Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fresh Meat- Florida Gators 9PM EST (8PM CST) on ESPN

The struggling Florida Gators come into Tuscaloosa riding a 3 game losing streak, but over the years we have been their slump-buster so don't think this game will be easy. The Gators have won the last 4 in Tuscaloosa.

The reason for UF's struggles are beyond the arc. They are barely shooting 35% (.346 actually) from there. Chris Walker and Jon Horford are their big guys, but only pull a shade under 9 boards/game between them.

Michael Frazier and Doria Finney-Smith lead the way in scoring (13.8/13.7) and are the best 3 point shooters on the team this year. Finney-Smith can be a matchup problem because of his size, so I'm hoping Cooper can hang with him. After those 2 the scoring drops off. Hold one of them in check and i think the outcome is positive.

This is about as bad of a Gator squad as I've seen since. Still, if they find their stroke beyond the arc tonight that will put us in trouble.

Write up
Stats

- +3.0 rebound margin
- 65.7 points allowed in conference
- +1.9 turnover margin

I think we all know how important this game is to us. Really, if we want to entertain ANY shot at the NCAAT we MUST win all of our remaining home games and steal at least 2 on the road. Win this one and I think the only other home obstacle is UGA. As far as the road is concerned I think we get one @ $tate and either Vandy/Auburn (leaning towards Vandy).

24 comments:

RichTide said...

At the risk of being called a racist for daring to criticize Grant's coaching or not predict a victory, I'll repeat what I predicted a few days ago. Gators win this going away. I don't say this as a piss and moaner but on established facts. If you take the crimson blinders off this is a terrible set up for us. UF on 3 game losing streak, rare for a Donovan team. I don't think I've ever seen a Gator team not shoot well behind the 3 pt line against us. As bad as they've been, they know they will light it up against us...and will. Bama winding up a brutal stretch and the team knows their next game they are going to get crushed. We can't hit from outside (Arky game excluded) so Donovan will clog the middle or play tight man and force us to either aggressively drive thru the lane (we HAVE to lead the country in offensive charges by a wide margin) or jack up a 3 at the end of the shot clock. Additionally we have terrible offensive fundamentals. Lackadaisical passing, don't take open shots to take a contested one later, don't square up on shooting, little motion away from the ball. The list goes on. And while I agree Grant is a good defensive coach, how many stupid fouls do we commit? Especially when a player has an easy lay up and we slap their arm as he makes it.

But most importantly, Eddie Munster knows absolutely everything about how Grant is going to coach a game. If you think Grant spends hours looking at game film or comes up with an extensive gameplan for each opponent, think again. Bama essentially goes into every game with the same philosophy. They might play more zone or man against a certain opponent, but practices are run the same way, regardless of the upcoming opponent. And that is not my assumption, that is direct from two former players. Gran'ts philosophy is like Stallings football, defense wins games. You may have an off shooting night, but executing on defense is always within your control. When you sacrifice offense at the total expense of defense, you better be in the top 3 in all defensive statistics.

We are in the Shula era of basketball. A classy coach. One the fan base desperately wanted to succeed. But he wasn't willing to sacrifice family time for the time commitment needed to prepare for each opponent and promote the program. I don't fault a guy for that choice, but when you're getting paid $2M, sorry you have to make personal sacrifices ro go find something else to do.

Msmilie said...

I've taken a lot of slings and arrows for Anthony Grant over the past couple of years, but he's twenty minutes from losing me. The team looked completely unprepared in that 1st half. And while one can point to the 3rd game in six days as being a possible reason for the lack of energy, how can a team representing a program that has lost nine straight games to a rival program not want to play at a higher level. Kids can't make it happen every game. The coaching staff has to do a better job of having them ready to play. I refuse to give up on the team or the season while there is still basketball to be played, but I'm on the verge of joining the chorus calling for change. And that's very sad for me to write.

RichTide said...

And it was sad to read. You're the eternal Grant optimist. If you're ready to throw in the towel, the program is really in trouble. Some will start wishing for us to lose every game to ensure Grant is gone, but that's terrible for the players and greatly damages the program for Grant or his replacement next year. Tough to recruit, tough to get butts back in seats. People don't realize the enormous energy and personal financial commitment xCMG had to make to rebuild fan support.

Msmilie said...

Great effort in the 2nd half to get back into the game....and lose it. If they had come out with that energy in the 1st half, they probably win the game. I will continue to pull for this team to win each and every time they step out on the court, but it's time for a change in direction. I just can't handle this shit anymore as someone who desperately loves Alabama basketball. For those of you waiting for me to eat crow, congratulations.

Tripp Goude said...

NIT here we come. We had our chances with 2 minutes left and couldn't do anything on offense.

bobbyjack said...

I've had it. If Grant isn't fired at the end of the season we should shut the program down SMU style.
That might have been the most pathetic offense I've seen "executed" in 30 years. And we lost to the worst Gator squad in the last 20 years.

RichTide said...

Got to my hotel room just when the second half was starting. When Taylor got his third foul and the announcers said all three were offensive, first thing I thought was "coaching." Billy the Kid saw game film and told Taylor's defender to go at him and let him play out of control.

Grant doesn't need to be miked. I'm ok with him saying "yes, yes" and "this is your game" to motivate the players but he should be teaching every moment he can, especially with this team. In no way trying to compare myself to a D1 coach, but I've coached girls volleyball at the club, HS, JUCO and Div III level. Between ever serve I either reinforced a good play, or corrected a deficiency. Whether getting creamed or killing another team. Grant doesn't need to be like Pearl and shout and scream the whole game, but he can still be poised and coach every minute like his job was on the line.

And with 5 min left during a crucial timeout "we need to rebound, let's focus on defense, we will win on defense." Defense all game had been solid. Why not diagram a way to break down the FL defense? Or reinforce being in control on offense and not passing up open shots? Or don't wait to take a desperation three?

But when it got close with a minute to go we've all seen this before. Grant calls a timeout, we run the shot clock down to 7 sec and jack up a 30-ft brick. Meanwhile Billy calls a timeout, FL dunks it with 1 sec on the shot clock. We come back and let Levi go 1-on-3 for the heroic play when the refs have let you maul each other all game.

Good comeback in the second half. I wanted the win desperately for the players, the fans, and yes Grant. He is such a class act and good family man you want the wins to follow, but he appears to be like Tommy Amaker. Great asst at a program that won NCs, but not a head coach in a power conference. We will be competive in most of our remaining games and should easily make the NIT so I don't see Battle making any changes. The Plan called for post-season, not NCAA. The buyout still too large and Grant has done enough in Battle's eyes to check enough boxes.It is what is is.

As poor as the women's record is, Kerr has the program headed in the right direction. She took over a total mess, produced some huge upsets last year with zero talent, and the team has been competitive in almost all their games. She constantly coaches on the sideline the entire game...

When you look at it objectively, has Grant built this program over the last 6 yrs to believe we will be a top 25 program any time soon? Or even occasionally? Coleman and Norris likely will transfer and after tonight Taylor will likely never be an effective big man.

RichTide said...

No solace, no congratulations, no eating crow. We all want Bama to win. We all wanted Grant to be the next big thing. There is no celebrating tonight. As frustrating as this is, it's not the train wreck of the Hobbs era. Unfortunately it also likely means Battle wont''t make a change so it won't even be enjoyable to speculate who we could get.

RichTide said...

Let this resonate. Of all the Gators' opponents this year, the ones that failed to score more than 50? William & Mary (47); UAB (47); Yale (47); Texas Southern (50); Jacksonville (34); Wake Forest (50); and Miss State (47). ALL in Gainesville. That's the company we're in.

Oh, another stat: LSU beat FL last week by 18...in Gainesville.

CTider said...

Six years is simply not enough time. Next year. Year 7. That's our year.

RichTide said...

And he will sign a big man that can rebound, post up, and defend without fouling...

RichTide said...

Would have rather been the one eating crow if a big victory tonight led to an NCAA bid and a Sweet 16 appearance.

CTider said...

Correct. Our desired endgame is all the same. We all want Bama Basketball to be successful, and it's a shame that Grant didn't work out. As critical as I've been of him on this board, I do remember how thrilled I was when we hired him in March 2009, well before I started coming to this website. He and Mike Anderson were my top two guys back in '09 and I couldn't believe that we got him. If you had told me that six years later we would be in this position, I wouldn't have believed you. With what Bruce Pearl is building on the other side of the state, we have to knock this next hire out of the park. Roll Tide, forever.

CTider said...

This is when we really have to make a big commitment to basketball. Kill the Tide Pride program, take a bulldozer to Coleman, and spend money on the coach. Grant probably should have been fired two years ago, and definitely after last year. Once again, we have blown it by waiting way too long to fire a coach. Let's hope the wait to fire this one ends very soon.

disqus_lLg81JC3CF said...

ESPN Shannon Spake's interview referenced a football at half with Coach Grant instead of a basketball. Enough said.

RichTide said...

Ditto. I thought Grant was a home run hire and was thrilled Donovan backed out of Orlando to stay at Florida. The son of my office manager back in Montgomery was JaMychal's best friend. I became dubious of Grant when I started to hear about the behind the scenes activities (rather lack of activities). Barely any focus on offensive fundamentals. No specific game plan for each opponent. Players benched for going off the gameplan of limiting possessions by working the shot clock. Grant passing on promotional work because of impacts on family time. Grant was saying things like Saban publicly "the process" but he wasn't working tirelessly on all fronts to build the program we all wanted.

Word is Brad Stevens with the Celtics isn't enjoying the NBA. That's probably dreaming...

RichTide said...

Even the basketball courtside reporters only see us as a football school. Grant looked as irked at her as he was with his team's first half play.

disqus_lLg81JC3CF said...

Agreed. Basketball championships are unlike football championships. Requires offense. Bama pass pass pass pass will not get them there. Shoot early in the clock with a fast break. More a team shoots the W probability increases. Agree? Now let's find a Coach!

CTider said...

Yea, Brad Stevens is about as realistic as Coach K.

Drifter said...

That's why its disastrous that the powers that be have waited too long. The hole keeps getting deeper.

Drifter said...

Ok, here you go. Person I trust says his source confirms Grant was told before season: No NCAA, No job. Decision made by BOT.

CTider said...

I would love for that to be the case, but that sounds like wishful thinking. I can't see an AD as apathetic as Alabama when it comes to basketball making such an ultimatum.

Msmilie said...

If it's the BOT, I don't think Battle will have much say in the matter. I could be wrong.

Drifter said...

Battle is just the messenger.