Alabama Basketball: The Crimson Tide Look to Avoid a Paradise Dud in Puerto Rico
It was anything but Paradise for Anthony Grant and the Crimson Tide as they fell flat on their face in last year's early-season tournament.
Alabama carried those three losses with them the entire season as some sort of mark that not even a 19-0 home record and a SEC West division title could remove.
Seton Hall, Iowa and then the tropical stinker, a loss to Saint Peter's in the seventh-place game.
Those losses and especially the third, plagued Alabama as the NCAA Tournament selection came around.
One never knows exactly how an early-season win or loss will truly effect a postseason resume, but no matter what, a loss is never good.
This time around, the Crimson Tide travel to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off with visions of keeping pace with the nice 2-0 start.
First on the schedule is ACC traditional power Maryland.
New head coach Mark Turgeon, taking over for the retired Gary Williams, got the Terrapins of to a winning start with a 71-62 win over UNC Wilmington.
Maryland is a bit a of a new face all around as four of the Terrapins top five scorers are gone this season. I've seen this team picked to finish as low as 10th in the ACC.
It's a game Alabama could and should win.
In the second, the Tide will face either Colorado or Wichita State, two teams Alabama faced in last season's NIT. Alabama defeated Colorado in the semifinal then lost to Wichita State in the championship game.
First-year Pac-12 team Colorado, like Alabama, was on the NCAA bubble last season and again, like Alabama, were snubbed. The Buffaloes face the same dilemma that Maryland does in that four of their top scorers are gone. They appear to have some talent, but are raw unlike last season's squad.
Wichita State set a school record with 29 wins last year and have a solid returning cast that includes three starters.
The other side of the bracket includes Temple, Purdue, Iona and Western Michigan as potential third-game opponents for Alabama.
The Crimson Tide are capable of winning this tournament, but in the very least should take two games here.
Alabama has looked solid in their first two games, better in the second against a potential mid-major NCAA team in Oakland.
One area of concern is a hyper-extended elbow injury sustained against Oakland. Green has been practicing with the team and is considered day-to-day.
Green is a piece of this team that Alabama can not afford to lose. This may be an early-season tournament, but you never know how these games now will affect a team's chances of playing in a postseason tournament.
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