Saturday, November 12, 2011
Bama's defense brings hammer, Ospreys fall to Alabama
The offense got off to a rough start, as the score was still only 4-4 several minutes into the game. One area where we are really missing Chris Hines/Moussa Gueye is offensive rebounding. While Hines did not score a lot last year, he got several offensive rebounds that led to second chance points. Last night, especially early on, we were getting one shot and they weren't falling.
Fortunately the defense made the scoring drought inconsequential. We ran a lot of full court man to man, 2-2-1 press, and some halfcourt trap. We didn't see much of the 1-1-3 that we ran against UAH. It is fun to watch this team play defense. They double team so quickly and agressively, but also rotate back into position even when the opponents make the correct reads and passes. At times, it seems like we have 7 or 8 guys on the court playing defense. We had a chance to hold them under 40, and likely would have if not for the officals calling such a tight game, leading to many free throw opportunities late for the Ospreys.
After the first scrimmage I posted that the nature of our defense would likely result in us getting called for a lot of fouls. That is the trade off, and this game was Ex. A to that concept. We were in the double bonus relatively early both halves. Frankly, we were lucky it was not worse, as we got the benefit of several block/charge calls that easily could have gone the other way. Fortunately, the fouls were spread out enough to cause any huge concern, but against a good free throw shooting team, or if Green gets into serious foul trouble, it could cost us the game.
After the slow start, the offense finally got going when we decided to start exploiting the most obvious mismatch on the floor. The undersized white guy for North Florida had no business trying to guard Tony Mitchell. Tony pretty much had his way with him. This loosened things up for JaMychal Green who had another huge night and showcased is all around game, scoring in the post, knocking down outside shots including a 3, and playing good defense. He did pick up a foul in the 2nd half that could have been called flagrant. After getting a defensive rebound, he swung his elbows to clear out and appeared to clock the North Florida player right in the face. The officials spent some time looking at the replay and just called it a player control foul.
As a side note, it's interesting to me how the game has changed over the years. When I played many years ago, we were taught and encouraged to swing elbows on rebounds when opponents reached in to clear out. Now, even if you do not make contact, that is a violation and the other team gets the ball. (At least that is the rule in High school, I have not seen it actually called in college). Also, even if you are playing the ball, or as in this case the contact was accidental, an intentional foul can now be called for "excessive" contact. The days of "get your moneys worth and make them earn it at the line" are over. Anyway, we were fortunate Green did not get called for at least an intentional foul on that play.
Engstrom played solid defense and came up with a couple of blocked shots. Still, I would like to see him be a little more aggressive in his rebounding. Nick Jacobs does a good job of clogging the lane on defense if the offensive player catches the ball and drives right at him. His footwork is not up to SEC level yet though. He's virtually a non-factor on offense and he has problems if having to defend one on one in the post.
The starting lineup was the same as it was Monday night, and Levi Randolph had a much better game. He came away with about 8 rebounds if I recall correctly, which is impressive given his size. I was most impressed with his defensive play, he was all over the court disrupting things, especially in the press. He has somewhat of an unorthodox shot but he can score. At times, he does not follow through and thus doesn't get good rotation on the ball. I noticed when he actually gets good rotation on his shot, it usually goes in.
Speaking of shooting, as great as Tony Mitchell has been, I would like to see him follow his shot and get his own rebounds more. I understand he needs to take a few more shots from the perimeter, but his body language makes it apparent that he knows as soon as it leaves his hand whether or not its going in. When he makes a shot, he gets a confident look and starts strutting back up the court. When his misses are in flight, he kind of freezes before getting back. At the 3 or 4 position, it's not as urgent that he get back quickly on defense, so I would like to see him moving toward the basket for a rebound on his misses.
Ben Eblen played much better than he did the other night against UAH, and Trevor Lacey even saw a little action at backup PG and did a fine job. Oddly, Retin appears confined to the bench at this point.
We did not use a timeout in the first half, and we had the last possession with shot clock turned off, but did not use the "use it or lose it" timeout. Long time readers know how I feel about that, so that's all I'm going to say.
We don't have that Charvez Davis type who is automatic when he is on, but we do have 4 or 5 guys capable of making 3 point shots, and I think that will make us more difficult to defend this year. In a perfect world, we would have one more big man and one more dynamic scorer, but I think this team is going to find a way to win a lot of games with what we've got.
There was a good crowd, probably close to 8,000 in my estimation, which is great for a Friday night against a pretty bad team. It was a late arriving and early leaving crowd, but still.
Some of you may remember that since they added the center hung scoreboard, I have been bitching about the removal of the stats board. They have now moved the timeouts/team fouls information onto the video boards and are using the circular ribbon board underneath the video screens for stats. A great move by whoever came up with that idea.
Somebody in the marketing department is obsessed with the "giant head" idea. If you have seen the tickets for this year, you know what I mean. Now they are passing out giant heads of our players/coaches to the students on the floor. I don't get it, but whatever.
Up next, Oakland comes to Coleman for a 7pm tipoff Monday. That's Oakland, Michigan, fyi, not Cali. They are picked to win the Summit league, were in the tournament last year and have been very solid for several years now, and they have one of the top 5 point guards in all of basketball. They beat a good Tennessee team early last year as well. PLEASE, if you can make it to the game, do so. This is a team that could endanger our home winning streak, and I'm sure Coach Grant would appreciate all the help he can get from a loud crowd. RTR!