Alabama basketball has to 'prove it again' in NCAA Tournament
The losing streak makes the wins over some of the top programs from earlier in the season feel like distant memories.
The season has been an odd one as the Crimson Tide has lost to SEC programs that fired their head coaches. But that same Alabama team has found ways to beat some of the best in the country. It has wins over Gonzaga and Baylor, both 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament.
"Everyone knows what we have done this year," senior guard Keon Ellis said. "But all that's in the past and we've got to come out and prove it again in the March Madness tournament."
6-seed Alabama (19-13) will have its chance against 11-seed Notre Dame at 3:15 p.m. CT on Friday at Viejas Arena.
It will either break out of the troubling end-of-season trend, or it will end its season marred with inconsistency.
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"We're going out there with a fresh mindset to go play our hardest," guard Jaden Shackelford said. "I don't feel we necessarily have anything to prove but we've got to go out there and prove to ourselves that we can go out play for 40 minutes, play hard and give our best effort."
Alabama coach Nate Oats was asked how he can drive home point about no margin for error this time of year. He said the staff has been trying to simplify it and get the team taking care of the ball.
"If I had all those answers, I'd probably try to sprinkle the magic potion on them a little sooner than now," Oats said.
Soon after, he broke out a baseball metaphor.
"We don't need home runs," Oats said. "Just a bunch of singles. We're one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the country. If we get a shot up on the rim, we've got a chance to score. So let's take care of the ball and get a shot off. Let's make our layups. Vandy game, were 50 percent at the rim, it's not good enough to win against good teams. Take care of the ball, make your layups and free throws."
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