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March 22, 2011
Bama's Davis says team not looking ahead
TUSCALOOSA | Charvez Davis has already dealt with the emotions of a Senior Day. Now, the University of Alabama's shooting guard has to say good-bye to Coleman Coliseum again - although perhaps not to Crimson Tide basketball.
The UA men's basketball team, which has already set records for home success with a perfect 18-0 home record so far, looks to finish that streak at 19 in a row - technically, 20, dating back to one win in 2010 - and propel itself to New York with a win over the Miami Hurricanes in tonight's NIT quarterfinal game.
"I know what we are playing for, but we've done a great job this year of taking it one game at a time," Davis said Tuesday. "We're really focused on this game, on being a better team tomorrow than we were today.
"We know New York is out there," Davis said of a possible trip to New York.
"It's funny, I was talking to Chris Hines earlier this year and I just mentioned to him that I had never played in New York City. So it's crazy that we are in this position. To play in a building (Madison Square Garden) with that much history, that would be big to me. Even bigger would be to win a championship of the tournament we are in, which happens to be the NIT.
"But Miami is a great team coming in from the (Atlantic Coast Conference), averaging more than 80 points a game (in the NIT). So we better be ready, not thinking about something else."
The Hurricanes (21-14) have had a strong postseason run so far. Coach Frank Haith's team made national headlines by erasing a 10-point deficit in the final 26 seconds of regulation in a 69-62 win over Virginia in the ACC Tournament, following that up with a 61-59 loss to North Carolina. The 'Canes have averaged 83 points per game in two easy NIT wins, an 85-62 blowout of Florida Atlantic and an 81-72 win over Missouri State.
Malcolm Grant, a 6-foot-1 junior (and no relation to UA head coach Anthony Grant) is the Hurricanes' top scorer (15.0 ppg) and 3-point threat, shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.
Sophomore guard Durand Scott averages 13.5 points per game. The strongest presence inside is 6-10, 303-pound sophomore Reggie Johnson, who is averaging 11.5 points and 14.5 rebounds per game in NIT action.
Adrian Thomas, a rare sixth-year senior, keyed Miami's win over Missouri State by scoring 16 points, including four 3-pointers, all in the second half.
"They are a deep, athletic team," Anthony Grant said. "They have a lot of options offensively."
The Crimson Tide head coach, a native of Miami, admitted that he was a Hurricane fan in his youth - but in a different sport.
"They had actually discontinued basketball at the time, but I was a big fan of the football team back in the Bernie Kosar era," Grant said. "I was really more of a football fan than basketball growing up. We only got four channels at that time, and college basketball wasn't on any of them."
Grant indicated that the status of forwards Andrew Steele and Jason Carter, both of whom were sidelined for Monday's win over New Mexico, would be a game-time decision.