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February 1, 2013

Alabama hasn't won at Vandy since 1990

TUSCALOOSA | It hasn't happened in 23 years, but the University of Alabama basketball team has less than 48 hours to come up with a plan to make it happen.

That's the turnaround time for Alabama to prepare for its visit to Vanderbilt and a venue where its last win over the home team came in February 1990, before any of the current Crimson Tide team (other than Moussa Gueye) was born.

"We won't have much time," Crimson Tide guard Trevor Lacey said at a post-game Thursday press conference that wasn't far removed from Friday morning after Alabama's 59-56 over Arkansas. "We will just have to practice and learn their plays as well as we can."

Despite the quick turnaround, this could be an opportunity for UA to snap its long streak of Nashville misery. (The Crimson Tide has won SEC Tournament games in the Music City more recently,but has not beaten Vanderbilt in a regular-season game since Wimp Sanderson was coach in 1990. After a stellar season in 2012, the Commodores are in total rebuilding mode. Sophomore guard Kedron Johnson, who was also recruited by Alabama, is the Commodores' only double-figure scorer at 14.8 points per game.

Alabama is regarded as a 2-point favorite in this afternoon's contest. UA coach Anthony Grant, however, remains wary.

"They are extremely well-coached and I know Kedron is having a great year for them," Grant said. "They have a lot of new faces from last year's team, but that's also mixed in with some veteran guys who played for them some last year. Without looking at their schedule, it seems like they've improved as the season has progressed. Anytime you go on the road, it's going to be a tough environment to play in. They will be hungry for a win.

"We have to take both the good and the bad for the (Arkansas) game and mentally lock in tomorrow and get ready from a mental standpoint to go play the game. They haven't played since Tuesday, but that is just the way the schedule works out sometimes.

"We'll be ready to go."

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or 205-722-0225.



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