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No. 19 Alabama hopes to stay atop SEC West

Feb 10, 2007 - 3:59 PM No. 19 Alabama (18-5) at Ole Miss (15-8) 5:00 pm EST

OXFORD, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Despite a sub-par record in the Southeastern Conference, Alabama remains the team to catch in the West Division.

The 19th-ranked Crimson Tide seek their fourth consecutive victory and to continue their recent success against Mississippi when the teams meet Saturday for the first time this season in an SEC clash.

After splitting eight games in January, Alabama (18-5, 5-4 SEC West) has won both contests this month and has a one-game lead over the Rebels and Arkansas in the division race.

The Crimson Tide are coming off Wednesday's 80-79 victory over Mississippi State. Richard Hendrix scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Jermareo Davidson added 17 and 11.

One reason for Alabama's failure to win on a more consistent basis is foul trouble. The Crimson Tide average 13.3 personal fouls to rank among the nation's Division I leaders.

The Rebels (15-8, 4-5) have topped the 80-point mark against four consecutive conference foes for the first time since 1976 and can clinch their first winning season in five years.

Mississippi won for the third time in four games with last Saturday's 82-59 triumph over Auburn. Clarence Saunders hit seven 3-pointers off the bench to score 21 points and Bam Doyne added 20 for the Rebels, who were 12-of-22 from the arc.

Alabama has won six of the last seven overall matchups against Mississippi, but is 2-7 in its last nine visits here.