By Stan J. Griffin

Despite a generally sluggish effort which saw it trail most of the game to the Sun Belt's Appalachian State Mountaineers, while also withstanding a final shot for the win by the gritty ASU team, Anthony Grant's University of Alabama basketball team avoided a loss that would have been a devastating blow to its NCAA tournament hopes.
The Crimson Tide improved to 8-3 on the season with a slim 60-59 victory Sunday evening in front of 9,515 at Coleman Coliseum. Michael Kessens led UA with a career-high 17 points and he also had 10 rebounds. Jimmie Taylor had seven blocks for Alabama.
Alabama won despite actually leading the game for only 8:21. Appalachian State fell to 3-6 on the season.

By Stan J. Griffin

In its final action before the Christmas break, Kristy Curry's University of Alabama women's basketball team capitalized on a balanced offensive attack, led by the double-digit scoring of Briana Hutchen, Quanetria Bolton and Hannah Cook, to gain a big win over New Orleans Sunday.
Hutchen and Bolton scored 16 points each, while Cook tallied 12, to lead the Crimson Tide to an 87-58 win over the Privateers at Foster Auditorium.
Alabama improved to 10-4 on the season.
(I’m) just really pleased with our energy and effort today before the break,” said Curry after the contest. “I thought we had a really intense, hard-nosed week of practice. I like the way our team responded today. I thought our crowd was really good. I appreciate our kids, the energy they played with, our crowd and everyone being here today.”

By Stan J. Griffin

With the University of Alabama basketball team playing two games in three days before Christmas, Crimson Tide coach Anthony Grant wanted to get a look at various lineups as Alabama hosted Stillman College Friday night at Coleman Coliseum.
And even with guards Ricky Tarrant and Rodney Cooper not suiting up, the Tide was able to get a solid balance of production the whole night as it rolled past the Tigers 69-49 to improve to 7-3.

By Stan J. Griffin

A 12-1 record, the SEC championship and the No. 1 seed heading into the inaugural College Football Playoff obviously indicate that Nick Saban's University of Alabama football team is continuing to do great things on the field.
The pursuit of excellence academically, however, is another key element of Saban's overall program mission, and Crimson Tide players continue to roll in the classroom as well as on the field.

By Stan J. Griffin

There is no dispute that dynamic junior wide receiver Amari Cooper is the true star of the 2014 Alabama football team, and his gaudy stats, Fred Biletnikoff Award, third-place Heisman Trophy finish and host of various other honors certainly attest to that fact. 

But if you're looking for the heart and soul of a 12-1 SEC champion Crimson Tide team that is also seeded No. 1 for the upcoming inaugural College Football Playoff, there is no doubt that fifth-year senior quarterback Blake Sims seemingly locked that up quite some time ago.

Sims, the Gainesville, Ga. native, is college football's feel-good story of the year, but before one considers just how far he has come in what seems like such a short time, it must also be remembered just where he was even a year ago.