Reasons for Alabama's issues include No. 1, No. 2 and No. 6 in l - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Reasons for Alabama's issues include No. 1, No. 2 and No. 6 in latest national rankings

Posted: Updated:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's record says plenty about the season's challenges.

But so do the latest national rankings.

The Crimson Tide (11-16, 5-9 Southeastern Conference) enters Wednesday night's visit to Mississippi (16-11, 7-7) already assured of its first losing regular-season mark since 1999-2000, Mark Gottfried's second season.

Most of the blame can go toward deficiencies in the major categories of rebounding, defense and scoring beyond star guard Trevor Releford.

Playing No. 1 Florida (twice), No. 2 Wichita State and No. 6 Duke doesn't help either, though the Tide dropped those four games by a respectable average of 7.5 points.

"Every one of those games we had opportunities," coach Anthony Grant said Tuesday. "That's how fragile it can be. In terms of your individual and team confidence, being able to win one or two of those games makes all the difference in the world. We knew we played a very challenging schedule.

"Sometimes you have to make your breaks. Unfortunately we weren't able to make some of those breaks against those teams."

Grant needs a strong finish and an SEC tournament run to avoid his first losing mark in eight seasons as a head coach and first since he was a Florida assistant 16 years ago.

The tough nonconference schedule and losing three players during the offseason made it challenging.

Last year's No. 2 scorer Trevor Lacey transferred to North Carolina State. Top recruit Devonta Pollard didn't return for his sophomore season after an offseason arrest, and center Moussa Gueye left for Valparaiso.

The Tide ranks 12th in the SEC in scoring offense and last in rebounds per game and is giving up nearly 10 more points per game than last season.

Grant, though, sees a glimmer of hope in how his players have held up while losing eight of their past 11 games. The Tide is coming off one of its bigger victories of the season, beating Missouri 80-73 Saturday in what Grant called a character win.

The Tide was stuck overnight after the flight back from a Thursday night loss at Texas A&M was canceled, and the bus broke down on the way back to campus Friday, forcing the team to hold an evening practice.

"A lot of times when you see teams going through some of the struggles we go through, you begin to worry in terms of how they feel in terms of the work that they're putting in and the results that they're getting," Grant said.

"I called it a character win because I think our guys have approached practice the right way just in terms of preparing every game, approaching their preparation to try to put themselves in position to win."

Another encouraging sign for the Tide is that Levi Randolph scored a career-high 33 points against Missouri. He had totaled only 24 in the previous seven games.

It was Alabama's second win of the month over a team that is still nursing hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Alabama beat Ole Miss 67-64, on Feb. 11 on Releford's last-second 3-pointer in a tie game.

The senior guard is hoping wins like that translate to a better finish in the last four regular season games and the SEC tournament.

"Winning games like that, any player or competitor, you can see that when you play your best basketball and you buy in, you can win some of those games that we have lost this year," Releford said.

Follow John Zenor on Twitter @jzenor

  • Auburn University SportsMore>>

  • Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:33:03 GMT
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.More >>
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
    More >>
  • CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:22:20 GMT
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
  • Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:37:43 GMT
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 8:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 00:38:39 GMT
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
  • Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Friday, July 18 2014 5:11 PM EDT2014-07-18 21:11:55 GMT
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.More >>
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.
    More >>
  • JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    Friday, July 18 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-07-18 20:08:13 GMT
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.More >>
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.
    More >>
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:53 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:53:43 GMT
    A female juvenile and an adult male were shot around 7pm at Forrester Gardens Apartments in 1300 James Harrison Pkwy.More >>
    A female juvenile and an adult male were shot around 7pm at Forrester Gardens Apartments in 1300 James Harrison Pkwy.More >>
  • Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:50:59 GMT
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
  • Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:27 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:27:11 GMT
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
  • Abuse suspect dead; 2 marshals, NY policeman hurt

    Abuse suspect dead; 2 marshals, NY policeman hurt

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:36 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:36:40 GMT
    Authorities say a sex-assault suspect got in a shootout with law enforcement in New York City that wounded the suspect, two federal marshals and a police officer.More >>
    A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a boy was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a small smoke shop in one of New...More >>
  • Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:14:34 GMT
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
  • Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:27:52 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.
    More >>
  • Rebuilding continues in Bessemer for homes, park hit by tornado

    Rebuilding continues in Bessemer for homes, park hit by tornado

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:06:51 GMT
    Rebuilding efforts continue in Bessemer three months after a tornado hit central Alabama.Volunteers are now fixing houses that were destroyed to help families return home.More >>
    Rebuilding efforts continue in Bessemer three months after a tornado hit central Alabama.Volunteers are now fixing houses that were destroyed to help families return home.More >>
  • Crimson Tide set to host annual Fan Day

    Crimson Tide set to host annual Fan Day

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:06:14 GMT
    Alabama will hold it's annual Fan Day Sunday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fans are invited to watch the Crimson Tide practice, followed by an autograph session with the team.The practice is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. and expected to last two hours. Alabama reports for preseason practice on Thursday and holds it's first workout on Friday.The Tide open the 2014 season against West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta on Aug. 30.More >>
    Alabama will hold it's annual Fan Day Sunday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fans are invited to watch the Crimson Tide practice, followed by an autograph session with the team.The practice is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. and expected to last two hours. Alabama reports for preseason practice on Thursday and holds it's first workout on Friday.The Tide open the 2014 season against West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta on Aug. 30.More >>