Actually, dominate may be too nice a word for what VCU did to Alabama today in a 73-54 defeat that wasn't as close as the final score. VCU physically abused Alabama from the start of the game to the finish. Even late in the game when the contest was well and truly decided, VCU continued to press Alabama and force them into turnovers and bad shots. The VCU defense was so stifling, Alabama couldn't even set up its less than stellar half court offense. It was as thorough an ass whipping as I've seen in a while.
While I thought Alabama came out with better energy on the defensive end than what we saw against Dayton, it didn't last very long as VCU overwhelmed them and, to quote another Alabama head coach, "made their ass quit". There's no way to tie a bow on this one, folks. Alabama was punched, kicked, trampled, spit on and the bullying was so effective that VCU didn't even feel the need to take Bama's wallet.
I have been a Grant supporter since day one and I still believe this team can turn it around, but he has to instill some toughness in these guys. They got pushed around today and did little to push back. Say what you want to about JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell's offcourt antics, but those guys played with a chip on their shoulders on the court, something this team sorely needs right now.
The only real bright spot today was the play of Devonta Pollard who played hard from start to finish, subsequently putting together one of his better games. He finished with 13 pts on 5-7 shooting (3-4 FT) and added 8 rebounds. With the continuing struggles inside, Pollard may find himself back in the starting line-up.
Carl Engstrom may not have been the second coming of Patrick Ewing, but he was the most productive big man we had up to this point. His injury looms large now because Moussa and Nick are simply bringing nothing to the table. Nick Jacobs in particular has been a train wreck so far this season after putting together a solid freshman season. I'm not sure if he's just not healthy or just not involved, but he has to find himself quickly or risk losing minutes as Pollard develops and the new guys come in next season.
And I think Dakota Slaughter deserves more minutes. As a walk-on he values his minutes and plays hard when he's in the game. As bad as Bama has been in the paint this season, it can't hurt to give the guy more minutes. Not to mention, it's the best name on the team.
It's hard to know what to expect of this Alabama team moving forward, but it's officially gut check time for these guys Another bad loss or two prior to conference play could officially put a cap on the season before it even really gets rolling. People love to say that the college basketball regular season is largely meaningless, but what you do in November and December determines where you play in March. If Alabama can't figure things out quickly, it could turn out to be a very long season.