Anthony Grant has made his final decisionson the status of his two best players. JaMychal Green will return to the team after being reinstated, but Tony Mitchell has played his final basketball of the season for the Crimson Tide.
The implications are huge as Alabama hits the home stretch of the season. Green is the team's top scorer and rebounder, but Mitchell is not far at all behind him. Mitchell's suspension came for "conduct detrimental to the team", and whatever it was, it must have been worse than the "violation of team rules" that earned Green a mid-season break. Grant has still not announced what the players' actions were, and it's doubtful that he ever will.
The good news is that the team was able to end its two-game skid by beating Tennessee without Green or Mitchell over the weekend. It was also able to knock off Auburn with relative ease when Mitchell was out but before Green and two other players earned suspensions. Will the tournament committee choose not to penalize Grant too much for the past two losses while he was taking a principled stand? Or, given that the team without Mitchell is what it's going to be the rest of the way, will it be less forgiving when looking at (especially) the bad loss to LSU? It's hard to say.
The team has good timing with its game at Fayetteville on Thursday; the Hogs hadn't lost at home all year, but Florida broke that seal with authority over the weekend. On Saturday, the Tide gets the free falling Mississippi State Bulldogs at home. With merely Auburn and Ole Miss coming next week, winning out is a definitely possibility if Green's return energizes the team. At-large consideration for March isn't out of the question, but losing any more games is not advisable.
Grant says that Green will not be playing Thursday at Arkansas.