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Windham Wrap-up: Alabama Basketball Facing Big Maturity Test

Windham Wrap-up: Alabama Basketball Facing Big Maturity Test

Windham Wrap-up: Tuesday Night Might Be Alabama’s Biggest Maturity Test Yet

The Crimson Tide travel to face a struggling Georgia team before a tough three-game stretch against top-15 opponents.

The first time I remember "maturity test" being part of the vernacular of the Alabama basketball team was the day before their first game against Missouri. Both head coach Nate Oats and guard Jaden Shackelford both used the phrase when talking about the Crimson Tide's trip to Columbia against then 6-7 Missouri. 

Alabama did not pass that test with a 92-86 loss. Exactly two weeks later, they had the chance to redeem themselves, but the beginning of Saturday night's game against the Tigers was looking eerily similar to the first matchup. 

Twice, Alabama found itself down 14 to Missouri in round two, but managed to come back for the win inside Coleman Coliseum to get back to over .500 in SEC play. 

Now, the Crimson Tide's maturity will once again be tested with a trip to Athens on Tuesday night to face the Georgia Bulldogs, who are the worst team in the SEC, at least record wise at just 5-14 overall and 0-6 in the conference. 

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Even though Oats wants to make sure his team isn't looking ahead, what makes this game even more important for Alabama is the stretch coming up after the Georgia game. Alabama will host No. 4 Baylor on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge before traveling to No. 1 Auburn, and then turning back around to host No. 12 Kentucky. 

"I think we’re improving, but we’re still not quite there," Oats said when asked where his team is maturity wise. "Our start to the Missouri game and our start to the second half wasn’t quite what we like it to be, but for the other 32 minutes we were really good."

Jaden Shackelford and James Rojas have begun stepping up as vocal leaders according to Oats. Jahvon Quinerly, who has come off the bench the last two games, is playing really well and giving much better effort, and Keon Ellis has started to exert himself more both on and off the court. 

But for Oats to really know where his team is, he'll have to see how they play on Tuesday.

"We’re getting better," Oats said. "We’ll see how far we’ve come if we can start the Georiga game and then close the first half, start the second half, close the game with the same defensive intensity that we played the last eight minutes against Missouri with."

The first time I remember "maturity test" being part of the vernacular of the Alabama basketball team was the day before their first game against Missouri. Both head coach Nate Oats and guard Jaden Shackelford both used the phrase when talking about the Crimson Tide's trip to Columbia against then 6-7 Missouri. 

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