The Alabama men's basketball team improved to 20-9 and 9-6 in Southeastern Conference play, winning its fourth game in a row and fifth straight over its in-state rival, with a 55-49 victory over the Auburn Tigers in front of 14,253 fans at Coleman Coliseum Wednesday. In his last game at Coleman Coliseum, senior forward JaMychal Green notched his 25th career double-double, scoring 15 points to go with 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Trevor Lacey added 10 points while freshmen guards Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper chipped in seven points apiece. Auburn (14-15, 4-11 SEC) was led by Kenny Gabriel, who had 10 points on the night. "I think in the second half our guys' ability to get to the free throw line and their ability to make some stops that we needed was the difference in the game," UA head coach Anthony Grant said.
On if they could have won this game four or five weeks ago: "I’ll tell you what, who knows. The thing we talked about at halftime was that we weren’t playing well. We needed to play a lot better. We needed to turn up the intensity and try to get the tempo of the game the way that we wanted it. Give Auburn credit. They did a great job of taking care of the basketball and not letting us really go on any runs and get control of the game. They were able to make timely shots, to make timely plays on the defensive end that they needed to. Ben Eblen came in and gave us some great minutes there in the second half with his defensive intensity and his ability to take away some of the things that they were having success with. We will take it as a great win. Obviously we are excited to be in a position where we can continue to control our own destiny."
On Senior Night, Alabama's only senior wasn't having much of a night. In 16 minutes in the first half, JaMychal Green scored only two points as he sank 1 of 6 shots from the field. But the star forward finished with a game-high 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds Wednesday night to lead Alabama to a 55-49 victory over Auburn. "That's what seniors are supposed to do," Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. "Seniors are supposed to finish the game. "You're not supposed to depend on freshmen or underclassmen. Your seniors - your best players - are supposed to finish the game ... and create the win. I thought Green did that well for them."
"For this to be my last game at the Coliseum, that's the way I'd like to go out," Green said. "I really didn't think of it as my last game, I just thought about winning." Green, who had a game-winning tip-in against Auburn last year in a home win, said he was reminded of that game. "That one was even uglier," he laughed. "I think the emotion of the game affected us early on," UA coach Anthony Grant said. "I think all our guys wanted to send JaMychal out with a win, send him out the right way."
On Feb. 23, 2011, then-junior forward JaMychal Green made a game-winning tip-in against the Auburn Tigers with 0.3 seconds left to send Coleman Coliseum into a victorious frenzy. 371 days later, with the stakes amplified on his senior day as the only senior on the team, Green again came through in the clutch at home against Auburn (14-15, 4-11 SEC), this time getting a tip-in to fall with 34 seconds left to give the Crimson Tide (20-9, 9-6 SEC) a 51-47 lead that permanently put the game away, leading to the 55-49 final score Wednesday. "In the second half, we were able to grind it out," head coach Anthony Grant said. "We got ourselves to the free-throw line, and guys did a great job of converting. At the end of the game, we had guys step up to make the plays you have to make to win games like this."
The Tigers (14-15, 4-11) kept it tight by holding Alabama to a season-low 30.4 percent shooting (14 of 30). The Tide was far more efficient at the free-throw line, making 24 of 32 (75 percent) to avoid a loss that would have looked bad on the NCAA tournament resume. Instead, it was another frustrating defeat for the Tigers. "We just folded at the end," Auburn guard Frankie Sullivan said. "We've been doing that all season."
The disjointed night of basketball saw the hosts shoot 32 free throws to the guests’ 12. That was enough to overcome shooting 31.1 percent from the field and one of Auburn’s best defensive games of the year. "I didn’t know what we shot until the end of the game, to be honest with you," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "We were able to get in the bonus early in the second half and we were converting our free throws. It was evident there a few minutes into the second half that this was going to be a grind-it-out possession-type game."
The Tide overcame its offensive woes by holding its opponent to 50 points or fewer for the third time in four games. Auburn didn't hit a field goal over the final 6 minutes. The Tigers hit just one of their first eight free throws but Gabriel and Chubb each made a pair to close Auburn to within 49-47 going into the final minute before Green scored on a putback. It was Green's second game back and first start since a four-game suspension. The team's only senior, he was honored before the game and delivered a nice farewell. After he and Chubb swapped a pair of free throws late, the Tide forward sliced through the lane for a putback off a Lacey miss with 37 seconds left for a 51-47 lead.
The University of Alabama's annual A-Day Game will be televised live by CSS on Saturday, April 14. Chris Stewart and Tyler Watts will call the action from the booth with Tom Roberts serving as the sideline reporter.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama Richardson was limited at the Combine, but his impassioned defense of the value of running backs was hard to ignore, in his case anyway. Richardson is the exception that proves the rule -- a talented, versatile running back that can improve an offense from the first snap of the season.
According to Nielsen, the SEC was far and away the most watched conference in college football last fall. The league averaged a shade under 4.5 million viewers per telecast. That figure was about 1.2 million more than the next-highest conference, the Big Ten with almost 3.3 million per telecast. Believe it or not, the third-highest conference was the ACC with 2.65 million viewers per telecast. The Big 12 was fourth with 2.3 million per telecast, the Pac-12 was fifth with 2.1 million per telecast, and the Big East was sixth with 1.9 million per telecast. A theme should be apparent: the top three conferences have almost all of their big games on ESPN/ABC. The sole exception is the SEC with its weekly feature game guaranteed to appear in every household with a TV in the country on CBS. The SEC's game of the week never has to suffer lower ratings from being put in regional coverage. The Big 12 and Pac-12 have a lot of second tier games on the Fox Sports Net channels and the Pac-12 had some on Versus, both of which which have far less carriage than ESPN and ESPN2.
Kirkpatrick sufficiently addressed concerns about his speed and quickness by blazing times in the high 4.4-range in the 40-yard dash on stopwatches in the stands. He also exhibited smooth turns and transitions in position drills, allowing coaches to assess his ability to fit into schemes built primarily around zone concepts. In addition, Kirkpatrick caught the ball well in drills and quieted some of the criticism regarding his hands after he finished his career with only three interceptions. If he performed as well in the interview room as he demonstrated on the field, Kirkpatrick should re-enter the discussion as a likely top-15 pick.
OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama -- Upshaw has been projected by most NFL teams as a possible 3-4 outside linebacker, and with his pass rush ability (not to mention the versatility with which Alabama defenders are expected to play), it was thought that he could match Melvin Ingram's success in combine drills. But he didn't seem especially quick around the edge, appeared to be a bit one-dimensional, struggled in coverage drills, and didn't flash elite athleticism. Those watching Upshaw on tape will likely move past those issues because he does have great fundamentals, but Upshaw could have come out of the combine with a lot more buzz.
The NCAA has contacted each school recruiting the nation's top-ranked high school basketball prospect, Shabazz Muhammad, and made them aware of financial dealings that could compromise Muhammad's amateur status, multiple sources have told CBSSports.com. The sources told CBSSports.com that the NCAA is specifically interested in connections between Muhammad's family and financial advisers Benjamin Lincoln and Ken Kavanagh. Lincoln is a North Carolina-based financial planner whose brother, Geoff Lincoln, is an assistant coach for Muhammad's high school team in Las Vegas. Kavanagh is a New York-based financial planner.
Of the 315 players graded by NFL.com at the NFL scouting combine that concluded in Indianapolis Tuesday, former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson finished 315th with a rating of 44 based on a scale that had a top rating of 100. "Jefferson has serious mechanical issues that affect his play," NFL.com said. "He lacks awareness in the pocket and tries to rely on his scrambling ability too heavily, causing him to take bad sacks. There are many fundamental elements of Jefferson's game that need work before he would be ready to run an NFL offense."