final two weeks of the season a wild race.
"We've talked about it," Wells said, "but different teams respond differently. I certainly bring it up but to dwell on it, I don't think it makes us play better.
"Everyone with all the information out there and with all the media guys and us bringing it up, everybody knows we have to win, but having to win and being able to do it are different things."
The Crimson Tide leads Tennessee by three hundredths (.003) of a point for the final spot. Tennessee is 10-12 in the league, having played two fewer games due to bad weather that won't be made up.
Alabama plays SEC Western Division leader Arkansas at home this weekend, and second-place Western Division Mississippi State on the road in the SEC regular season finale. Tennessee finishes with a home contest against South Carolina and on the road at Florida, the second and third place teams in the East, respectively.
Kentucky trails Alabama by a half game, finishing the year at Ole Miss (tough) and at home against Auburn (easy). Bama has a healthy lead on Georgia and Auburn, who hasn't been to the SEC Tournament since 2003.
Winning four of the last six would almost assure the Crimson Tide a spot in the tournament. Three wins in the final six games would probably do it. Anything less and the Tide probably won't make it.
"As a coach, is (outfielder Kent) Matthes able to play? Can (Alex) Avila cover the outside part of the plate? Can we get our infielders to get to the bag and put the tag on the right side of the base? It overrides, ‘Hey, you've got to win this game or you turn in the jerseys in ten days,'" Wells said. "I've tried that, to talk about the urgency of it. It doesn't appear to help."
But Salem knows. The team still knows. The pressure is still there. Last year Bama's overachieving bunch was watching the standings as they battled for (and eventually shared with Kentucky) the SEC regular season crown. There was pressure then, too.
"It's different because we have a lot of new guys that have never experienced this," Salem said. "To make it simple we just need to win."
SEC STANDINGS THRU GAMES OF MAY 6
|SEC West||SEC Record||GB||Remaining Schedule|
|*Mississippi State||13-9||2||@UGA, ALA|
|*Ole Miss||13-11||3||UKY, @ARK|
|SEC East||SEC Record||GB||Remaining Schedule|
|*South Carolina||13-11||4||@UT, UGA|