After losing to Oklahoma, Alabama in a similar position to the 2021 team
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – There is only one scholar on Alabama’s current basketball roster who was on the team two years ago when it won both the SEC regular season and tournament titles.
This year’s Crimson Tide is in a very similar situation to this team. In 2021, Alabama was on a 10-game winning streak and undefeated in conference play before losing in the Big 12/SEC Challenge en route to Oklahoma. This season, Alabama was on a nine-game winning streak and was undefeated in the SEC game before being beaten 93-69 by the Sooners at Norman over the weekend.
Point guard Jahvon Quinerly is the only player to suffer both losses. He’s seen the turning point once, and now, as a seasoned leader, he’s hoping to learn a lesson from it. According to head coach Nate Oats, Quinerly brought it up during Sunday’s team briefing.
“He was on that team, which was a great point to make because we didn’t get blown away in Oklahoma, but we lost in Oklahoma,” Oats said during Monday’s news conference previewing the Vanderbilt game gave. “I thought we went through a little stretch there where we didn’t play basketball as well as we could. We lost on the Big 12 challenge, which didn’t affect SEC play and somehow bounced back in SEC play. “
Two years ago, after relinquishing the game to Oklahoma, Alabama won 12 of its next 14 games en route to the SEC tournament title and the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
Oats was glad the veteran point guard brought it up but made it clear that repeating the same success of this group in 2021 won’t be easy for this year’s team.
“It’s not going to happen just because it happened that way,” Oats said. “This team in 2021 did it. We took the loss, the lads regrouped. We have to play harder. We have to change things. Things don’t change unless you make them change That was definitely addressed. Jahvon was on that team and he was on that team too.”
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Quinerly was named the SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player and was a key part of Alabama’s postseason success. And he’s been heating up for the Crimson Tide of late, with double-digit scoring performances in six of his last eight games.
Despite the disappointing defeat, which was the biggest loss among Oats, the Crimson Tide still has all its goals ahead of it. 18-3 overall and 8-0 in SEC play, Alabama is still on track to win the SEC and potentially become a No. 1 in the NCAA tournament. Throughout the season, Oats has repeatedly spoken of winning the regular-season SEC Championship as a goal for this team.
But for that to happen, the biggest thing Oats wants to change is effort. How Alabama responds this week with two rematches against smaller opponents at home to Vanderbilt on Tuesday and an away game against LSU this Saturday will tell a lot about whether or not this team can have the same kind of success they had two years ago.
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