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Visiting Alabama Trounces Ole Miss To Notch Third Straight Conference Win

Ingram WorleyCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2009

Doctor, we've got no pulse. 

Bring in the crash cart!!

CLEAR!

Nothing, hit him again!

CLEAR!

Beep, beep, beep, beep.

Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Miss., the corpse formally known as Alabama's basketball program was shocked back to life, demoralizing Ole Miss with a 90-69 victory.

The win was Alabama's first on the road in the SEC in their last 19 tries.

The win also marked Alabama's third straight conference victory, a season high.

The game was significant for several reasons.

In a year when most of the Alabama faithful had given up long ago, interim head coach Phillip Pearson did what ousted coach Mark Gottfried had not been able to do in over two years: win an SEC game on the road. 

Somehow, unbelievably, Alabama is still alive to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Western Division and secure a first-round bye in the SEC tournament. 

While I am not shouting that Alabama is now a contender to run off the streak of wins it would take to garner the automatic NCAA tourney bid for winning the SEC tournament, I will promise you this: Alabama has now become a team that nobody wants to play in a "one and done" situation.

With absolutely nothing to lose, Alabama has found a way to put together its best stretch of basketball this season.

The win sets up an interesting matchup with a surprising Auburn team this Tuesday night in Tuscaloosa.  The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.  

Alabama will have a chance to win its fourth conference game in a row, a feat not matched in four years.  As icing on the cake, those of us in crimson will get to enjoy Auburn's SGA President handing back over the ODK trophy at halftime, a result of the football team's 36-0 pounding of the Tigers back in November.

If nothing else, this stretch has given some much needed enjoyment to the die-hards, who have suffered through the misery of this season. 

And, for those close to the program, we feel great that Phillip Pearson has been able to enjoy a bit of success as head coach.  Pearson was given the thankless job of captaining this seemingly sinking ship. 

At year's end, he will be forced to walk the plank, as he will most likely not be included in the search for the new head coach. 

Pearson has done what no one thought he would be able to do.  He has injected at least a little bit of excitement into a program that was forgotten by most.

The man deserves a lot of credit.  No one would have batted an eye if Alabama had continued to spiral into oblivion. 

He suffered through some tough losses, but managed to keep the players playing hard, and he ended what was a very embarrassing road losing streak. 

If he and the Tide can manage to defeat Auburn on Tuesday, regardless of what happens after, Pearson earns an "A" in my gradebook. 

I've heard that the Auburn game is going to be a sellout.  I, for one, did not foresee a game for the remainder of this season that would generate much interest.

However, I'll be making the trek to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday, with the hope that I'll get one more chance to see Alabama come up with a big win.

The fact that I am excited again to go watch my basketball team play is more than I could have hoped for a month ago.  Congratulations, Coach Pearson.  Well done. 

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