The highs are high, and lows are incredibly low.
Just a mere four days apart, Alabama basketball has seen one of the highest and one of the lowest points of its season, both in the same building.
Following last Saturday’s 90-71 win over South Carolina, Alabama looked to have some momentum heading into the final stretch of the season. The Crimson Tide had won five of its last six games, with the only loss coming on the road to then-No. 4 Kentucky.
All that momentum was crushed after an 87-71 loss to Texas A&M, also inside Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday night.
“The end is going to come quick is this is the kind of effort we give,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said.
This is nothing new to Alabama this season, though.
This is the same Alabama team that followed a win over then-No. 14 Houston with a loss to a mediocre Memphis team. The same team that gave SEC bottom-dweller Georgia its only conference win of the season and rebounded with a win over defending national champion Baylor.
Wednesday night showed what Alabama fans did not want to accept: the inconsistencies are not behind them.
Alabama held South Carolina to 45% shooting from the field on Saturday. On Wednesday, Texas A&M shot an astounding 57% from the floor as a team.
The Crimson Tide turned the ball over 19 times against Texas A&M, only two more than its 17 against South Carolina, but in Wednesday’s game Alabama gave up 29 points off turnovers compared to just 10 on Saturday.
Many of Alabama’s turnovers were the result of bad passes, leading to easy runout layouts and slams for the Aggies.
“The turnovers are really frustrating because we have good guards,” Oats said. “When you’re locked in you’re locked in. […] We’ve got to figure out how to get these guys locked in. We should not be turning the ball over the way we are.”
Alabama was outrebounded against the Aggies as well, and the effort categories that fail to show up on the stat sheet did not appear to show up on the court either.
The Crimson Tide offense looked sluggish, the defense looked disengaged, and the energy inside Coleman Coliseum was nowhere to be found for the majority of the game, leading to the 50-31 scoring advantage the Aggies held in the second half.
“Our defense was a disaster in the second half, giving up 50 points,” Oats said. “We didn’t do a good job of any of the stuff we’ve tried to stress.”
Oats said the best teams in any sport are player-led teams. He noted that Alabama is missing the leadership that the 2021-22 team had.
“We’ve got some guys that are trying to lead,” Oats said. “Sometimes, even if you’re not playing well yourself, you can still speak, and I’ve tried to get that across. We’ve got to do a better job of building leaders, and helping them become leaders. That’s one place where I’ve failed this team, to be honest with you, because we don’t have the leadership we’ve had in the past.”
Alabama will close the regular season with a game against LSU in Baton Rouge, with the winner likely to get the five-seed in the SEC Tournament. Knowing Alabama’s tendencies this season, it would be unsurprising to see the Crimson Tide leave the Bayou victorious, perhaps even in impressive fashion.
Alabama needs to find consistency, and fast, with the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament rapidly approaching. The question is not if Alabama can make a run. Everyone knows it has the ability.
The question remains, will Alabama ever be consistent enough to make that run happen?
alabama vs. Texas A&M