Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Alonzo Gee a Cleveland Cavalier

Who needs LeBron?

Link

I thought he signed with San Antonio last season... says he was with them and the Wizards this year. Anyways, good luck to him... he's in a place where he can potentially shine.

Alabama ambushes Asbury 83-60

Anthony Grant gets his 100th career victory in the process... a thorough butt kicking laid down by OUR Crimson Tide to the surfer dudes from Malibu.

Box score

We had 5 in double digits with Chris Hines pulling a double-double (10 points and 11 boards). I liked the energy of the team tonight... they really seemed to get at it. The minutes were divided up nicely with Charvez getting the most (33) which is surprising. He was 5-10 from 3 point land... the rest of the team was 2-9.

Back to back impressive wins... maybe this is a sign of things turning around? We shall see.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Know your enemy- Pepperdine Waves

The Waves led by former great UA assistant coach Tom Asbury is limping into Tuscaloosa with a 5-9 record. They lost their last game at home to the underrated Cal-Poly (SLO) Mustangs.

Link to their season stats.

Keion Bell leads the team with 21.8 PPG. They're mediocre from beyond the arc (33%), not so good overall (42.6%), and average only 70.3 PPG. They've got some size, but not a whole lot of skill. This should be a slaughter.

Prediction- Bama by 25. This should be treated as a scrimmage game to work out the numerous kinks in our offense. We should be able to put this one away early in the 2nd half and empty the bench.

If you want to hear the game on the internet you can listen to the Pepperdine side here. It's on TV in the CA area on CSNCA. I have no idea what channel correlates to that on DTV or Dish. Game time is 9PM EST (8PM CST) on the 28th.

Maybe after the game Asbury can get with one of our 45 assistant coaches and teach them how to develop a big man on the team.

Friday, December 24, 2010

$tay cla$$y $tate

I don't think $tansbury is getting his money's worth out of this one. Is anybody really surprised by this? That cesspool of a program is a disgrace to the SEC.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bama Bites Bison 71-51.

The Tide continued its home dominance and improved to 6-6 on the year. We jumped out to an 8-0 lead early, but then had a 5 minute scoring drought allowing Lipscomb to score the next 10 points. JaMychal Green got in early foul trouble but Tony Mitchell picked him up on the offensive end, with Chris Hines doing a very nice job against Lipscomb's talented center on defense. We finished the first half strong, and led 35-21 at the break. Lipscomb made a run in the 2nd half to cut the lead to 8, but Charvez Davis answered with 3 straight 3 pointers to put it away for good.

Lipscomb was one of the top 10 scoring teams in the nation coming in and we shut them down, much like we did Southeast Louisiana. For all the faults with this team, they play pretty good defense, and that will at least give us a chance to win in most games. We did a good job of mixing up our defenses to keep Lipscomb off balance. We used the press sparingly but effectively. We forced a lot of turnovers out of the 1-3-1 halfcourt trap, and the 2-3 matchup zone effectively limited their post play. Our ability to rebound out of the zone seems to be improving. Their white guys burned us for a few 3s in the second half, but Charvez Davis quickly answered with 3 in a row. If Davis could play just half as good on the road we would be a competitive team. He airballed his first attempt, then made his next 5 and finished with a career high 22 points.

Releford had an off night shooting the ball and had too many turnovers with 6, but he played most of the game and continues to get us in good position to score more often than not. Hankerson got the start at the 2 position instead of Senario Hillman who only played 15 minutes. Hillman had a steal and easy dunk, but otherwise was fairly quiet. He appeared to have some tape on his wrist, so I wonder if the lack of a start and limited action was due to some sort of minor injury. He should have been benched for his God awful Kid n Play haircut circa 1986.

Speaking of injuries, Charvez Davis went down for an extended period of time late in the game with what appeared to be cramps. Tony Mitchell was also cramping up at one point, but everybody should be fine. Tony Mitchell's play was somewhat overshadowed by Charvez Davis, but he had a great game as well with 18 points and 8 rebounds. He brings it at both ends of the court. JaMychal bounced back from his early foul trouble and had a solid game. After missing some jump shots early, he got more aggressive in attacking the basket. It seems to me that when he is moving toward the basket when he shoots, he's money, but if he's fading away, it's almost hopeless. Maybe he is starting to figure that out.

The officiating was inconsistent at best, but we did a good job of playing through it. Coach Grant got called for a technical foul in the first half for arguing a call that the officials clearly blew. Sanderson pitched much bigger fits in the game with no repercussions. We got away with several travels and a few hacks and holds in the trap, while they got the benefit of some block/charge calls that clearly should have gone the other way. They were very close to losing control of the game, but I don't think either team benefitted more than the other.

It was good to once again be able to empty the bench at the end of the game. Carter, Engstrom, Eblem, Hunter Jeffrey, and Justin Luguire were all able to get some playing time. Engstrom scored on a put back, but one strange thing we have noticed with him is that he has a habit of removing his mouth piece every dead ball and is slow to get it back in. On one throw in, he was literally reaching for a deflected ball with one hand, while his other was still trying to get his mouth piece situated.

The crowd was about what you would expect for a game over winter break. It was better than the last game, but still probably only 4,000 or so with very few students. Lipscomb actually brought a decent following from Nashville of probably 150 or so scattered throughout. If we continue to dominate at home, hopefully attendance will rise.

Up next, our old friend Tom Asbury rides his Pepperdine Waves in all the way from the West Coast. Tip off is set for 8pm CST on Tuesday, Dec. 28 at Coleman Coliseum, and will be televised on CSS. Until then, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Bama beats down Bison 71-51

I have to say this was our best played game of the season. The Bison are better than what they showed last night... we beat them to a bloody pulp which was unexpected (by me).

Box score

I started getting worried when Lipscomb cut an 18 point lead to 9 with under 11 to play... Charvez went off with back to back to back 3 to stretch the lead back to 18 and it was lights out. We held Hodzic and Slater in check, defended the 3 well, and more importantly had solid games from Hines, Mitchell, Green, and a great game from Davis.

The only gripe I have is an ongoing one... Charvez is our only real outside threat. He was 5-6 from beyond the arc... the rest of the team was 1-11.

This was the most complete game we've played all year. Hopefully this is a preview of things to come in SEC play.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Know your enemy- Lipscomb Bison

They come into Tuscaloosa sporting a 7-2 record. I looked at the losses to UNC and Baylor and from the PBP they hung with UNC up to the 8 minute mark of the 2nd half. This won't be a cakewalk people.

Scott Sanderson returns home (again)... the last time was 2006 when we beat the Bison's brains in 80-58. Writeup from Lipscomb.

Stats

Adnan Hodzic is a force inside. He leads the team in PPG (21.1) and rebounds (9.1). Josh Slater is 2nd in PPG (19.0), rebounds (8.2) and leads in assists (4.8). Keeping one or both of them in check is KEY if we're going to win. Jordan Burgason is hitting 41% from beyond the arc so someone keep a hand in his face.

Other things to note:
- average 85.6 PPG (7th in the country)
- 42.0 rebounds per game (12th)
- 47.5% FG

Prediction: this one is going to be tough. Green needs to watch his fouls, Releford needs to penetrate, we REALLY need something from Hillman, and Davis has to hit some 3s. If Hines can contain Hodzic on the boards that would be nice. I'll be an optimist this time... Bama by 4.

Game time is 8PM EST (7PM CST). No TV that I know of. On rolltide.com if you so want to pay to watch this.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

For giggles... our RPI and tracking the teams we lost to this year

From this site we're currently #245. Damn. That's scary AUful. We have lost to #53 (OSU), 54 (Providence), 137 (St Peter's), 214 (Iowa), 95 (Seton Hall), and 48 (Purdue). Our highest RPI win was over SE Louisiana (148). That is brutal.

Oklahoma State is 10-1 with a loss to VA Tech.

Providence is 10-2 with losses @ Boston College and to LaSalle at home.

Purdue is 10-1 with a loss @ Richmond.

St Peter's is 6-4 with losses @ Robert Morris, Old Dominion, Long Beach St, and @ Seton Hall.

Iowa is 6-5 with losses to SDSU, Xavier, Long Beach State, @ Wake Forest, and Iowa State.

Seton Hall is 5-4 with losses @ Temple, Xavier, Clemson, and Arkansas.

This is purely for informational purposes.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Our best road effort so far. Still not enough. Cowboys 68 Tide 60

Box score

The 1st half set back college hoops 30 years. Both teams looked AUful with us out AUfuling OSU by scoring 20 points at the break. I swear I could've fielded a team from the Bama Rec Center that could've hung with OSU better.

The second half... well we SAW ADJUSTMENTS! Releford took the ball to the hoop more, Green was a presence inside (and shut down Moses), and Davis hit a couple of key shots to bring us close. We forced OSU into some bad shots, but every time we got within 5 points the Pokes would respond with either a wide open 3 or a relatively easy shot.

I'll be honest... I thought we were going to get run out of the building in the 2nd half in front of that sold out audience of about 2500. Instead, the team showed some heart... clawed their way back into the game, but in the end we don't have enough offense to complete the comeback. When Green fouled out it was mostly over... when Releford followed that was the end.

I don't like moral victories, but MAYBE we can learn something from this game going into SEC play on the road. Truth be told, the SEC West doesn't have a team as good as OSU and if we can hang with them we might could steal one @ the Barn or LSU.

I was scoreboard watching the SEC West today. This might collectively be the worst 6 teams in a half of a conference. We compare nicely to Big East football.

Know your enemy- Oklahoma St Cowboys

The Cowboys come into the game 9-1, but outside of VA Tech (their only loss), they really haven't played much of anyone. Cupcake city for the most part.

Marshall Moses and Keiton Page lead their offense at 18.6 and 14.7 PPG. Moses also co-leads the team in rebounds (with Darrell Williams). OSU really doesn't have a 3 point threat, despite jacking up roughly 13 of them a game. 9 players average 10 minutes per game.

Writeup of the game from OSU

Stats

Keys to the game:
- limit Moses inside
- need to hit some 3s (Davis, Hillman, Releford)
- Green has to stay out of foul trouble
- Releford with penetration (as I don't think they have a player that can guard him).

Prediction- I normally don't do game comparisons, but if we couldn't win at Providence which was probably the most winnable road game we had out of conference I can't see us pulling the upset in Oklahoma City (essentially a road game here). I believe we stick around and don't have the late meltdown like we did against the Friars, but nonetheless we come up short... again. Cowboys by 9 late.

Game time is 6:30PM EST (5:30PM CST) on ESPN2, Sirius 112, XM 231, and ESPN3.com.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tide Tames Lions, 59-38

We improved to 5-5 and remained undefeated at home with a convincing win over SE Louisiana. Alabama never trailed in the game, and it was never really in doubt.

The Lions came in averaging over 80 points per game on good perimeter shooting. We basically shut them down with a tight man to man defense, holding them to 4 of 18 from downtown. Releford and Hillman both did a very good job on defense against their top scorer.

It was interesting to me that we did not press in this game. Also, Jason Carter and Carl Engstrom did not enter the game until later in the 2nd half long after the outcome had been determined. I can think of two possible explanations for this: 1) Coach Grant realizes he does not have the depth to run the type of style of play that he would prefer, and is adapting and we will see mostly an 8 man rotation but a slower pace game or 2) with the scouting report on SELA being that they are a good 3 point shooting team, he did not want to go to the zone (you have no choice but to go zone when Engstrom is in) and did not want to give up open shots in transition. Time will tell if this was a shift in philosophies or a strategic move against this particular opponent.

Releford had another great game with 10 points as did JaMychal Green with 16 points and 15 rebounds in the post. Hankerson actually had a solid game, and Charvez made a couple of 3's. Jason Carter played well when he first came into the game, but then for some reason he decided to start jacking up 3's. Engstrom got a rebound and a couple of blocks. It was good to see Justin Luguire score, and Hunter Jeffery from the practice squad get some playing time.

The crowd may have been the smallest I have ever seen for a men's game. Several factors, including the students being on winter break, the cold rainy weather (and ice earlier in the day), and the inexplicably late start likely contributed to the poor turnout. I would be surprised if there were even 1,000 people there. I counted at least 4 sections that were completely empty.

Up next, we travel to Oklahoma City for a "neutral site" game against Travis Ford's Oklahoma State Cowboys. Tipoff is set for 5:30 pm Saturday, and it will be televised on ESPN2. I'm sitting this one out, but will be watching it on TV with the rest of you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Know your enemy- SE LA Lions

The writeup from their athletic site.

The come in 5-2 coming off a huge win at Southern. They're 2-2 on the road with both of those losses coming by 20+ points (UNLV and UCF).

Link to stats

They seem to be a decent shooting team against sub par competition, but if you D up they struggle. Trent Hutchins is their offense, David Ndoumba clears the boards... that's about it for them. The Lions have 10 that average 10 MPG.

Prediction: I can't see them giving us a game. Releford should go off and Green should dominate inside. I also see a few highlight dunks in Hillman's future. Bama by 19.

The game is on ESPN3 (there is no such channel, just the internet) at 9PM EST (8PM CST). Also on the Full Court package if you want to watch it on TV.

Forgive any typos... I'm in a rush for the day job.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Illinois v. Oakland plays with a women's ball

Not Alabama related, but I found this incredibly unbelievable and had to share. Apparently Illinois and Oakland played the first 7 minutes of their game with a women's ball. It is amazing to me they went 7 minutes without correcting it. First of all, the referee should have noticed at tip-off. I officiate high school basketball and the first thing I do before tip off is make sure we are playing with a proper ball. Maybe because they don't have as many men's and women's games playing on the same day and court in college they don't check as closely, but still, you can immediately tell a difference when holding a women's ball. I remember playing coed intramural basketball and we had to use a lady's ball; my first shot from the top of the key nearly hit the top of the backboard. With 10 players handling the ball, one would think somebody would have said something. There is a HUGE difference in a men's and women's ball.

One of Illinois' players complained that the ball felt funny to Coach Weber, and he basically told him to "shut up and play ball." I bet there were some interesting perimeter shots at the beginning of that game.

Knee surgery for Andrew Steele

I came across this information today at Tidesports. Since it factored into what I wrote yesterday and some of you commented on, I wanted to include it here.

Apparently, Andrew Steele has undergone arthroscopic surgery on both knees.

From Tidesports:

Grant, speaking at his weekly press conference on Monday, announced that forward Andrew Steele, who has not played this season because of nagging knee pain, had undergone arthroscopic surgery on both knees and would be out for an indefinite period.

“About a week and a half ago, Andrew had both knees scoped, just to make sure the doctors were not missing any possible source of the pain, and to clean some things up,” Grant said. “I don’t think they found anything major.”

It is uncertain whether Steele will be available to play this season or whether he will apply for a hardship year. Steele was a redshirt last year after injuring an ankle after seeing action in six games.


At this point it appears we will not be seeing Andrew this season, if ever. Man oh man, the bad luck with injuries for Andrew and Ron is truly amazing.

In other news: Obviously we're not the only ones discussing the amount of minutes Releford plays. In the same article at Tidesports, there was information concerning Trevor's minutes per game.

Freshman point guard Trevor Releford, who has clearly been an offensive spark for a UA team that struggles to score at times, is currently averaging 29.8 minutes per game. Grant said Monday that he was unlikely to push that number much higher.

“I’d like to keep him in that 28- to 32-minute range,” Grant said. “I think it can be dangerous to push more than that. I think Mikhail (Torrance) averaged 33 minutes last year and that’s pretty high.”


It could be Grant is trying to keep Trevor as fresh as possible throughout the season since there is no one behind him nearly as productive. Nevertheless, if the bench production doesn't improve, he may not have a choice but to play Trevor more minutes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Alabama Basketball: My Two Cents

I want to take the time and chime in on the recent struggles of the team. Like many of you, I am frustrated with the losing. However, I'm trying to retain my objectivity when it comes to the realities facing this team. The first reaction to losing is always to criticize the coaching staff even if it's not always the right reaction. I was watching a documentary the other night about the North Carolina/Duke basketball rivalry. I found it amusing knowing what we do now that both Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski came under fire early in their careers and were almost fired before their subsequent successes made them into Hall of Fame coaches. Not that I'm comparing Anthony Grant to those two coaches, but I do think it's important to remember that sometimes patience is a virtue.

Let's look at this situation objectively. Let me first say up front that I'm a fan of Anthony Grant. I was a fan of his before he came to Alabama and was pleasantly surprised that the university made the effort to hire him. When Anthony Grant took over this team I think most of us can agree that Gottfried had really let it go in terms of discipline and the talent level. I'm not going to turn this into a Gottfried bitch-fest, but a change probably should have been made a year or two before it happened in order to keep the program competitive. It wasn't, and Anthony Grant walked into a difficult situation with a team that was lacking discipline, talent and toughness.

Despite this lack of talent, Alabama went from being one of the worst defensive teams in the conference to one of the best. And Mikhail Torrance finally had a chance to shine under Anthony Grant, becoming one of the top guards in the conference who would have been drafted if not for the heart ailment that has, at the very least, severely stalled his career. The team notched 17 wins and appeared headed in the right direction. Coming into this season, there was still much work to be done but there was a feeling this team could still compete. Despite no returning point guard experience, the team would return a potential star in JaMychal Green, an improving player in Tony Mitchell and depth in both the back court (with the return of Hillman, Steele and the incoming class) and front court (Justin Knox and a healthy Demetrius Jemison).

Unfortunately, summers in Tuscaloosa where it concerns basketball rarely go as planned. At the 11th hour both Justin Knox and Demetrius Jemison opted to leave the program, thus stripping away the depth in the paint that the coaches were anticipating. The coaching staff seemed surprised by their decisions and had no time left to recruit for the positions. By that time, the best recruits were signed anyway. Jason Carter had been signed, but was not expected to play many minutes. In fact, my opinion is he would have been redshirted if Jemison and Knox had not left. They did bring in Engstrom for some size and depth, but the kid is a project who has some upside but needs time to develop. The result is Green and Hines were the only reliable post players the team had coming into the season. And they were without even Green during his three-game suspension.

Depth in the backcourt also hasn't gone as planned. Senario has been solid for the most part, but he's never developed much past being a great athlete. Charvez got off to the slow start after hernia surgery, and has yet to become the consistent perimeter threat needed. Andrew Steele has yet to play a second due to an injured foot. Steele's absence in particular really hurts because of his ability to defend plus he could have been counted on for 5-10 points a night. On a team struggling to score points, you'll take any production you can get. A book should be written detailing the injuries to the Steele brothers and their impact on the Alabama program and coaches.

A lack of floor leadership has also hurt this team. Last year, Mikhail Torrance stepped up and became the de facto leader of this team. With his departure, none of the upperclassmen have opted to take on the role, which has left the team floundering at times.

It remains to be seen if the first recruiting class for Grant will be productive over the long haul. Releford has been solid. In fact, once he gets stronger, I think he could become one of the better point guards in the SEC. Nevertheless, he's still a freshman and that shows from game to game with highs and lows. I thought as good as he looked at times on Saturday getting to the basket and passing the ball, he played too fast at times when Alabama needed to slow the game down. In time he'll learn how to control tempo.

The rest of the class though has been iffy. As mentioned, Engstrom and Carter are not yet ready for major minutes. Charles Hankerson has shown a flash here and there, but to say he's off to a slow start would be an understatement. Unless he can make major improvement, he's going to be buried on the depth chart when the 2011 class arrives. Kendall Durant is a player I thought would play more minutes than he has up to this point. He appears to have struggled with the transition from JC but I still expected more minutes. He was not dressed on Saturday, ostensibly due to an injury, so it's possible that he has not been healthy enough to play more minutes.

Finally, there is Ben Eblen. A lot has been said about Ben Eblen. I've said a lot about Ben Eblen. Seems like a good kid, but to date has not shown that he's capable of playing at this level. A lot of fans have wondered why he's getting the minutes he has. Unfortunately, there is no one else to play. Seriously, who else can Grant put out there? Releford isn't physically able to play 30-40 minutes a game. Eblen is proof positive that the talent level of this team is far below what it needs to be in order to win consistently. If it was better, Eblen would only see limited minutes. At this point it seems like a case of what it is is what it is. And, frankly, Eblen isn't the only problem this team has.

There’s nothing wrong with expecting your team to win and win now, but I think we're all being a little unfair to this coaching staff. You could take 95% of the coaches in the country and they would likewise struggle with the talent level that Alabama has right now. That's not to imply the coaches don't deserve some criticism, but there's only so much they can do until the talent level increases. Talent will make some into geniuses. Just look at Gene Chizik. Take Cam Newton away and he's still that 5-19 coach that Auburn fans hated upon his hire. With Cam, he's a coach of the year and a part of the "Auburn Family" (A lot like the Manson Family, but without the creativeness). Regarding the Alabama basketball talent: that is being addressed through recruiting. I think we need to wait and see how that pans out before we pass too much judgment.

As far as this season goes: I'm not ready to pack it in just yet, but at this point the best we can possibly hope for is a .500 finish. If there is a silver lining, the team has played better since the Virgin Island debacle. The effort has been better and guys like Tony Mitchell and Chris Hines have attempted to step their games up. You also have to like how JaMychal played coming off the suspension. He's not exactly been a double-double machine in his three years so the fact that he posted one after missing three games is promising. There are still some tough games left before conference play so hopefully the team can finish on a high note. If Mitchell and Green continue to play at a high level, they have a chance

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fried in Friartown, 82-70

In a battle of two bad teams, we got smoked. There were some positives. It was a tie game at the half, 40-40. It was still tied at the 8 minutes left media timeout in the 2nd half. Providence dominated from there on.

I was optimistic when it appeared the team had more energy pregame than it did at Purdue. I was sitting about 6 rows behind the bench and I could see and hear Chris Hines showing some leadership trying to get the guys fired up during a timeout in the first half. Our press seemed to cause them some trouble, but when we went to the zone they killed us with penetration along the baseline.

I really don't want to hate on Ben Eblen, but we've got to cut his minutes if we want to have any chance of being remotely competitive this year. I think Coach Grant has some sentimental connection to him because he's from Florida and he stuck with him when he changed jobs, but there's no way he should be seeing 15 minutes per game. He played the 2 position with Releford in the game for a good portion of the second half, and it's beyond confusing as to why you would have both of them on the floor at the same time. I understand that Hillman was in foul trouble, but still...

Providence is picked to finish near the bottom of the Big East. Despite their good record, even most of their fans readily admit that they pretty much suck. It was an away game, but it was far from a hostile environment, there is no excuse for losing this game, especially as badly as we did. What concerns me the most about this game is that we were badly outcoached.

When Providence went on their run in the second half, we never called a timeout. In fact, we didn't use a single timeout in the second half. I think by now everybody knows how I feel about Coach Grant's use of (or more accurately, lack thereof) timeouts, so that's all I am going to say about that. Even a Friar fan sitting in front of me said, "you should never have 4 timeouts left at the end of a game that you are losing."

It seemed like after every media timeout Providence went on a run. Nearly everytime they had an inbounds on the baseline under their basket they scored.

We should have had a much bigger lead in the first half. We did a good job of getting to the rim, but we couldn't finish. Credit Keno Davis and Providence for making the adjustment in the second half to play off of us and force us to take more jumpshots. Unfortunately, we took the bait and as usual we couldn't hit anything.

This team's shooting is average at best at home, and it sucks ass away from Tuscaloosa. Charvez Davis is going to have to figure how to shoot the ball outside of Coleman Coliseum. At this point, I would have him shooting 200 3 pointers per day, at a different local high school gym each day. Furthermore, Senario Hillman needs to step it up. He dominates against poor competition but goes into hiding on the road and in big games. Fouling out with 6 points will not cut it.

JaMychal Green scored 15 points and had a pretty good first half. Unfortunately, he got soft at times in the second half and couldn't make a shot in crunch time when we needed it most.

Providence can't shoot either, but they finally got hot toward the end of the game. Major props to Marshon Brooks, he is a hell of a player and basically carried them to victory.

Coach Grant appeared very frustrated after the game. He was the first one off the court for our team, actually walking amongst the Providence players into the tunnel.


This is a bad team right now, and it's hard for me to see it getting any better. It will be a struggle to finish with a winning record, much less make a postseason tournament. I could see us going 3-13 in the SEC if there isn't some sort of drastic change.

Providence is a really neat town. There are a lot of cool bars and restaurants in the downtown area, and it has most of the big city conveniences with a quaint, small city feel to it. The Providence fans were very nice and respectful. The arena is one of the nicest I have seen. It seats about 12,000, has a very nice lobby area and concourse. It has a good, comfortable configuration with everyone having a good view and being close to the court. My only complaint is that it seemed very dark in there, although that could be due to the black seats. The arena is owned by the city and is not on campus; I still have not seen Providence's campus. I was on Brown's campus last night, and it was very nice.

The crowd was not very strong. There was probably around 7,000 there, and the atmosphere was lame. They didn't really make any noise at all until they went on their run late in the second half, and even then it wasn't that loud. Their fans didn't even stand up for the starting lineups, student turnout was pathetic, and they didn't even have a pep band there. I assumed this was due to the winter break, but I was told that the students were still on campus, although I'm still not sure if that information was accurate. We actually had a decent following. I would estimate we had close to 200 fans there between the block from the NY and Boston Alumni chapters and others scattered throughout the arena. My gf didn't make the trip, so the number and quality of pics is limited, but I did take one of the BOA building and a few at the game. Note the 1987 final four banner, sorry to bring back bad memories.

Up next, SE Louisiana comes to Tuscaloosa Wednesday night for an inexplicably late 8pm tipoff.





Disgusting final 5 minutes... Friars beat Tide 82-70.

We were outplayed, outcoached, out everything in the last 5 minutes of the game. Once Providence got up by 6 we decided to be a jump shooting team. NEWSFLASH- we don't have a FREAKIN' decent jump shooter. Here's an idea... they give each team timeouts to use... specifically for stopping runs. How about using one.

Box score

Up until the last 5 minutes we did a good job controlling the boards, feeding JaMychal, getting Mitchell some open shots, and defending Council. Then the floodgates opened and Green decided he was a jump shooter, Hillman fouled everything that moved, and our coaching staff watched it all without doing much of anything.

I have to say this team so far ranks up there with the 97 Hobbs team in terms of enjoyability. I feel I have to get tanked up to watch this... and if we can't compete for 40 MINUTES with a bottom 3rd Big East team what is going to happen when we get into conference play?

It's rare you see a team that can't shoot, is soft inside, and consistently burnt on the defensive end.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

JaMychal Green reinstated to team

Fortunately, JaMychal has been reinstated to the basketball team. Anthony Grant announced the decision today, though he added that Green will not start Saturday's game at Providence.

Personally, I'm happy to hear this. JaMychal seems like a good kid who simply has struggled with maturity issues at times (what kid doesn't?). His return certainly helps the team on both ends of the floor. Hopefully JaMychal grows from this experience and rejoins the team with the attitude and focus the coaching staff expects.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Know your enemy- Providence Friars

Probably one of the coolest team names on the planet... in one of the coolest town in the northeast... they come into this game 9-1 and relatively untested. This is the best start to a season they've had in a while. Before they take us on they got Boston College on Wednesday. Let's hope that one goes to 4OTs.

Big time scoring threats in Marshon Brooks and Vincent Council at 21.4 and 17.1 PPG. Other than that they have issues on the offensive end. Bilal Dixon and Brooks average 10.2 and 8.6 rebounds so we REALLY need Hines and Mitchell blocking them out as much as possible.

I'm concerned about Council. I think he'll carve us up with penetration. We don't have a guard that can man up to him.

Good news... they can't shoot from 3 worth a damn... and despite the crappy competition they're only shooting 45.7% from the field overall. The bench is thin as only 7 see the court for more than a cup of coffee.

Stats

Keys to the game (changing things up):
- get the ball out of Council's hands. I say assign Hillman to him.
- Charvez needs to have a big game shooting.
- play even on the rebound war.
- get the lead early... lead/be within 5 at halftime.
- play with some DAMN emotion.

Prediction: I blame DJC. We're 0-4 when he attends a road/neutral site game so far (I'm 0-2) and I suspect it continues. Until we find some sort of offensive identity there's no way I can call a win on the road. Friars by 12.

Game is December 11th at 2PM EST (1PM CST) on ESPNU. No excuse not to watch this... sssupport the team and let's hope I'm wrong.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Boilers Beat up Bama



The 19 point loss is the worst of the Coach Grant era so far. Unless we start playing better, there will be many more to come this year. I understand that JaMychal Green has started practicing with the team again, but he did not make the trip. I think we were overly concerned about getting beat in the post and stuck with the zone defense for too long. We were very poor in the zone, and were slow to close out on their shooters. Once they got hot, especially #33, there was no stopping them.

I was disappointed with the team's body language coming into the game. During the starting lineups and pregame, everybody had their heads down and there was very little emotion or communication. I would think they would be fired up, jumping around and excited about playing a top 20 team on the road on national television. Maybe I am reading too much into that, and I know it probably doesn't have anything to do with what happened on the court, but it bothered me that we didn't seem excited to be there.

We hung with them for the first 15 minutes or so until their shots started falling, and then things just got progressively worse. I said before the game to have any chance at all we would need a big shooting day from Davis, Hillman, and Mitchell. They were a combined 0 for 8 from downtown. We did not make a single 3 point shot. This might be the worst shooting team I have ever seen.

Ben Eblen plays hard, and I appreciate all the hard work he puts into the program, but he is simply not an SEC caliber player. We would be better off using Durant as the backup PG. I would even be fine with playing Releford 40 minutes per game like Gottfried did with Ron Steele at this point. Eblen had 0 assists and 4 turnovers. I once read somewhere that the assist/turnover statistic is the most reliable predictor of the outcome in college basketball games. We had 8 assists and 18 turnovers. That is pathetic.

You have to give credit to Purdue. They are a very sound fundamental team. We have athletes, but they have basketball players. Their man to man defense is a thing of beauty. Painter is a very good coach. We tried to press to pick up the pace of the game, but they calmly broke it and got into their halfcourt offense. It was mostly a halfcourt game, and we had no chance in that style of play. Purdue might win the SEC if they played our schedule. Honestly, we didn't belong on the same court with them.

Overall, it was still a good experience. I was sitting behind the basket and right across the stairs from the Purdue band. Most of their fans were extremely knowledgeable and very friendly. A few of their band nerds tried to give me a hard time, but that's to be expected. They weren't overly obnoxious or aggressive. They do seem to have an inferiority complex with Indiana. Several people went out of their way to let us know how much they hate IU, and their students had organized "IU Sucks" chants. Mackey Arena holds over 14,000, and it was nearly packed, with only a couple hundred empty seats at the top behind one of the baskets. We had a total of about 20 fans there. The atmosphere was great, probably the 2nd best I've seen behind Kentucky. The arena is currently undergoing badly needed renovations. Frankly, the place is a dump. It's all bench seats, there is no lobby area to speak of, and the concourses are bland and ugly. My gf takes more pics than a foreign tourists, so scroll down to see some from the game, around campus, and me ice skating later that night (this was before I busted my ass).

No midweek game this week as the players will be taking their finals. Study hard and good luck, boys, we can't afford to lose any more of you. Up next, we go to Providence to play the Friars in the Dunkin Donuts Center next Saturday. Tipoff is 2pm EST, 1 Central, and will be televised on ESPNU. I will be there, and I understand the Boston and New York alumni chapters are organizing a trip, so hopefully we will have a decent following.








Saturday, December 04, 2010

Purdue Pulverizes Pachyderms

Bama did not have any offensive punch, made too many mental errors, and did not cover the Boilermakers' shooters effectively in the zone defense.  There was one bright note.  When the Tide did get to the line they made almost all of their free throws.  Here's a box score

Boilermakers bash Bama

We played them close for the first 15 minutes until we hit a Gottfried scoring drought of 7 minutes. Purdue is far superior to us and proved it the last 25.

Purdue killed us from 3... While we stunk it up. If Releford doesn't penetrate I don't know how we score. We are terrible offensively. We have no leader on the court, outside of Davis... no shooter, outside of Green (suspended)... no inside threat. I don't see it getting better come SEC play.

DJC will have a more detailed report I assume. We lose 66-47. Quite honestly I'm disgusted at how we are playing. I expected Purdue to win... But they didn't play great and still dominated.

Outside of holding them under 70 I can't think of anything we did well. I probably should've been one of those football only fans and watched Oregon-Oregon St or the 1st half of the Barn-Gamecock game.

Purdue Preview

They lost their best player to injury for the season, but are still 6-1 and ranked number 18 in the nation. They have been dominate at home, but have not really played any tough games in Mackey Arena yet. Purdue is returning home from a 2 game road trip where they suffered their only loss to a good Richmond team, and bounced back with an overtime win in Blacksburg over Virginia Tech. Last year they came into Tuscaloosa as a top 10 team and we blew a huge second half against them. They have a big guy who is fairly athletic and has a good jump shot, which could create some matchup problems for us. I predict we hang with them in the first half, but lack of depth in the post does us in down the stretch. Purdue by 14.

I will be at the game, sitting about 7 rows behind one of the baskets. It's 28 degrees here, and we got about 3 inches of snow last night, and it's still coming down. It's quite a change after being in the Virgin Islands just a little over a week ago. We got in late last night so haven't had time to check out the campus or anything yet, but I've been pleasantly surprised with what I have seen from the Lafayette/West Lafayette towns so far. Tip off is 3:30 EST, 2:30 Central on ESPN2. RTR!

Edit: A couple of pics of the skating rink and Wabash river, courtesy of my girlfriend.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Bama 72 USA 50

We started off sluggish, and trailed the first 8 minutes of the game. Ronnie Arrow had a good defensive gameplan for us, playing a lot of zone and switching to a soft man to try to limit our ability to penetrate. Thankfully, Charvez Davis came in and starting making some perimeter shots to open things up. Davis, Hillman, and Mitchell all had good games, and Chris Hines was solid in the post.

We continue to have way too many turnovers, especially in the first half of games. This will kill us against good teams on the road. Hankerson struggled again on offense, with 2 turnovers and no assists or points. His defense has improved. Obviously Coach Grant sees practice everyday and I do not, but based upon what I am seeing in the games my starting lineup right now would be: 1. Releford 2. Davis 3. Hillman 4. Mitchell 5. Hines.

We gave up a disturbing number of baskets in the first half because we got beat in transition. We finished the half strong and were able to take a 10 point lead into the half. In the second half, things started clicking and we forced a number of turnovers with the 2-2-1 press which led to some easy layups and dunks. Tony Mitchell had one incredible dunk on alley oop pass from Ben Eblen that appeared to be heading to the top of the backboard, but somehow Mitchell got up, caught the ball, and slammed it home. There was one sloppy spell in the 2nd half where we allowed them to cut the 20 point lead down to 13, but for the most part we were in control of the game.

JaMychal Green was still nowhere to be found. We are very thin in the post right now. We switched to a zone everytime Engstrom came into the game, presumably because it's easier for him to guard the general area under the basket than risk being isolated on someone one on one. He did make 2 free throws, which is better than most everybody else from the line. Jason Carter made a couple of nice plays while he was in there, but these guys just aren't ready to be significant contributors in big games at this point. It was good to see Jason Carter back after his injury in the last game. Unfortunately, I will be surprised if Andrew Steele plays again this year. He is on crutches and not moving very good.

The crowd was surprisingly decent for a Wednesday night game, probably close to 6,000 or so. There was a strong student turnout, likely due to a promotion featuring an Ipad giveaway. The women beat Alabama State 80-31, and there was a nice presentation for the back to back defending National Champion UA wheelchair team. Up next, our first true road game, and it will be a tough one as we go to West Lafayette, IN on Saturday to take on the 18th ranked Purdue Boilermakers. Tip off is 3:30 Eastern, 2:30 Central and will be televised on ESPN2.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Know your enemy- South Alabama Jaguars

Another cupcake comes to town for hopefully a thorough butt-whipping. They haven't showed up on the road in their previous games so I'm expecting this to continue.
Season stats

Tim Williams and Martino Brock pull double digit PPG while Augustine Rubit cleans the boards at 7.4 RPG. The roster has exactly one guy over 6'6" and that guy plays (Gowins)sparingly. They pretty much suck in every aspect of the game right now.

Stats:
- 37.4% FG
- 31% 3PT FG
- 62.7% FT
- -3.4 rebound margin
- -8 PPG scoring margin

Prediction: bloodshed... we should absolutely maul the Jags. We should beat them up inside, force a ton of turnovers, and run them to the ground. Bama by 32.

Game time is 12/1 around 8:30PM EST (7:30PM CST). Usual links.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bama beats Bulldogs to break even

The Tide rised back to .500 with a 76-50 win over Alabama A&M. Charles Hankerson got the first start of his young career in place of the suspended Green. Hankerson made the most of his opportunity, playing very good defense, making a 3 pointer, protecting the basketball, and scoring 8 points. Tony Mitchell really stepped up his game down low, pulling down 15 reboundings and adding 12 points. We had 4 players score in double digits, with Chris Hines giving us a solid 10 in the post and Charvez Davis adding 11 from the perimeter. Ben Eblen even scored 6, going 3 for 4 on layups.

It was obvious from the start of the game that the Bulldogs would not be able to hang. We went on an early run to build the lead and never looked back. We did get a little sloppy about midway through the first half when AAMU finally realized they couldn't play a full court game with us and switched to a 2-3 zone. We were much more crisp in the halfcourt offense later in the half and in the 2nd half. The intensity and energy was much better than it has been the last 2 games, with the guys on the bench seeming much more into the game and vocal.

Jason Carter suffered an injury in the 2nd half, which was unfortunate because he was playing a very good game. He appeared to be in a lot of pain and the trainers spent a fair amount of time checking out his right knee. He did not return, but appeared to be walking much better by the end of the game. With JaMychal's suspension we are already very thin in the post. Hopefully Carter will be okay.

I criticize the officials a fair amount on here and at the games, but they have a difficult and thankless job and for the most part they do the best they can. Rick Hartzell, one of the officials, was injured in the 2nd half when an Alabama A&M player dived to save a ball and knocked him into the scorer's table. He appeared to hit his side on the padded edge of the table, but with the weight of the rather large bulldog upon him. It took him several minutes to catch his breath before going back to the locker room to be looked at. He returned several minutes later, but after running up and down the court twice, realized he could not make it and walked back off. I sincerely hope his injury is not too serious and he makes a speedy recover. He was in the right position at the time, it was just one of those fluke plays and he had nowhere to go.

Without knowing the full story, I will not offer an opinion on Green's suspension. At this point, I trust Coach Grant and hope it's the best decision for all involved. I hope it is something minor and he is able to return soon.

The crowd at the game was pathetic, maybe 3,000 or so in attendance. AAMU brought a fair amount of fans, including one who apparently thought he was on the coaching staff. Sporting a maroon coat and tie, he literally stood on the front step behind AAMU's basket for the first 10 minutes of the game shouting instructions to his team loudly enough for the entire gym to hear. UAPD officers finally sent him to his seat, where he was shown several times on the jumbotron throughout the rest of the game looking rather displeased.

Up next, the South Alabama Jaguars come to Tuscaloosa for an approximate 7:30 pm tipoff Wednesday night at Coleman. I say approximate, because the game will actually start 30 minutes following the conclusion of the women's game against Alabama State, which will tip off at 5 p.m. So if you have time, get there a little early and support the women too, who are having a very good season with only one close loss to a top 15 team.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

JaMychal Green suspended indefinitely

Green has been indefinitely suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team". According to a team spokesperson, the suspension is due to a "basketball matter".

This doesn't surprise me much since I figured a shake-up was in order after the trip to the Virgin Islands. JaMychal has incredible potential as a player but inconsistency has dogged him from the beginning of his career in Tuscaloosa. With this being his second suspension in less than a year, could it mean the end of his career in Tuscaloosa?

Know your enemy- Alabama A&M Bulldogs

Obviously most of us are still hurting from the choke job at Bryant-Denny. Hopefully this game turns out to be a good distraction.

Stats

They're 2-1 with a loss at Western Kentucky. They have 4 guys averaging double digit scoring, Cantey and Hunter are the rebounders, and Hester and Jackson are the perimeter shooters. That all sounds nice, but IMO we shouldn't have to worry much about any of them.

Stats:
- 40.5% FG
- 31.9% 3PT FG
- 63.2% FT
- +1.3 rebound margin

Prediction: after a miserable Paradise Jam I suspect A&M is the sacrificial lamb... I hope. Bama by 23.

Gametime is 2PM EST (1PM CST)... at the usual links.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Recap of the Paradise Jam II

Thanks to Delta I spent an extra night in St Thomas. I guess there are worse places to be stuck. Anyways...

DJC covered the tournament and the general suckage of our team below. I'm going to add some random thoughts.

- On the plane ride home I spoke to an Iowa media guy and asked him what did the coaches prepare the Hawkeyes for against us. His answer was to take away the inside and let them shoot. They were a bit nervous about that on the heels of the Seton Hall game, but obviously it worked out well. They primarily played a hybrid 2-3 zone, double-teaming Green and only worried about Davis from the outside. It was explained to me it was more of a 1-2-2 look with more collapsing inside. We played their game...

- I suspect EVERY team we play will implement this the best they can. We'll have a game or two like Seton Hall, but if we don't improve we're not much better than the Barn.

- Iowa isn't supposed to be very good. They lost to the LBC (Long Beach) on Monday... and thanks to Delta they (and Clemson) were stuck like me in St Thomas Tuesday.

- St Peter's celebrated their win over us like they made the Final Four. I give them all the credit in the world... their kids never quit. IMO ours were going through the motions since Saturday morning.

- I'm not as full of BAMA as DJC is. I skipped the Iowa game and instead drank on the beach. I did go to the St Peter's shocker with 155 of my closest friends.

- At first, I thought Grant canceling the team's snorkeling trip was a good thing due to their play vs Iowa. I'm not so sure I believe that anymore. I saw a team sleepwalking vs St Peter's (which Grant said himself during a TO), a team playing as individuals, very little chatter between them on the court or on the bench, and when I heard Grant said something about practice when they get back I saw their heads collectively sulk. I'm not sure the approach he's taking with them is effective. Hell... I'll say it... I think he's being too much of a hardass... at least from what I saw in St Thomas.

- The kids aren't having fun out there. Looks to me like the last thing any of them want to do is play basketball. That's a HUGE problem as it won't be corrected at the snap of a finger or more practice time.

- DJC and I talked about Grant's questionable use and non-use of timeouts. We both noticed this last year too. To be honest that bothers me.

For hanging with me through this long post, here are some pics I took at the tourney. They're iPhone quality, but you can see how close we are to the action.






- I'm really concerned about this team. Losing to the 5th, 6th, and 7th place teams is something no one expected. Obviously the season is very young, but IMO we got more than shooting issues.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Trouble in Paradise. It's Ebb Tide as Bama brings up the rear

The bad news, we finished dead last in a tournament of 8 teams that did not even feature a single top 25 team. I'm trying to find some good news, but frankly from an Alabama basketball perspective that is a difficult task right now. The best I can come up with is that I'm on a tropical island typing the post while overlooking the beach, and you are not; but that probably doesn't make you feel any better.

We had no business losing to Iowa. St. Peter's returned 4 starters from one of the best defensive teams in the country last year, but still, they lost by 25 to Robert Morris. We had no business losing to them too.

I've been reluctant to post because I'm honestly at a loss for words right now. We played hard and competed against Seton Hall. I really felt bad for the guys after that game, as you could see the anguish and disgust on every player's face after that game. We didn't show up for the Iowa game. Coach Grant was more animated and vocal than I have ever seen him during the St. Peter's game. Nevertheless, it was the same situation as the Iowa game, we settled for too many jump shots, played a slower place game that favors St. Peters, and ended up getting beat.

I do not know the answer. Coach Grant's style of play requires a deep bench. We need 10-11 guys who can contribute. Right now, we have 4 players getting significant playing time who at this point in their career should not be seeing the court in a D1 game. The 7 players who are legitimate contributers are better suited to playing the type of game we are trying to run. I don't know what we should do, if you slow it down you go away from the strength of the players in the game, but what we are doing obviously leaves us with huge liabilities. For now, trust Coach Grant and hope that he gets the horses he needs soon.

Other than the horrible basketball, it's been a great trip. The U.S. Virgin Islands are beautiful. We took a ferry to St. John's a couple of days and had a great time. There are some beautiful beaches on St. Thomas, and a fun bar scene at Red Hook. We met Bryan Passink and his wife, and they are great people who love UA even more than we do, which I didn't think was possible. The arena here is small, much like Maui's, and would pass for an average at best high school arena back home. That being said, you can get much closer to the action with a general admission ticket than anywhere back home. Furthermore, the concession stand people were the most quickly efficient, friendly, and reasonably priced of anywhere I have been. Outside of people connected to the program, we did not have much of a following at all. Iowa brought a fair number of folks, as did Seton Hall. Outside of St. Peter's, we probably had the smallest crowd here. I was surprised at how many people Long Beach State brought, and Clemson also had a few. Iowa and Clemson were both on our flight back home, which got cancelled.

On the downside, it's much more humid here than it was in Maui, and parts of the island are somewhat run down. Not surprisingly at all, Delta screwed us and the the flight home got cancelled because they apparently weren't competent enough to adequately maintain the plane. Nevertheless, there are worse places to be stuck an extra night than St. Thomas. Up next, Alabama A&M saturday night at Coleman. Hopefully it being Iron Bowl weekend will draw a decent crowd. Below are a couple of pics, showing a view from the beach on our condo and at the game.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Watching St Peter's game with 115 in attendance...

1 pt lead at the half. During a TO Grant lit into the team for sleepwalking. I thought that might fahr them up, but for the most part we're playing St Peter's game.

Settling for jump shots again. Ugh.

More to come later.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Playing for 7th

Our apologies for the lack of updates. Internet access has been limited. In a nutshell, we just haven't played very well. In the Seton Hall game, we had too many turnovers at key moments in the game. It was a strange game in that we shot 71% from 3 point range, but Seton Hall shot about 75%. Our free throw shooting was horrible as usual. The officials were calling the game extremely tight, and we were slow to make the required adjustments. Still, we played hard and came back and cut the lead to 3, and had the ball with a 3 point deficit with around 15 seconds to play. I like a lot of things Coach Grant is doing, but at times I think he went to the Les Miles school of clock management. We turned the ball over and never got a shot at tying the game. We should have called a timeout to draw up a play for a 3 point shot. Nevertheless, that is not why we lost the game, the aforementioned turnovers and missed free throws did us in.

The Iowa game was an unmitigated abortion of epic proportions. Cully Payne and 4 other unathletic crackers took it to us. After shooting over 70% from 3 point range against Seton Hall we apparently thought we could keep that up. The difference is we went inside out against Seton Hall, but in the Iowa game we seemed content to pass the ball around the perimeter and jack up 3's. We seemed to get overconfident with an early lead and blew it in a slow paced, half court game.

From what I understand, Coach Grant kept the team in the locker room for an extended period of time after the Iowa game, and cancelled all of the fun/touristy activities scheduled in favor of more practice time. It's disappointing and frustrating, but this is a young team that is playing hard early in the season. Don't give up on them yet.

Up next, we take on the St. Peter's Peacocks to avoid last place in the tournament. Tip off is 2 pm Atlantic, noon Central.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Recap of Seton Hall loss

- turnovers killed us. The team seems to have a problem helping out on a double team.
- shot lights out from 3. Too bad Seton Hall did the same.
- Green has got to stop the tic tac fouls.
- regarding fouls, I thought the refs called the game tough on us, light on Seton Hall. My proof is FT shooting difference.
- when Theodore got his 4th foul we did a poor job trying to get his 5th. I can't remember us making him play the ball.

Sorry for the bullet post.... Posting from iPhone. Hopefully we get the innernets fixed at the condo.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Paradise Jam Preview

Here is the bracket. We have a tough draw, as we play arguably the best team in the first round. The Seton Hall Pirates are 1-1, losing by 6 on the road to a good Temple game and easily defeating Cornell at home. They barely missed the NCAA tournament last year, and are picked 11th out of 16 in the super-competitive Big East. They are in the first year of new coach Kevin Willard, but they start 3 seniors and 2 juniors. If we win we won't play again till Sunday night, but if we lose, we play again Saturday. It would be nice to have that day of rest before facing either Iowa or Xavier.

Iowa is also in the first year of new coach Fran McCaffery. He is in the process of trying to implement a more up-tempo style of play similiar to what we run. Cully Payne, former Alabama signee, is their starting poing guard. Payne signed under Gottfried but asked for his release when Gottfried was let go. Iowa is 1-1, bouncing back from a loss to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits to beat La-Monroe 68-40. Iowa returns most of its team from last year's disappointing 10-22 season.

Xavier, our other possible second round opponent, is 2-0 but has not been overly impressive so far. They needed overtime to beat IPFW (Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne) and beat Western Michigan 68-65. They lost their final exhibition game to Bellarmine. They were 26-9 last year, and one of only two teams in the sweet 16 the last 3 straight years. They have been to the NCAA tournament 5 years in a row. They return 11 players from last year's team, including 3 starters. Despite their slow start, I suspect they would be a difficult matchup for us.

The other side of the bracket features Clemson, Long Beach State, Old Dominion, and Saint Peters. Clemson is also in the first year with a new head coach. Last year they lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. They return 12 players from that team. The Tigers are 2-0 with wins over Western Carolina and Wofford.

The Saint Peter's Peacocks are 0-1, losing 55-30 to Robert Morris. I think it's safe to say they suck.

The Long Beach State 49ers are 1-1, losing their homecoming and season opener to San Diego State, but bouncing back to beat San Francisco State. They made it to the Big West Championship game last year, return 4 starters, and are picked 2nd in their conference this year. Snoop Dogg's hometown team will play Clemson in the first round, an interesting rematch of a 10 point Clemson win on a neutral court last season.

Old Dominion is 1-1, losing to Georgetown by only 3 and beating High Point convincingly. Coach Blaine Taylor is in his 10th year at ODU where he has won fairly consistently. They return 4 starters from last year's CAA Championship team that was eleminated in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament. While not a big name school, the Monarchs are definitely a team to watch in this tournament. They are a very good team, and they essentially get a first round bye against St. Peters.

I predict we make it to the championship game and lose a close one to Old Dominion. Our first game is Friday afternoon at 7pm Atlantic time (5pm Central) against Seton Hall. No television coverage as far as I know. Bobbyjack and I will be there, and will try to post updates depending on a number of factors including, but not limited to: available time, sobriety, and internet access.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tide trounces Trojans 79-60

Box score

A thorough asskicking from beginning to end.... this game was never in doubt. Green was unstoppable in the 1st half, Hillman with a monster dunk, and Tony Mitchell solid throughout.

Only sore spot is 3 point shooting... and it was fine in the 1st half. We destroyed a team I thought would give us trouble.

Also.....

for the basketball junkies out there, the annual ESPN 24-hours of basketball begins tonight at 11:00 Central with Miami playing at Memphis. Then....

1:00AM St. John's at Saint Mary's (I'm sure bobbyjack will stay up for that)
3:00AM Central Michigan at Hawaii
5:00AM Stony Brook at Monmouth (crickets chirping, but hey, they're on tv)
7:00AM Robert Morris at Kent State
9:00AM Northeastern at Southern Illinois
11:00AM Oral Roberts at Tulsa
1:00PM La Salle at No. 17 Baylor
3:00PM No. 24 Virginia Tech at No. 3 Kansas State
4:30PM Marist at No. 7 Villanova (ESPNU)
5:00PM No. 5 Ohio State at No. 10 Florida
6:00PM Detroit at No. 11 Syracuse (ESPN3)
6:30PM Miami (Ohio) at No. 1 Duke (ESPNU)
6:30PM Saint Joseph's at Penn State (ESPN3)
7:00PM No. 18 Butler at Louisville
7:00PM North Dakota at No. 25 Wisconsin (ESPN3)
8:30PM Belmont at No. 23 Tennessee (ESPNU)
9:00PM South Carolina at No. 2 Michigan State
10:00PM San Diego State at No. 12 Gonzaga
10:30PM Nevada or Pacific at UCLA (ESPNU)

Know your enemy- Troy Trojans

They come in confident after devastating Huntington College 100-59 in their season opener. They hit 13-27 from beyond the arc in that one. I suspect CAG has preached covering the perimeter already.

Here's a link to their roster. Funny that most of their team originated somewhere else... either the JuCo route or transfer (2 from my almost alma mater UCF... which stands for U Can't Finish).

Anyways, guys to watch... Regis Huddleston and DeAndrae Ross from outside, Will Weathers at the point, and former Arkansas player Levan Patsatsia on the boards.

Prediction- A high scoring game that we pull out in the end. Troy will be tough... and while I believe we win by double digits (12) the final score will not tell how competitive this game will be.

Game time is 11/15 at 8PM EST (7PM CST). Not sure if the video feed is free or not, but feel free to use the link by the schedule to try. If not, there's always the audio streaming or you can pay.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trevor Lacey update

I apologize for my lack of activity, but I am currently working offsite, and of all things, the Alabama Basketball Blog is blocked there. Total heresy, but I digress....

From the Huntsville Times....

Trevor Lacey, the state's reigning Mr. Basketball, started his senior season in style by torching the Parker Thundering Herd for 50 points in Butler's 77-53 victory in the Rocket City/Magic City Classic at Johnson High School here in Huntsville. Coach Anothony Grant was in attendance as Lacey was 15-of-26 from the field, including 8-of-14 from 3-pt range. He sank 12-of-14 from the free throw line, had 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and a blocked shot.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Balanced attack demolishes Rattlers

Box score

We jumped on them early and never let up. The game was over 5 minutes into the 1st half. 76-37 is your final.

The good:
- held A&M to 23% FG and 2-21 from 3
- outrebounded A&M 55-37
- forced 15 turnovers and pulled in 12 steals.

The bad:
- Hillman turned it over too much.
- FT and 3pt shooting.

An unexpected blowout... which was nice. Some things for CAG to work on with the players for our next opponent (Troy). All I had was the radio broadcast so I can't break it down they way I'd like to.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Know your enemy- Florida A&M Rattlers

A&M is a fairly small team that we should dominate inside, but showed in exhibition they can hit the outside shot. If you judge them by last year, they stunk... and they are expected to stink again as they were picked last in the ultra tough MEAC conference.

Roster

A&M is coming off a trucking of Albany State (exh) 105-76. Being that we struggled with UAH we're probably in for a tough 30 minutes or so.

Prediction: struggle early, pull away late. Bama by 18. Hillman is the standout player.

Game time is 8:30PM EST (7:30PM CST)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Early Signing period begins today

We are expected to sign 4 players this week. Also, we will be playing in the 2011 Puerto Rico tip-off tournament Nov.17,18, and 20 of 2011 along with Purdue, Temple, Maryland, Colorado, Iona, and Wichita State. Puerto Rico tipoff.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

73-68 win over UAH in double OT

It took 10 minutes of free basketball before we were finally able to claim victory over the mighty chargers. Give credit to UAH who had a great plan and played very hard, but we have a long way to go.

The charger point guard, who played the entire 50 minutes, was surprisingly quick and did a pretty good job of handling the basketball against our pressure. Early in the game they beat our traps and knocked down some open 3's. We switched to a man to man defense, but they still got way too many open looks from the perimeter. We were not physical enough in fighting through their screens (many of which were illegal, but not called). When we stretched our defense out to defend the perimeter, they cleared the lane and got several easy baskets on backdoor cuts. UAH lead by as many as 8 points in the first half.

I know some people get irritated at Senario Hillman at times, but he can carry the team when necessary. At one point we had a lineup where Hillman was the only legitimate scoring threat on the floor. I have no problem with his "ball hogging" in that situation.

JaMychal Green finished with 16 points, but he was too soft in the paint for much of the game. He was back to shooting his turnaround fade-away hook from the block that never seems to work.

Hankerson played a little better than he did against Talladega, in that he at least managed to not turn the ball over, but he's still not a viable option at this point. Watching him warm up, he made about 8 3's in a row, but when he gets in the game he frankly looks uptight and nervous as hell.

Eblen ran the point for much of the game and took good care of the basketball, but he took 2 shots with predictable results. Durant gave us some quality minutes and Engstrom looked a little more comfortable down low than he did the other night in limited action.

Our biggest problem right now is that we can't shoot. Hillman is the only one who I have any confidence in making a jump shot from the perimeter right now, although Tony Mitchell made a three. Releford can shoot but he needs to be wide open to get his shot off. Getting Charves Davis back, and hopefully Andrew Steele, will be a big help.

Free throw shooting is disgusting. From Releford to Green and everybody in between, we suck. 50%!?! I've seen junior high teams shoot better than 50% from the line.

Late game decision making was atrocious. I became completely unglued, both at the end of regulation and even moreso at the end of the first overtime, because we had the ball with no shot clock, with timeouts remaining, and did not use one to set anything up. At the end of regulation the set broke down and we forced a bad shot, Green got the rebound but couldn't score, in large part because he was being anally raped at the time. Unfortunatley, Mike Stuart, the official, didn't notice. At the end of the first overtime we again had the ball with less than 35 seconds left, didn't call timeout, ended up turning the ball over and giving UAH the last shot. There is absolutely no excuse for not getting the last shot in that situation. I thought Gottfried was back on the sideline for a moment. After taking some time to cool off, I am going to give Coach Grant the benefit of the doubt there and assume he just wanted to see how his team would handle that situation if they didn't have a timeout, since it was only an exhibition game. Obviously the answer was not very good, so that is another thing we need to work on.

If we continue to play like this, especially in the first half, we may struggle with FAMU and Troy, not to mention the teams in the Paradise Jam. On the other hand, it could be worse. auburn lost to Columbus College. If you are looking for some positives from this game: Releford had another good night and showed some leadership late in the close game. We also actually won a close, hotly contested game (yes, against a Div.II school), but it seemed we lost all of those last year.

Not basketball related, but our pregame intro music sucks. We need to bring back Metallica. Also, the crowd was pathetic. Maybe 3,000 or so, 40% of which were UAH fans.

Up next, the games start counting when the Florida A&M Rattlers come calling for an approximately 7:30pm tip off at Coleman Coliseum Friday night. Get there early and watch the women's team play at 5, the men's game will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the women's game.

Monday, November 08, 2010

UAH Preview

Alabama plays the final exhibition game of the season tonight at Coleman Coliseum against the UAH (University of Alabama at Huntsville) Chargers. UAH is the preseason favorites to win the Gulf South Conference in Division II. They played Vandy relatively close in Nashville before losing 69-53. I was just looking at the roster on their website, and they have 4 seniors, but they don't have anybody over 6'8" and nearly the entire team is white. We should stomp these guys.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Alabama wins exhibition opener

Alabama defeated Talladega College last night by a score of 96-60. Unfortunately, my internet feed of the game went out shortly after the start of the second half. If anyone saw the whole game or was actually there in person, please chime in with your thoughts and observations.

The first half wasn't particularly pretty, but that's to be expected after only a couple weeks of practice. Charvez Davis and Andrew Steele did not dress out for the game. Charvez is recovering from hernia surgery and Andrew was out due to "discomfort in his knee". Grant says his return is "unclear" (uh oh).

My own observations: The team started slowly, particularly on the defensive end. Talladega actually led early by six points due to rather poor perimeter defense by Alabama. The team also had double figure turnovers by halftime, finishing with 19 for the game. 3-point shooting was an issue as the team only made 2-11 shots. The team did force 24 turnovers and played much better in the second half according to comments made by Anthony Grant (again, if you saw the second half, please post your own observations). For the game Alabama shot 50% from the field, 18% from the 3-pt line and only 66% from the free throw line.

Trevor Releford led the team with 17 points and 7 assists with only one turnover. It's only one game against inferior competition, but I was impressed by what I saw from Releford. He looks like he will be a fun player to watch in the coming years. He has a terrific first step and used it several times to blow past his defender and get to the basket. I didn't see him attempt any jumpers (the box score lists only one 3-pt attempt), but he has the ability to finish off the dribble and he was a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line. Four other Tide players posted double figures in scoring - JaMychal scored 16 points, Senario scored 15 (he hit the only two 3-pointers of the evening), Tony Mitchell scored 12 (and led the team in rebounds with 8) and Kendall Durant finished with 10 points.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

More News On Mikhail Torrance

For obvious reasons I did not ask Mikhail's father any specific questions, but this story is consistent with everything he told me.  My only hope and prayer for Mikhail are that he find his own proper path.  He is a fine young man from a good, loving family who represents The University of Alabama well.  Here's wishing him a long, happy and productive life.

Tide basketball starts TONIGHT!

Talladega comes to town for an exhibition game. I did not know Talladega had a college... they probably shouldn't but it is what it is.

Here's a link to the Talladega roster. They ended up 18-15 last year. If you asking me to break them down... I can't.

You can watch it here. It's not the greatest quality in the world, but it sure beats audio only coverage. I'm looking forward to seeing us in action.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What are your REALISTIC expectations of Alabama basketball?

If you say Final Fours and National Championships, step on out and check crazy at the door, then come back in.

On my flight back I was thinking about it and this is what my expectations of Alabama basketball is right now, 1-3 years from now, and 5years down.

Right now- I want us to be competitive. Pull off a few upsets, steal a couple of road games, and play hard. As long as I see that I'm good with the 2010-2011 season. I'm the pessimist poster of this site concerning this season... I'm predicting 15-15.

1-3 years from now- NIT next season, possibly a low seed NCAA berth. It usually takes 3 years for a coach to install his system and I figure CAG's 3rd year will be where we see the most improvement. 2-3 years from now I expect us to compete for the SEC title and be somewhere between a 4-6 seed in the NCAAT.

5 years down the road- under the belief that CAG is here for the long term, I fully expect us to be one of the top 3 teams in the SEC, win a conference title or SEC tournament. I also expect us to play into the 2nd week of the NCAAs.

In a 10 year span my expectations for Alabama basketball is 7 years in the NCAAT (3 of those in as a 5 seed or higher), 2 NITs, and one rebuilding year. I don't think those are overly lofty goals. IMO we should at least aspire to what Wisconsin is in hoops. If we hit that watermark then we can reset our expectations accordingly.

We're not going to be Kentucky, UNC, Duke, UCLA, Kansas, Michigan St, Syracuse, or Pitt. We're a football school 1st with a fan base that'll show up according to who we play, if we're good, and if it doesn't interfere with football. It is what it is.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

JaMychal Green named to All-SEC 1st team

Kind of surprised by this considering how the last 1/4 of the season turned out for him. We'll need him to step up BIG TIME for us this season. I suspect him and Mitchell will carry the offensive load.

The rest of the 1st teamers:

Dee Bost, Mississippi State, G
JaMychal Green, Alabama, F
Scotty Hopson, Tennessee, G
Travis Leslie, Georgia, G
Chandler Parsons, Florida, F
Marshawn Powell, Arkansas, F
Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt, F
Trey Thompkins, Georgia, F
Chris Warren, Mississippi, G

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mikhail Torrance Update

There is very good news about Mikhail Torrance.  I saw his father today and he said Mikhail is doing very well.  He won't be playing professional basketball but his health is good and he is living a normal life. 

If you are one of the many Bama Basketball fans who prayed for Mikhail, thank you.  Your prayers have been answered along with those of his family and everyone else who cares for him. 

Charvez Davis out indefinitely

Recovering from hernia surgery. Hopefully he will be back soon. Meanwhile, we will need a shooter to step up.

Guess our Crimson Tide hoops opening day starting lineup

I'm going to be honest and say I'm not sure. Lots of new faces and since I don't follow recruiting I have nothing to base the freshman class on.

For giggles:
SF- Mitchell
PF- Hines
F/C- Green
PG- Releford (based on the hype)
SG- Hillman

Nick Jacobs in the house!

Coach Grant just landed a committment from 4 star, top 100, 6'8" PF Nick Jacobs from Atlanta. He announced at his school today, and picked the Tide over UGA and Clemson. He said he wanted to get the announcement over with before the start of his senior season so he can focus on winning another state championship. Coach Grant is putting together one hell of a recruiting class for next year.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Coach Grant Gets A Bit 2013 Commitment

A 6' 6" post player from Tennessee named Shannon Hale has committed to play for the Tide!  Here's a link to the story.  I hope people will stop whining about being out recruited by some other school and learn to trust Coach Grant and his staff to know what they are doing. 

Roll Tide!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Alabama picked to finish 3rd by media.

A panel of select members of the SEC and national media released their preseason SEC basketball standings today. Alabama was picked to finish 3rd in the SEC West. Missisippi State was picked to win the division with Ole Miss claiming the second spot. Arkansas, LSU and Auburn claimed spots 4-6 in that order.

In the East, Florida was picked to win the division followed by Kentucky. In a bit of a surprise, Georgia was picked to finish third with Tennessee, Vanderbilt and South Carolina behind them.

I have to admit I'm surprised Georgia was picked as high as 3rd place. There's no doubt Georgia will be improved from last seasons' 5-11 finish, but 3rd seems high. Tennessee has some off-court worries with the NCAA sniffing around, but their talent is as good as anyone in the league including Kentucky. Vanderbilt is a well-coached veteran team that knows how to win. Even South Carolina's overall talent level is higher than it's been in years. One thing is for certain, the East is going to be fun to watch this season.

In the West, I think Alabama at 3rd is about right. It's hard to justify picking them higher with the lack of experience at point guard, lack of depth in the paint, etc. In their favor, the West should once again be wide open. With the exception of Auburn, every team in the West has held steady or improved. There still probably won't be more than one team that makes the NCAA tournament from the division, but it does seem to be moving in the right direction.

My final preseason SEC predictions.

East

1. Florida
2. Kentucky
3. Tennessee
4. Vanderbilt
5. Georgia
6. South Carolina

West

1. Ole Miss
2. Mississippi State
3. Alabama
4. Arkansas
5. LSU
6. Auburn

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SEC East 2010-11 basketball schedules

Tennessee
Florida
Kentucky
South Carolina
Vanderbilt
Georgia


Predictions:
UGA: 9-3 OOC
Vanderbilt: 11-2 OOC
South Carolina: 10-3 OOC
Kentucky: 11-3 OOC
Florida: 11-3 (not sure if Gtown, KY is exhibition or not... counted as EXH)
Tennessee: 14-3

I'll do a complete SEC prediction at a later date.

Monday, October 11, 2010

UT Basketball tickets on sale

For anybody planning to make the trip to Knoxville for the UT game on Saturday Feb.5, they are having a presale today. Hit the link below and enter password "UTBSKT" Most of the sections appear to already be sold out, but I got a couple of seats in Sec. 325.

UT tix

Monday, October 04, 2010

Bama lands top JUCO Center in the nation

The number one rated JUCO Center, Moussa Gueye, has committed to Coach Grant and the Crimson Tide. He was previously committed to Valparaiso, and also had offers from Indiana and Texas. He is listed at 7 foot, 270 lbs. Orinially from Senegal, he is playing at Lake Land College in Mattoon, IL, where he averaged 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game.

The good news is, it will give us more depth at center, and he obviously has good size. I am a little concerned as to whether he can run the court in our style of play at 270, but all the reports I have read describe him as "very mobile" and a great athlete. I just hope this doesn't mean we are not getting Angelo Chol. If we could still land Chol, along with Gueye and Endstrom, we will easily have our most internationally diverse team ever next year.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Auburn and South Carolina 2010-11 basketball schedules

... cause neither deserve their own post.. and I'm too lazy to make them separate.
Auburn
South Carolina

Prediction on the Barn: 12-2 Non-conference and 6-10 SEC. They have a super weak non-conference schedule.

Prediction on the Gamecocks: 9-4 non-conference and 6-10 SEC. Decent games at Ohio State and Michigan State with Clemson and Boston College at home.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dee Bost Reinstated by NCAA

The Mi$$i$$ippi $tate PG who declared for the NBA draft, then waited until after the deadline to withdraw, has been reinstated by the NCAA and will be eligible to play for $tansbury this year. Since this is a family friendly blog, I will keep my thoughts on the matter to myself.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recruiting Update

Kedren Johnson chooses Vandy over us. Meanwhile Kareem Canty, a rivals top 150 player from Brooklyn is giving us strong consideration.

Things could definitely be worse. LSU has resorted to pulling players out of the band.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Alabama adds Talladega to 2010-11 schedule

Per the Rolltide.com website, the men's basketball team has added a November 2nd exhibition game with Talladega College to the schedule. Talladega is the reigning back-to-back USCAA (United State Collegiate Athletic Association) national champion. It's hard to believe we're only a little over six weeks away from the first game tipping off.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ole Miss schedule 2010-11

Right here

One of the favorites in the West, I look to AK's Army to finally make it to the NCAAs... and AK to move on to a better job.

Another SEC school playing a crappy non-conference schedule. The "name" teams are Miami and Penn St. P-U.

Prediction: 14-1 non-conference and 10-6 in SEC. Good enough for a 6 seed in the NCAAs.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Arkansas schedule 2010-11

Here

Decent non-conference with Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M (did the Hogs join the Big 12 and not tell anyone?), and Seton Hall.

I'm going 12-2 non-conference and 8-8... not enough to save Pelphrey's bacon. He's a goner and the Hogs finally get it right and hire the right coach in 2011.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LSU hoops schedule 2010-11

In glorious html.

Non conference schedule is a joke... might be one of the most pathetic ones I've seen in 20 years. If they don't win 12 of those they should get the death penalty.

I haven't paid attention to who they lost/graduated/kicked off the team/etc so my prediction for them might be a bit off. I think they're going to suck again...

Non-conference: 12-3
Conference: 4-12

I'll start blasting schedules as I find time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Huge weekend

Angelo Chol and Kedren Johnson, a pair of national top 100 players, will be on campus visiting this weekend, and taking in the Bama-Penn State football game. If you see them around, give them a Roll Tide and let them know we support basketball too. These are the types of recruits that could turn our program around in a hurry.

In unrelated news, Tennessee is about to get slammed by the NCAA. They were already snooping around due to Kiffin's football shenanigans, but now the basketball team is under the gun. Bruce Pearl took a self imposed pay cut and apparently their entire staff will be limited in off campus recruiting activities. Pearl admitted in a press conference that "he has made some very bad mistakes." Apparently, those mistakes include falsifying information to the NCAA. I will be shocked if he doesn't end up getting fired over this.