Coming off three wins in a row, the University of Alabama (19-9, 8-6) has climbed the latter in the SEC and improved to a 10-seed in ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology. On Monday’s SEC teleconference, Alabama coach Anthony Grant discussed where his team stands with just two games remaining in the regular season.
Here’s what he and other coaches around the SEC had to say as it relates to the Crimson Tide:
Anthony Grant, Alabama
On the week ahead: "We've got Auburn here on Wednesday. With that being an in-state rival, I'm looking forward to a very challenging game. Then Saturday we head down and finish up the regular season against Ole Miss. That's another team right now that has played well."
On Trevor Lacey's availability against Auburn: "I don't know. We had yesterday off so he's been with our trainer. He re-aggravated the ankle on Saturday and did not play after that in our game against Mississippi State. So, he did a great job leading up to the Mississippi State, getting prepared to get back on the court. We'll find out today. Obviously, I anticipate he's a tough kid, if he can play and be where he needs to be and where he wants to be from a physical standpoint, he'd be available."
On whether the suspensions rallied the team: "I think we have some players that have had an opportunity to step up and get some extended time. I think our team has gotten better like you want to see your team over the course of the year do. I think a combination of things with the experience and the necessity to step out and do some things has made our team better."
On whether the team's maturity has improved of late: "I think any time you can win that helps in everything. We've had a couple of wins here. I think our guys have always worked hard. I think the thing that you see is a group that's confident, that goes out and plays with a level of confidence that maybe you didn't see when we were going through a rough patch."
On the play of Rodney Cooper: "I think the first nine games Cooper was the starter, playing a lot of minutes and then he had a rough patch in the middle that maybe he lost a little bit of confidence like most freshmen do if their offense is not going the way they want it to. I think he has matured since then and has done a good job developing the consistency you want to see."
Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee
On what impressed him about Alabama's play of late: "Anthony does a great job with his team, putting them in a position to be successful. They play hard. They defend. They play well together. I think in the midst of some troubled times Trevor Releford did a great job of keeping the team afloat when he was out there on the floor. They have great young talent. That's a credit to their staff. Those young guys can play."
Quote of the day
Kentucky coach John Calipari had this to say about players going to the NBA draft after just one season of play: "I don’t even like the one-and-done rule. It’s not my rule. ... If the kid plays well and that's what he chooses to do, you can either try to talk him out it or don't recruit good enough players to be drafted. And so, until the rules change we're all dealing with it."