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Colleges

'Bama on the rise

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 03:54 PM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -

The fortunes of Alabama and JaMychal Green have certainly taken a turn for the better.

The Crimson Tide have used a three-game winning streak to fortify its once-fading NCAA tournament hopes going into tonight's game against Auburn. Green, meanwhile, is expected to return to the starting lineup and will be the lone senior honored before his finale at Coleman Coliseum, a big turnaround for a player recently exiled for four games.

With winnable end-of-season games against the Tigers (14-14, 4-10 SEC) and Mississippi, an RPI of 25 and a potential bye in the SEC tournament, Green and the Tide (19-9, 8-6) are feeling pretty good about their NCAA standing.

"I still feel like we're in good position," Green said.

Double-digit wins over Tennessee and Mississippi State and a road victory over Arkansas have helped turn the talk in Tuscaloosa from a string of suspensions to the prospect of making the NCAA field for the first time in six years.

"It'd be pretty big," said Green, who came off the bench against the Bulldogs. "I've never been there. It'd be a great experience for everybody on the team."

He returned against Mississippi State from a four-game suspension — No. 3 of his career — for violating team rules. A player who ranks among the top 13 on Alabama's career lists in points, rebounds, blocked shots and steals but also has that checkered past still has a chance to improve his legacy if he helps the Tide end that NCAA drought.

"I think Mike is very grateful that he's got this opportunity to finish his career out, to go through Senior Night and to enjoy whatever time we have left with his teammates," Grant said. "The one thing when I first came in that Mike talked about was his pride in being from Alabama and wanting to represent to the University of Alabama and bring back the tradition of postseason participation.

"If you look at the course of his career, you can say what you want, but I think he's helped us in terms of getting the program back on track."

It might not be a lock now, but the Tide's chances of playing in the NCAA tournament seem a lot better than they did after back-to-back losses to LSU and Florida, when Green was out.

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