Wednesday, November 13, 2013

William Lee to UAB and recapping the tip-off marathon.

William Lee, a 4 star, top 150 PF nationally and the #2 recruit in the state committed to UAB.  I wish him well, but was really hoping he would come to Bama.  He chose the Blazers over UA, UGA, and SMU.  I suspect he wanted to stay in-state but did not want to compete with Jimmie Taylor and Michael Kessens for playing time.  I  like what Jerod Haase is doing with the UAB program, and I expect he will have them turned around in short order.

As most of you know, ESPN hosted a 29 straight hours of basketball culminating with Kentucky/Michigan State and Duke/Kansas games in Chicago last night.  I would love to see Alabama take part in this one year, even if it means playing at an odd hour.    In a past life, I probably would have stayed up through the entire thing.  I'm too old and productive for that now, but I did watch most of the big games last night and I tried to keep up with games involving our future opponents.

Overall, it was not a great start to the season for us from an RPI perspective.  I was not surprised at all that Michigan State beat Kentucky, but I was impressed that UK was able to battle back and make it a close game after Sparty ran out to an early lead.  I don't care how good the 5 freshmen are, you aren't going to beat a very good, seasoned, Izzo coached team with a group that has no game time experience playing together.  I would love to see these two teams play again in March.  Kentucky is obviously a good team, how well they are able to gel and play together will determine if they can be a great team.

Likewise, a Duke win would have been preferable for us, since we have a potential match-up with them looming in New York.  Like Kentucky, the best chance of beating Duke is to catch them early in the season.  After watching that game though, I have no idea how we can hang with them.  Jabari Parker is a beast.  I think my game plan would be to try to shut everybody else down (easier said that done) and make Parker beat us by himself.  Problem is, I think he can probably do it, he is that good.

LSU lost 92-90 at UMass.  This surprised me as I expected the Tigers to be much improved this year.  South Carolina also lost by 2 at Baylor.  Again, bad for our strength of schedule, but Cock fans have to be encouraged with the progress under Frank Martin, Baylor is a top 25 team and they played them to the wire on the road.  We have to go to Columbia this year, and that looks like a more challenging game than it has been in recent history.

Our old pal Mark Gottfried picked up a technical foul for having 6 players on the court in a loss to Cincinnati.  The more things change...

Robert Morris won 90-81 over Lafayette.  I didn't see any of that game, but they come to Tuscaloosa in early January, so nice to see the Colonials pick up a win.

Vandy beat Georgia State 86-80.  In theory, this is good for us, since we definitely will play Vandy and GSU is just a potential match-up at this point (they have to get by McNeese State).  Vandy should be improved over last year, and GSU played them within 6 in what we all know is a very difficult place to play.  I remain concerned about the possibility of Georgia State derailing our trip to New York.

Speaking of McNeese State, they lost 92-66 at Louisiana-Lafayette.  I doubt we will be playing them.

24th ranked UCLA beat Oakland by over 30.  Playing in Pauley Pavilion will help our strength of schedule, but I doubt it does much for our record.

Unfortunately, Florida lost to Wisconsin on the road 59-53.  This was a bad matchup for the Gators, they have trouble with teams that can grind it out in the halfcourt.  Florida will bounce back and contend for the SEC.  Xavier went on the road and beat Tennessee, 67-63.  This is an RPI neutral game for us since we play both teams, but UT is a solid team, so that home game against the Musketeers looks even more challenging now.  Mizzou picked up a solid 72-59 win over Southern Illinois.

Texas Tech went to 2-0 with a 20 point win over Northern Arizona.  They haven't played anyone yet, but have been impressive in their wins.  Tubby will have them much improved over last year.

Oklahoma won 95-82 over North Texas, North Florida got a 2 point win on the road at Arkansas-Little Rock, Texas A&M won 91-67 over Mississippi Valley State, and 16th ranked Wichita State took care of business 66-49 against Western Kentucky.


CrowTide said...

Thanks for the write up! It will be interesting to see how we play at home Thursday. How do like the new foul rule so far. I'm not a big fan it seens to slow down the game right now. Maybe once the players and get adjusted and the refs are more consistent that will change.

Msmilie said...

I'm not a fan of them so far. The talking heads are crowing about the higher scoring games, while conveniently leaving out the number of fouls being called. Yes, a game in the 40s or low 50s might not be the most entertaining game, but neither is a two and a half hour game with 50+ foul calls. I don't mind a high scoring game if both teams are playing at a high level (think Louisville/Michigan last season), but high-scoring games simply because a team has 50 foul shot attempts or teams don't know the best way to play defense under the new rules so they cease playing defense entirely (the Stanford/BYU game was a great example of this) isn't good basketball.

The thing that pisses me off about this is it seems to be done purely for ratings because there was a perception that the sport was losing viewers due to the low scores. Well, let's see how long they keep tuning in for the touch foul fests that we've seen recently. The athletes are simply too fast, too big, too athletic to avoid touch fouls. You've got to allow a degree of physicality in the game to compensate for this.

I thought Dick Vitale actually made a great point last night when he said that if they're going to enforce these rules as stringently as they have so far, change the foul limit from 5 to 6.

Makes sense to me. After all, they're already trying to make the college game more like the pros. May as well keep going. Plus, if a coach is having to dig deep into his bench night in and night out, that means the better players are in foul trouble, which hurts the game and the viewership.

My hope is that this will work itself out by December or at least by conference play.

DJC said...

I agree 100%. Not to mention that I think it clearly hurts Alabama, a team that can't shoot, has no bench, and relies heavily on being able to play aggressive defense.

CrowTide said...

I totally agree with all you said. I expect TV ratings to get worse unless something changes. Like u said nobody wants to sit and watch a ling game full of free throws. If they want to speed up the game I say decrease the shot clock. Right now its way to long.

Msmilie said...

Agree about the shot clock. Women's basketball has a 30 second clock. Why not the men? When they were discussing improving the flow of the game last season, I was all for a reduced shot clock. You add more possessions to a game, which increases scoring, in theory. In my opinion, there was no need to take the physicality out of the game in order to improve scoring. Yes, scoring was down, but the best teams (Louisville, Michigan, Florida, Duke, Kansas, etc) last season could still score. Other teams like Gonzaga, Notre Dame, BYU just to name a few were also very good scoring teams. You can be efficient and still score under 75 points a game. Bottom line is that so many kids coming into college simply cannot shoot the damn ball with any consistency. Look at Kentucky last night. They went to line like 40 something times and missed 17 free throws anyway. Ah, there's nothing I can do about it, but I hate what they're doing to this game I love.

Msmilie said...

It definitely hurts Alabama. Aggressive defense has been their calling card under Grant and that, along with the grit and hustle he gets out of his guys, has been enough to overcome (most nights) the shooting issues this team has had. If you're Trevor Releford tomorrow night, how aggressive can you be guarding Tech's leading scorer, Robert Turner? It's going to make guys scared to defend, and the game devolves into a back and forth let's see who can make more jump shots and free throws instead of implementing a defensive game plan to limit the other team's best players. I sure hope I'm overreacting to all of this and we see a return to good, balanced basketball soon.

crimsontider said...

I love college basketball, but the product that the game put out across the country last year was the worst I have ever seen. You basically had to tackle someone to get called for a foul in the last two minutes of the game. Something had to be done. If it leads to growing pains for some teams including ours, (which I am sure it will) so be it. The games this year so far have been higher scoring and more watchable, and should lead to renewed interest in the sport. Eventually coaches will adjust.

Msmilie said...

Sorry, but they haven't been watchable. Games with 50+ foul calls are not interesting to me. There can be very high quality games in the 50s. It comes down to efficiency, not points. Touch fouls, hesitant defensive basketball isn't good basketball any more than football games that total 80-100 points is good football.