There Was No Quit In Alabama

Next year's Alabama basketball team will be entirely different from this season's squad. The Tide will lose players from the 2010 team and gain a few for 2011. Alabama's coach will have a better understanding of his players, and the returning players certainly will be more accustomed to the vigorous regimen. In those and other respects it is difficult to presage based on a game–or half game.



Against the hottest team in the Southeastern Conference not named Kentucky, Alabama was a completely different second half team and a winner over Arkansas Saturday afternoon. The Crimson Tide had almost a lethargic look coming out and trailing by nine at halftime.

Bama Coach Anthony Grant wasn't specific about his locker room discussion of that first half with his team, but it's reasonable to believe it was delivered with some heat.

Over the years I have seen many teams quit. I have seen it in football, particularly in the wishbone years of the Crimson Tide under Coach Paul Bryant. I saw it last fall as Coach Nick Saban's Crimson Tide began to dominate the opposition. I have seen it in basketball this year in one of Bama's wins.

I fully expected to see it from Alabama's basketball team in the second half Saturday. Bama did not quit.Indeed, the Tide came out for the second half with a resolve that matched that seen from any team in any sport at any time. It was relentless.

Is that the future of Alabama basketball under Grant? There is the immediate future, which matters, and there is the long-term future, which matters a lot more.

As for the immediate future, the Southeastern Conference is not brutal this year. It's no secret that Bama's 4-7 record could be 7-4 with three more field goals.

Alabama's remaining games are Georgia (on Saturday), Mississippi State and South Carolina on the road, Ole Miss and Auburn in Tuscaloosa. All winable, all loseable.

Alabama doesn't have scorers, which makes it difficult in a game decided by points. The secret to success is defense, and when the Tide is good, it is very, very good. Something from Saturday may carry over into the stretch run.

The Arkansas game may not come to mind at all next year (possibly save when the Tide plays the Razorbacks). The second half Saturday is not the only time Alabama has played fine defense, but considering the circumstances of facing a fifth straight defeat and winning in the final moments, it may be the face of future Anthony Grant Alabama basketball teams.

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