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Bama must prove it is a finished product now that March is here

Where to watch: Vanderbilt (9-20, 1-15 SEC – #188 KenPom rating) at Alabama (16-13, 8-8 – #48) – Today 7:30 p.m. Central, Coleman Coliseum, SEC Network

Who to watch: Beetle Bolden. The Crimson Tide’s lone senior never really blossomed the way many had expected after three seasons as a solid contributor at West Virginia. Bolden is usually good for a couple of baskets but has proven to be a mediocre shooter that has trouble staying healthy or guarding without fouling. But occasionally he still breaks out a double-digit scoring game and Bama could really use that mojo for his last regular season contest in Tuscaloosa. Unless John Petty makes a sooner-than-expected return to the lineup, Alabama is down to just two reliable scorers in Kira Lewis and Jaden Shackelford. Bolden hasn’t scored more than 11 points since the SEC opener, when he had 15 in a double overtime loss at Florida.

What to watch for: Is this team ready to put together a complete performance? Amazingly, Bama hasn’t won back-to-back games since a Jan. 25 win against Kansas State capped a four-game streak, and the Tide hasn’t won on a weeknight since polishing off Vandy 77-62 in Nashville back on Jan. 22. Even with a thinned-out roster, if the Crimson Tide truly is capable of making a run it should be able to dominate the Commodores from start to finish. That means no sluggish start where it doesn’t score a basket before the first media timeout. No more playing flat coming out of the locker room after halftime. No panicking when the other team starts pressing late hoping to chop down the lead. If Alabama isn’t ready for that by now, it likely never will be.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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