MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama is off to its best start in nine seasons.

The 12th-ranked Crimson Tide is 7-0 as they prepare to host Georgetown Thursday night, fresh off a win over Final Four participant VCU.

Alabama has ridden stingy defense and a blend of veteran stars with impact freshmen to the fast start. This time last year, Alabama was a struggling group that would get it together too late to salvage an NCAA tournament bid.

JaMychal Green, Tony Mitchell and Trevor Releford are being complemented nicely by four freshmen playing significant minutes.

Mitchell says after last year's slow start, the Tide is trying to "work hard and start playing defense in the beginning instead of in the end."

Alabama ranks eighth nationally in scoring defense and third in opponents' field goal percentage.