Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tide advnces in NYC

Despite the fact that its best player was on the bench for most of the 2nd half due to foul issues, Alabama found a way to grind out a win over Colorado in the NIT Semi-Finals. Trevor Relford's 13 point, 6 assist, 4 steal night was capped with his game winning lay up with 12 seconds remaining in a 62-61 thriller at Madison Square Garden.

Now the Tide faces an impressive Wichita State team in the FInals, with a chance for this program to win a basketball championship. Granted, its not the NCAA as many pundits will point out, but it could be a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

Before UConn became a basketball power house in the last 20 years, Jim Calhoun had to work his program through the NIT in the late '80's before becoming a perennial regular in the NCAA Tournament. Even then, that program suffered numerous disappointments before finally reaching a Final 4 in 1999 and then winning two national titles in a 5 year span.

I'm not saying Alabama is going to accomplish that type of success, but in order to achieve bigger and better things, a foundation has to be laid somewhere and it looks like its been paved on the way to New York and being firmly cemented in the World's Most Famous Arena.

A basketball championship, even the NIT, would be no small step for this program. It would be a great accomplishment for this band of overachivers. If VCU's run to the Final 4 is a possible sign of things to come (the top 5 players on that team were recruited by Grant), then bright days could be ahead for Alabama basketball and SEC Basketball in general. With stongholds Kentucky and Florida, a rising UGA and 'Bama programs, coupled with now competent coaches at Auburn and Arkansas in the mix, the SEC could very easily become one of the the top 2-3 conferences on the hardwood in the near future.

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