Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Time for Alabama basketball to look ahead, not back

The last few weeks have certainly been a whirlwind for the Alabama men’s basketball team.

The team was riding high after a double-overtime win against Ole Miss in early February. Since then, however, things have been anything but normal.

First, there was the suspension of Tony Mitchell for conduct detrimental to the team – not expected, but not a surprise.

The team survived Auburn without him. In fact, it was the one of the most dominant basketball wins against the Tigers in basketball history.

But then things really took a turn for the worst. Trevor Releford, JaMychal Green and Andrew Steele were all suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Do we even have to talk about the disaster in Baton Rouge that night?

Releford and Steele were reinstated after just one game, but a sense of uncertainty still lingered around the team as it fell to Florida on Valentine’s Day.

The team finally got a shorthanded win, a gritty effort against Tennessee at home, but the uncertainty remained – will Tony Mitchell or JaMychal Green be back this season? When?

Well, Alabama fans got their answer Monday afternoon. Mitchell is suspended for the rest of the season, and Green is back at practice – he will not be available for Thursday’s game at Arkansas.

And now, it’s time to move forward.

The Tide is still very much in the tournament hunt. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi projects the Tide as a No. 10 seed in the NCAA tournament, and many other pundits like him seem to agree that Alabama is positioned to make the tournament as one of the last at-large teams.

A four-game stretch remains to determine its fate.

First up, are the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville on Thursday – a very winnable game even with Green not playing.

Then the Tide welcomes Mississippi State and Auburn to Coleman Coliseum. The Bulldogs will be a tough test, but Green has matched up well against their big men this season and last. Alabama has also already beaten Auburn without Tony Mitchell in the lineup.

Finally, Alabama finishes its season on the road at Ole Miss. The Rebels have struggled this season, and have already lost to Alabama once.

Is it possible that the Tide could win out? Absolutely. Alabama showed it could win without its two stars in the lineup against Tennessee. Getting one of them back only helps its chances.

Right now, the focus is on the future. Green will be back eventually, and Mitchell is done for the season. There are no more questions about suspensions or eligibility. It’s time to move forward with what could be a defining season for Alabama basketball.

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