Alabama’s upset of No. 15 Texas A&M on Wednesday night gave the fans, the team and coach Avery Johnson something to celebrate, but it also caught the attention of the national media.
Winning four of its last five games has placed Alabama (14-9, 5-6) in a pool of at-large tournament hopefuls, but Johnson is not ready to have that conversation just yet.
“The only bubble talk that we’re going to talk about, especially today, is the managers have to make sure that I get my bubble gum when I go on the practice court,” Johnson said. “Every day I get the same bubble gum the same flavor.”
Another daily ritual of Johnson’s has him working on Alabama’s turnover problems. Despite the uptick in wins the Crimson Tide has finished with more turnovers than assists in four of its last five games.
“If we can reduce that number [of turnovers] then it gives us a chance to get our defense set and we feel when we get our defense set we can be pretty good,” Johnson said.
Johnson and the players mentioned that Alabama could not have won its game over the Aggies without the loud support it got from fans. With a 2-game road trip coming up against Florida on Saturday and LSU on Wednesday, the team will have to find a way to win away from the confines of Coleman Coliseum where the team is currently 1-4 in SEC play.
The team might be on the road, but Sophomore Riley Norris doesn’t discount the confidence and lessons the team learned over the last few games.
“Having that last game come down to the wire like that, [and] us playing in a lot of close games some of them outcomes we didn’t want like the LSU game, I think experience kicks in and we’re like we’ve been here before,” Norris said.
Johnson said his team will need to be prepared for an aggressive Florida team that is not afraid to shoot from behind the arc.
“They have four guys going all over the place and getting offensive rebounds, specifically the long rebounds, since they are a 3-point shooting team,” Johnson said. “They got a lot of guys that can shoot 3’s so that spreads your defense out.”
Johnson compared stopping Florida’s Dorian Finney-Smith to Texas A&M’s Jalen Jones. On Wednesday, Jones scored 21 points on the Crimson Tide. Smith has scored at least 20 points in five of his last seven games, and has recorded double-doubles in five SEC contests this season.
Alabama holds a 73-66 edge in the all-time series despite losing 11 straight games to the Gators. The Crimson Tide’s last win over the Gators in Gainesville, Florida came in 1995, but Johnson’s team has ended a lot of streaks this season already.
“The books not finished yet,” Johnson said. “We’re still directing this movie. Its just a matter of if we can go to Florida and give ourselves a chance to win.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports