Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Bama's Quickness Quiets Quincy/ Shabby Scheduling
We improved to 9-3 with our win over Quincy, though we are only 7-3 in the eyes of the NCAA committee, as our 2 wins over Division II Chaminade and Quincy don't count. We started off very slow. Quincy ran a 4 guard set, and nobody besides Senario and Ron bothered to cover the perimeter. This meant a lot of wide open 3's for the Hawks. Midway through the first half, the mighty yeast rolls actually held a 20-15 lead.
Coach Gottfried called a timeout and actually chewed some ass. I couldn't hear exactly what he was saying over the band and Tony Giles rambling over the P.A., but it was definitely an animated conversation with a lot of yelling. Gottfried said during the post game show that the reason he stuck with the starting lineup in a man to man against their 4 guard set was because later in the season Green, Knox, and Coleman will need to be able to step out and play defense away from the basket. While I agree that this is the type of game that you do some experimenting and basically use as a practice, I would have preferred if we would have went ahead and pressed in the first half to go ahead and put the game away before working on these types of things. Also, Demetrius Jemison seems like the perfect solution against the smaller type lineups, but he's still in the dog house. He did get to play in mop up duty, and scored a dunk off of a rebound.
In the second half, we did what we should have done in the first half. We played a full court game, turned them over, got easy baskets, and won going away. There were some positives from this game. All 5 of our starters scored in double digits. Hollinger shot the ball better. I think we forced 18 turnovers in the second half. Andrew Steele came back from his ankle injury, and played a solid game, especially defensively. Gee had another great game on both ends of the court. JaMychael had probably his best game, as he actually managed to stay healthy and out of foul trouble. Senario played outstanding defense, and while he still took a few bad shots, most of them went in, so I can't complain too much. Everybody got to play, except Anthony Brock who apparently is going to redshirt. Greg Cage made a 3 at the buzzer, much to the delight of the group of 500 or so in attendance.
For some reason, Quincy entered and left the court via the tunnel in the corner nearest our bench, right in front of me, instead of the one diagonally across from us that every other team uses. I'm curious as to why they did that, I haven't heard of us moving the visitor's locker room. Perhaps they wanted to avoid being heckled by the half dozen Mark's Madness members in attendance.
Up next, the Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech comes in for a 2pm tipoff Saturday. I actually expect a fairly decent crowd for this game, since they are a "name" ACC school. I know several people who are not going to the Sugar Bowl who actually plan to make it. The good news is Tech isn't very good either. They are 8-4, comparing common opponents, they beat Mercer in overtime, and beat Tennessee State by 5. They have home losses to UIC, Virginia, and Penn State. They do have a win at home over Vandy. Let's send the yellow jackets to a watery grave.
Despite Gottfried's shortfalls, which we have beat to death, I have always given him credit for putting together a good schedule. Since the year we got shafted out of the NCAA tournament, he's done a great job of putting together a schedule that would artifically inflate our RPI rating. Every year all of our "cupcake" teams would be competitive in their conference. Of course, every now and then one would slip up and beat us like Belmont last year, but for the most part this was a good strategy.
Our non conference schedule this year is crap, and the weak SEC is not going to help that much. As mentioned above, 2 of our wins don't even count. In fairness, when you sign up for Maui, you aren't counting on losing to Oregon and having to play Chaminade, but that possibility should have been taken into consideration before agreeing to play Quincy. There are 350 division I teams, we should have been able to find SOMEONE to play other than Quincy. The only possible connection I can figure out is they have an assistant coach who was a previous assistant at Georgia and Western Kentucky. Perhaps he knows Coach Holland from his days at UGA. That isn't a good enough reason to give them a game under these circumstances, in my opinion.
But beyond that, let's look at our non-conf schedule:
Mercer- 6-5 but have played a tough schedule. They will compete in the A-sun. Not bad.
FAMU- 2-9, they suck.
Oregon, 6-6, losses to Oakland and St. Mary's. They suck.
Chaminade, Div 2 team with 8 players.
St. Joe's, 5-6 losses to Siena and Holy Cross. They suck.
AAMU- 2-6, they suck, but I can understand this one.
Louisiana- 3-7, RPI 311. They suck.
Texas A&M- 11-1, but hasn't played a very tough schedule. They might be a tournament team.
Tennessee State- 2-8, one of the worst teams in basketball, they suck.
Chattanooga, 2-8, tough schedule, blown out by Fairfield. They suck.
Yale, 2-8, lost by 30 at Vermont. They suck.
Quincy, Div 2 team.
Georgia Tech- Big name from a good conference, but probably not a tournament team.
Clemson, Very good team, undefeated, #6 RPI, will kick our ass.
At the absolute best, I see 3 tournament teams on that schedule if Mercer can win the A-Sun, and we'll have losses to all 3. We will either have to win the SEC regular season or win the SEC tournament to go dancing this year. Probably not going to happen.