Athletic director Bill Battle named Brannen interim head coach Monday. The Crimson Tide opens the NIT Tuesday night against Illinois at Coleman Coliseum, just two days after Grant's firing.
Brannen worked under Grant the past nine years at Alabama and VCU and is a 16-year coaching veteran.
He says he checked with Grant before accepting the interim duties. Brannen says it's been an emotional time for the team and assistants and says ''our loyalty as a coaching staff is to coach Grant.''
Brannen says the players were asked if they wanted to accept a bid to the NIT if it came, ''and they definitely did.''