February 22, 2007

Hoops Notebook: Freshmen step up

The Crimson Tide basketball team (19-8, 6-7) came just one shot away from topping the Tennessee Vols in overtime on Wednesday night but came up short of what could have been a major road win. Now the Tide must rebound from a sloppy performance for a must-win home meeting with rival Auburn.

"Anytime Alabama and Auburn play, it's always big," said head coach Mark Gottfried. "They've beaten us once already this year and I think our guys are playing a little bit better right now. We lost a tough one last night but I think anytime these two teams play everybody is ready to play."

The Tide lost the first meeting with the Tigers in a 57-81 blowout but now have the chance to tack on another crucial SEC win going into the final stretch of the season. The Tigers have struggled as of late while the Tide appear to be on an upswing but Gottfried said he isn't taking the game lightly.

"I think we treat each game the same. Every game is highly important in this league. I think anytime you lose you can't wait to get back on the court because you can't wait to change it around. We've got a lot of respect for Auburn. I think they're very good, but I think there's great teams all over this league."

"I think (Auburn's) obviously better than they have been in the last few years and they proved that in our first game. I think they're extremely talented, they're very quick and very well-coached. We have a lot of respect for what's going on there."

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