Sunday, February 02, 2014

Tennessee Terminates Tide, 76-59.

Once again we got off to a horrible start, falling behind 9-0 and taking nearly 4 minutes to score.  In the last 4 games, we have been outscored 35-0 before scoring our first points.  While we were able to get back into each of those games, it would be nice to not start behind the 8 ball for a change.

Retin was back in the starting lineup, and Cooper started over Levi.  Releford did all he could to carry the team with 23 points, and Jacobs had a solid game with 13 points and he even pulled down 6 rebounds.  He probably should have played more than 16 minutes.  Beyond that, nobody provided much help on offense.

Tennessee is a very good team, but they are inconsistent.  McRae is a ball hog, and when he's off they are very average, but when he's on, they can beat anybody in the country.  He was 5 for 10 from 3 point range and scored 26 points.  Jarnell Stokes dropped 22 on us in the post, despite the fact that our defensive scheme appeared to be designed to limit him.

The defensive game plan made a lot of sense on paper.  They have a young, turnover prone PG playing on the road, so we pressed a lot.  Give credit to the Vols for taking care of the basketball.  In the halfcourt, Stokes was obviously the biggest matchup problem for us, so we ran a lot of 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone to try to deny him the ball and double team him, while hoping McRae would have one of his off nights from outside.  Unfortunately, McRae was able to knock down the open shots, which opened things up for Stokes inside.  I was disappointed by the lack of defensive adjustments, at some point it became obvious that what we were doing was not going to work, so why not run man for a few possessions just to see what happens?

We were only 3 of 15 from 3 point range.  It seemed like everytime we were able to get the deficit back down to a manageable margin, we would give up a big 3 or a 2nd chance basket.  Tennessee led wire to wire, and the game was never in doubt after we got within 2 possessions early in the second half.

The student section was nearly full, but the rest of the crowd turnout was not quite as good as it was for the LSU game.  Due to the white T-shirts placed on all of the seats, it looked a little more crowded than it actually was.  I would guess there was around 9,000 total in the house, and it was loud the 2 or 3 times we actually had something to cheer about.  Tennessee brought nearly 1,000 fans clad in their ugly orange that could be heard singing "Rockytop" near the end of the game.  I was disappointed with a couple of things from our fans:  1) The students started a "We've got Kiffin" chant when UT started to pull away.  It's not like Kiffin did anything worthwhile at UT, but beyond that, I'm not a fan of "football smack talk" at basketball games.  It reaffirms the basketball is 2nd rate perception around here, which is another reason I think it's long past time to scrap the iron bowl trophy presentation at halftime, but I digress.  2) A small group of fans started chanting "We want Bruce!" toward the end of the game.  First of all, I don't think that's the proper manner in which to express displeasure with the current coaching staff, but beyond that, no matter how much any of us may want Bruce Pearl to become our next basketball coach, it simply is not going to happen.  We can argue whether it should happen until we are blue in the face, but I know for a fact he will not be given consideration under any circumstances.  I'm not saying I agree with that decision, but it is what it is, so forget about it already.

Up next, we go to Bud Walton arena to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks at 7pm in Fayetteville, AR Wednesday night.  I will be watching this one on the SEC Network.  Arkansas has suspended some key players, but they are very tough to beat at home regardless, and until I see this team win away from Coleman, I will have my doubts that they can do it.

14 comments:

crimsontider said...

On the "We want Bruce" chants: What do you want the fans to do Dj? If the fans don't speak out nothing will happen.

Ronald Steele said...

Thanks for analysis. This was pretty much spot on. The 1-3-1 defense really killed our chances. We didn't attack it well, but I've watched Tennessee all year and this was the first time I saw it. We are a very tight team right now and although we aren't a great shooting team we are much better than what we showed. Tennessee made shots which energizes you on both ends. We didn't and our defense is starting to suffer. I like our smaller line up better with Hale playing the 4. We don't really gain much of an advantage playing the 2 bigs. I know rebounding is a factor but I think we could make I up with more shooting, a better pressing team, and more spacing allowing the guards to penetrate and dish or kick. What you guys think?

Msmilie said...

You can't piss me off, Finebammer. I'm better than you, and I know it. You've got the mental capacity of a kindergartner. Now.....piss off.

VaTide said...

As bad as this season has gone, I still look forward to every game just to watch Releford play. He had six assists, but probably should've had at least 10. He made several outstanding passes to set up his teammates, only to watch as they were unable to finish or declined to shoot.

Twelve minutes is not enough for Taylor. Maybe Engstrom's value is that he's so active at setting ball screens on the offensive end, but I don't understand why Taylor is not getting more floor time.

Jacobs has surprised me with his 17' jump shot and has been pretty consistent offensively over the past four games. I hope that continues because he's the only player we attempt to get the ball to in the post.

Alex said...

It makes the most sense of any lineup we can put out there because our best chance to score points are if Trevor and Retin are able to get to the basket. A few times though in the game against Tennessee we got guys good looks off penetration and they either hesitated before shooting or didn't shoot at all.


I think he probably played two big men in hopes of discouraging Tennessee from going to Stokes over and over which I thought worked decently at times as we were able to block some shots but McRae and Richardson killed us with some big threes.


I've said it before but it would be so nice to have a big man who could play offense and defense.

bobbyjack said...

I'd go with Rely/Hale/Obasohan/Taylor/Cooper as my starting 5. Play uptempo since our half court O is miserable and only slow it down when we substitute with Jacobs/Engstrom.

Feel free to swap Cooper for Randolph or actually when I think more about it... have Obasohan come off the bench with Key (who I think should get A LOT MORE PT).


The way this season has gone it makes sense to try this.

DJC said...

I think a lot of people are overestimating the amount of influence the fans will have on the decision. That being said, if you feel you must do something, write a letter or send an email to Bill Battle and others in the administration. There are ways of letting your feelings known besides showing up at a game and cheering for a coach that we don't have (and are never going to get). It's disrespectful to the current coach, staff, and players.

DJC said...

I don't even think we lose that much rebounding doing that, it's not like our bigs are great rebounders anyway. I especially like Hale at the 4 in the high post sets against the zone. I wish we would run more of that, it was pretty effective in the LSU and Vanderbilt games.

DJC said...

Marshall is not leaving Wichita to come to Alabama. Tubby would not be a good fit here, he's a horrible recruiter, and you think our offense is slow and boring now? Howland is intriguing to me, but I worry about the issues reported in the SI article about his time at UCLA. Also, fwiw, UCLA people hate him with a passion. I like Kruger, but I don't see him leaving OU.

crimsontider said...

It's time to face reality. If we are ever going to get to the level that all of us want to then we are going to have to take some sort of risk. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. If we take the same approach as previous coaching searches. We will get the same results.

crimsontider said...

I'm just frustrated with people who rip the fans, especially the ones who continue going to the games for voicing their frustrations at a subpar product. Anthony Grant makes two million a year, he can deal with it. The fans should not be expected to coddle a multi millionaire.

disqus_5qsZl3wa0v said...

"Consumed with nothing more shallow than wins and losses"

I know you're frustrated, but that's pretty much why Grant gets paid the big dollars. His job is to win games and make the big dance and hopefully advance in that tournament. If the first thing that is your fallback when discussing a coach is to preach how good of a person they are, then have the really succeeded at their job? Look, Grant is a great human being from everyone around the program that knows him. He's an introvert, but if we were making more tourney appearances, no one would care. However, his personality only hurts him more when people can't see progress within a program and then a season as bad as this one occurs. Breathe

disqus_5qsZl3wa0v said...

I honestly can't remember our zone ever looking as bad as it did against LSU and UT. Wide open shot after wide open shot. After the Auburn game, have they quit on Grant? I guess we'll be able to see better after this Arkansas game, but if the UT game was any indication, it's going to get really ugly, really quickly.

finebammer said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb4eZ7Z5yk8