Looking ahead to SEC tournament and the Tide

Some SEC teleconference highlights leading into Nashville …

Alabama is a 10 seed going against 7 seed Ole Miss, but first-year Crimson Tide coach Avery Johnson believes his team can play its way into the NCAAs.

“I think the way our bracket is lined up with us playing Ole Miss, I just think any one of our teams, if we win one or two, two or three, that will give us a boost in terms of our resume. Same thing with Ole Miss because the winner of our game is going to play Kentucky, and if you’re fortunate enough to have success against them that really catapults you to the next level, especially us because we have a great resume overall,” Johnson said.

Ole Miss and Alabama play Thursday at 6, the third game of the first full day of play. It’s the fourth game overall since Tennessee and Auburn open things up Wednesday night at 7.

Alabama has an RPI of 71, 13 spots better than Ole Miss’ 84. The Tide has a strength-of-schedule rating of 29 compared to Ole Miss’ 168.

It will be harder for Ole Miss to play their way in. …

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl credited Ole Miss for its changing defenses so often during games. Says that makes it hard to adjust. …

Johnson also cited the play of Ole Miss center Sebastian Saiz in the Rebels’ 74-66 win on the opening night of SEC play and the opening night of the Pavilion.

Saiz had 21 points and 16 rebounds. It was his second-most rebounds in a game this season. He posted 17 against Georgia Southern in the second game of the year.

The Alabama game was before Saiz missed six games after surgery to repair a detached retina. …

Jackson with Stefan Moody for tonight’s Howell Trophy presentation.

He was asked about Alabama guard Retin Obasohan, the SEC’s fifth-leading scorer at 17.7 points a game.

“From everything I’ve seen and read he’s a tremendous kid with an incredible work ethic. When you have those two things you can improve, and now he has the opportunity to play the point. They’ve turned the keys over to him, and he’s running with it. He’s playing with a great deal of confidence, and he’s put in the time and work to be successful.”

Obasohan had 23 points on 8-for-17 shooting and four assists in the first game. He played 39 minutes. …

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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