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  • Writer's pictureKevin Scarbinsky

This Alabama team wasn't supposed to go out like this

Worst things first. Let's not bury the lede or resurrect a tragedy beyond saying what has to be said. What happened to the Alabama basketball team Friday evening in Louisville, Ky., had nothing to do with what happened to Jamea Harris in the early morning hours of Jan. 15th in Tuscaloosa.

Plenty of Self-Righteous Brothers have begun to sing that song, to credit karma for the Crimson Tide's inglorious end to its otherwise wildly successful season. They are as wrong on that score as they've been all along.

That's a serious slight to San Diego State, which got in Alabama's face and put the No. 1 overall seed in an uncomfortable place en route to a commanding 71-64 upset. It's also an absolute insult to the memory of a young mother and a slap in the face to the concept of justice.

She is still gone. Justice has yet to be done. Injustice in different directions is all the rage.

Let justice be done for everyone, and let this be written. Alabama basketball losing its best opportunity to win a national championship will have as much bearing on that ongoing process as Alabama winning the SEC regular-season and tournament titles did.

Which is none. As it should be.

Now, with all due respect to more serious matters, back to the game. The lost game. The last game of the season. The last game in an Alabama uniform for Brandon Miller.

It did not go well for either, for the only player in SEC history to be named player of the year, freshman of the year and conference tournament MVP, for the only team in this state's Division I history to win 31 games. As if he weren't already unfairly maligned for his actions off the court, Miller's many honors will be obscured by this freak blizzard of bad basketball. He took 19 shots and missed 16 of them. He attempted 10 3-pointers and connected only once. He turned the ball over six times.

By any reasonable measure, the best player on the best team in the tournament as determined by the selection committee played his worst game at the worst possible time. He spent four months raising the bar and rising to meet it, putting himself in the discussion when it turns to the best player in school history. But as is the case in this most thrilling and agonizing of sporting events, 40 minutes can mean more than four months. ...

Read the rest of Kevin's column on the end of the road for a special Alabama team. Only in The Lede.

San Diego State's Matt Bradley wrestles Alabama's Rylan Griffen for a loose ball in SDSU's Sweet 16 upset victory.



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