For the fourth second time in as many seasons, the SEC Tournament could help determine Alabama basketball's NCAA Tournament fortunes.

Alabama sits on the outside looking in for both Jerry Palm of CBS Sports and Joe Lunardi of ESPN. A breakout performance in Nashville could go a long way in getting the team back in the NCAA Tournament conversation.

The Crimson Tide gets their SEC Tournament journey started Thursday evening with a 6 PM tipoff against the Ole Miss Rebels.

Prior to their game with the Rebels, Alabama head basketball coach Avery Johnson provided his thoughts on the upcoming week in Nashville on Inside the Locker Room especially when it comes to the sense of urgency in playing well on both ends of the floor.

"At this point, we don't have a choice. Everything that we value on both ends of the floor, whether it's offensive rebounding, getting in a stance on defense, great spacing on offense, catching the ball with two hands, having more free throw attempts than our opponent in making free throws or executing versus a zone defense and trying to get the ball inside and score more in the paint instead of relying on bad jump shots and poor shot selection, whatever we value on both ends of the floor, we don't have a choice right now. We just got to play our maximum level." Johnson said.

Earlier this week, Avery Johnson discussed the leadership dynamic on his team during Monday's edition of Hey Coach on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, During his conversation with Wimp and Barry Sanderson, Johnson mentioned the importance of having a vocal leadership presence on the team and which position he looks for that vocal leader.

"You got to have that alpha dog leader on the floor. I was always that in my career and we've had it here before with guys like (Retin) Obasohan and (Collin) Sexton. We've had it before. Most of the time, it's come from the point guard position." Johnson said.

While conceding the difficulty for someone as young as Kira Lewis to be a vocal leader on the team, Alabama's head coach also elaborated on one particular senior who he thinks could step up and become a vocal leader this week.

"If it doesn't come from there, then you got to look for other guys whether it's like a Riley Norris who leads by example, but I've asked him, even here in the tournament, starting in practice we just need more of your vocal leadership because you're one of the guys on the team that the guys really respect." Johnson said.

Later in the conversation, Johnson discussed the importance of Alabama having the right mindset this week, the competitive nature of this year's SEC, the health status of Daniel Giddens and Dazon Ingram and his scouting report into Ole Miss.

You can listen to The Crimson Tide take on the Rebels Thursday with a 6 PM tip-off on Tide 102.9/100.9.

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