I recently asked someone close to the Alabama men's basketball team what the "number" was.

That number I referenced was the number of wins he thought the Tide would have by this point in the season.

The reply: "It sure wasn't nine.".

That's probably the answer most people had when trying to forecast Avery Johnson's record against his first non-conference slate. Some probably had it much lower than nine. Only the most optimistic (and highly unrealistic) had it above that number.

The challenge is every bit as difficult though, as the Tide moves into Southeastern Conference play. While everybody else in the league has played at least one SEC game, Alabama opens play while opening a brand new building. The Tide and the Rebels will christen The Pavillion at Ole Miss at 8 PM tonight.

What's the "number" for Alabama's next 12 games? If it's going to be nine, once again, Bama will need a big road win tonight.

That may be a bit ambitious, but after a 9-3 start to the Avery Johnson Era, you won't find quite as many people who will say it's impossible.