Alabama's record, latest national rankings say plenty about season that's gone south

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.