Alabama's record says plenty about the season's challenges.

But so do the latest national rankings.

The Crimson Tide enters Wednesday night's visit to Mississippi assured of its first losing regular-season record since 1999-2000.

Most of the blame can go toward deficiencies such as rebounding and scoring beyond star guard Trevor Releford. Playing No. 1 Florida twice plus No. 2 Wichita State and No. 6 Duke doesn't help either.

The Tide dropped those four games by an average of just 7.5 points.

Coach Anthony Grant said Tuesday that a win or two in those games "makes all the difference in the world" in the Tide's confidence.

Grant needs a strong finish and an SEC tournament run to avoid his first losing mark in eight seasons as a head coach.