Desperate Alabama team looking to stop losing streak


CW/ Hannah Saad

Ben Stansell, Assistant Sports Editor

Alabama is looking to prevent its current losing streak from reaching four games with a win against Vanderbilt on Saturday. The Crimson Tide (15-11, 6-7 SEC) still has five games remaining in the regular season to bolster its case for the NCAA tournament. As of now, CBS Sports’ bracketology expert Jerry Palm has Alabama on the outside looking in as a part of his “first four out” group.

The Crimson Tide found itself in a similar position last year, when it lost its last five games of the season before winning two rounds in the SEC tournament. Forward Daniel Giddens doesn’t expect Alabama to let its current losing streak reach five games.

“Last year [the losing streak] got to five, and we ain’t going to make it to five,” Giddens said. “We’re going to try to prevent that at all costs, but we’re staying together in a way we didn’t last year.”

The mood in the locker room after Alabama’s crippling loss to Texas A&M on Tuesday night was glum, but coach Avery Johnson sees that as a positive.

“They were really dejected after that loss, which was a good sign,” Johnson said.

It means that his players aren’t numb to losing and are desperate to get back on the right track.

Even though Alabama lost to the Aggies, its players showed more energy than they had in previous losses. The loss to Texas A&M didn’t help the Crimson Tide’s chances, but it may push it to another level.

“Our players and staff want to win,” Johnson said. “Everybody is really passionate about this team. I’ve said it a million times: there’s still another level or two for us to go to.”

Alabama will attempt to reach another level higher against Vanderbilt, who is the only team in the SEC without a conference win. Alabama’s last victory came against the Commodores on the road.

“They got a lot of three-point shooters,” forward Riley Norris said. “They’re really aggressive, just a desperate team. And we’re looking to not give them their first win tomorrow night.”

To beat Vanderbilt again, Alabama will need to fix its offense, which has managed just 62, 53 and 56 points in its last three games. For the Crimson Tide, 70 points has been the magic number this season. Alabama is 15-3 in games where it’s totaled 70 or more points.

Johnson is optimistic that Alabama will be able to turn it around against Vanderbilt.

“We’ve just got to stay in the right mindset, make sure we’re ready to play and I think we can get this turned around.”

Alabama and Vanderbilt with tipoff at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday. It will be broadcasted on ESPNU.