Friday, February 13, 2015

Fresh Meat- Vanderbilt 8PM EST (7PM CST) on ESPNU

Well... the good news is Vanderbilt hasn't won a road SEC game this year. They kinda stank so even a bit shorthanded I don't think we lose this one. Vandy is 3-8 in conference and 13-11 overall. The consensus is Kevin Stallings is one of the 4 best coaches in the SEC, but I think he's been there too long and is starting to mail it in. He probably needs to move on as well as Vanderbilt, but that's a discussion for the end of the season.

Write up
Stats

Damian Jones leads the team at almost 15/game on 54% shooting. He also leads the team in boards at 6.7/game. he will pose a problem inside against our mostly weak interior defense. The only other real consistent scoring threat is Riley LaChance who shoots a decent 38% from beyond the arc. As a team Vandy takes 35% of their shots from beyond the arc shooting at a 37% clip overall.

James Siakam has been playing much better over the last few games. He might be the X factor for them both inside in the post and on the boards.

Vanderbilt has lost 8 of their last 10, but had a 2 game winning streak snapped by UTK in OT on Wednesday at home.

This is a game we should win, but if we put up a performance like we did Tuesday I doubt we can win unless Vandy wants to out-ugly us like State did. I am hoping for a game that doesn't set back basketball a dozen years. With Tarrant out either Levi or Rodney HAS TO STEP UP as leaders of the team. They can't continue to be passive... they're seniors and need to showcase themselves for future employment overseas.


23 comments:

256Bradley said...

Retins back not sure if thats a good thing. hopefully the team understands the season is not over n come out with a sense of urgency

Msmilie said...

I hope the last 10 seconds of the 1st half doesn't come back to haunt our guys. They should be up 6-7 at the half instead of 1. A missed free throw, a technical foul and a turnover not the way you want to end a half.

With that said, great energy from the team in the 1st half. Retin is playing at a different level right now. Shows no rust from the 2 game layoff. Bama is battling on the boards with a +13 advantage (another reason they should be up more). A big turning point in the 1st half was Damian Jones (who Alabama, not surprisingly, is struggling with) picking up a 2nd foul. Having a wider margin on the scoreboard would have been beneficial. Hopefully Alabama can maintain their level of play and get this win.

CTider said...

Embarrassing, pathetic home loss to a 3-8 team that had not won on the road all year. If this doesn't seal Grant's fate, then he's never leaving.

Msmilie said...

A 3-8 team that is much better than their record, but, regardless, a bad loss for Alabama. Gotta protect the home court. A loss at Auburn this week, and the wheels might come off.

Msmilie said...

This one hurts. I thought Alabama did so many things well in this game. Played with great energy on both ends, but the key to the game was Vandy got to the line 35 times (not sure another road team in the SEC has shot that many free throws in a game this season, but I'd be surprised if they have). Alabama never could pull away because of Vandy's trips to the line. And that sequence at the end of the 1st half when Bama should have been up 7 really came back to haunt them.

Not much else to say. A lot of guys played spirited basketball for Bama, but the reality is this team is 15-10, 5-7 in the SEC, and the NIT is even starting to look dicey. Alabama will now have to travel on the road to Auburn. It will likely be the toughest crowd they've faced, and they have to win to merely continue to tread water. I'm not ready to say Grant's fate is sealed, but the door is closing rapidly.

CTider said...

I definitely agree that Vandy is better than their record. They've played a lot of close games, but I don't think they've won a road game all year. Losing to them in Memorial Gym would be understandable, but we had no business losing to this team in Coleman. We have not been good at home in SEC play this year.

Tide Bballfan 1981 said...

Another year without March Madness

CTider said...

Also, Coleman was a ghost town tonight. We had a buy one get one free deal on tickets and the arena was still empty on a Saturday. The fan base has had enough and rightfully so.

Msmilie said...

Not sure they can count on a good crowd on Valentines regardless of the record. Bad night for a basketball game. I took my old lady out last night. Only thing that afforded me the opportunity to watch the game tonight.

bobbyjack said...

Almost deserves the Lane Kiffin treatment if you ask me. He's been stealing money here for too long.
if he is the coach next season I'm gonna take a year off.
Lost to one of the worst Vandy teams in recent memory at home. Disgusting.

CTider said...

Grant after the game: "I hope the players realize an opportunity was wasted tonight." Says a lot about a coach that he would throw his players under the bus after a game like that. I hope these players realize what an opportunity was wasted when they signed up to play for Grant for four years. Like you said, I'm sure Grant will be laughing all the way to the bank tomorrow. And, even when we hopefully fire him, we'll still owe him four million dollars. Disgusting indeed. If Grant is somehow retained after this year, we should just shut down the program. There is no point in even having a program if you are just going to make a mockery out of it.

RichTide said...

Full disclosure. xCMG is a friend. At the end of his tenure I understood the frustration, and at times anger, of the fan base. He would beat Ky and then faceplant by 25 against the Hogs at home. When he chose to implode his personal life, he took the program down with it. What many of the fans don't know is the massive amount of time behind the scenes he spent to promote the program and battle the Administration. And yes, he battled - on such things like promotional nights, better tip off times, opponent scheduling, and most importantly putting the students along the sideline. He fought this last point so strongly, Mal instructed him to no longer contact him directly and to go thru Wendell Hudson "on all basketball matters." And in that last season, many people showed poor behavior as disappointing as Mark's but he alone got the ire of the fan base. Not providing an excuse for him, but there were several cancers in the program and Administration working against him. And no I won't provide details. The lawyers on this blog can probably tell you why.

What I've struggled to understand, is the anger against Mark in his last year and the total apathy during the last few years of the Grant era. I've resolved to the fact emotions come from the fact Mark gave them a taste of what was possible: strong recruiting classes; #1 ranking; Elite Eight, consecutive NCAAs; frequent victories over top 25 teams. NC State is experiencing a bit of the same pattern (note the big road win at Louisville tonight and Duke earlier this season). He gave us enough of a taste to want to be the next Florida, Michigan or Ohio St. But he could never quite get over the final hump. For very 2-3 great wins, we would have a massive bed crapper. And then get arrogant when the fans weren't more grateful for the victories when he was getting derided for the bad loss. With Grant there has been no whiff, no inkling of becoming an elite program. He's a class act that the fan base has tried to will to success. But when the coach himself appears not willing to put in the hard work to rebuild the program and recruit, gameplan and coach, they're going to stop putting energy in the program.

I have it firsthand and secondhand from former players. They highly respect Grant as a man and mentor, but he is not an SEC-caliber coach. The VAST majority of practice time, gameplanning and in-game coaching is on defense. At the end of the day, even if you are the top defensive team in the country (like UVa) you still need offensive sets and a philosophy. And defense keeps you in the NBA, but offense gets you in. Even Scottie Pippen and Greg Anthony had offensive game in college. Players leave our program because they know their offensive game will be broken down and they will have no shot at the NBA. How many HS 3-pt sharpshooters go to Bama only to become a 27% shooter? Norris has thus far preserved his outside shooting but how many times have we set a screen, or double screen, for him? Go back and look at the crazy ways FGCU set screens to get Varidel shots or Davidson when they had Curry or Duke with JJ Redick.

Hal is a great example in player mgmt. Sat on the bench last year, came alive in the second half of the SEC, then a ghost for the first half of the season. Without looking at stats, would you guess he's having a better season this year or last year? Freshman stats: 22 min, 8.8 ppg, 35% 3pt. Sophomore stats: 20 min, 8.4 ppg, 26% 3pt. Many of the staunch defenders will say "player has to take responsibilty, coaches don't execute" but when it's a repeated pattern with player after player (Releford the rare exception) it sits squarely on the coaches.

Sorry for the rant. Didn't think I still had this much passion left in me when I started typing.

Drifter said...

Knowing some of the inner workings as you do, I'm curious what you think Battle and his bosses are thinking, and what they will do going forward.

bobbyjack said...

While there is no doubt xCMG mailed it in the last 2 years, I have also heard about the battles he had with the AD regarding promotion and visibility. The football gumps like to say xCMG was jealous of Saban when in fact it was Saban that got everything he wanted while xCMG was getting scraps.


I was told by a couple folks that xCMG wanted a real investment in a NEW arena, not the redone Coleman... while BDS was going through yet another renovation. Say what you want about Auburn, but they made an investment in a new arena and now have a coach that has about as good of a chance of making them relevant as they ever had. Us... not so much.


The loss last night might have been for the greater good... but I still think if we win 18 and he's safe another year. I'll go back to xCMG as an example... if it wasn't for Ron Steele quitting the team (and the other stuff in the background) I suspect he would've been safe another year or 2.

CTider said...

Gottfried definitely quit on the program in his last two years, but we still weren't nearly as bad in those two years as we have been in the last two years under Grant. If we somehow bring this guy back, the program will never recover. CMG at least had a very good run from 2002-2006 and his bad wasn't nearly as bad as Grant's bad. Grant has never given us anything. He's Mike Shula and he should've been canned after year four just like Shula was.The administration has let this go on way too long. It has become an embarrassment.

Drifter said...

I'm thinking more and more that Bill Battle is simply going to finish his 4 year contract and leave without doing anything about basketball. That's two more years.

bobbyjack said...

I'll argue Grant tenure here has been less successful than Hobbs. Yes, there were the embarrassing losses to the Barn, but the highs of the program under Hobbs were far higher than the highs under Grant. To be honest, it's not even debatable.

And that is sad...

CTider said...

Not even close.

CTider said...

After the Florida game, you said that the BOT made the decision to fire Grant before the season if he did not make the NCAAT. You seem to have some sources. What's changed?

Drifter said...

That's my own paranoia creeping in. :)
Sorry, I should have said so.
I'm still trusting my sources.

CTider said...

I think everybody's a little paranoid after reading Battle's BS last year.

RichTide said...

Don't know any of the inner workings now. During Mark's tenure, I went to most home games and sat next to Elizabeth. And we have been to all of their houses in CA, KY, AL & NC. So I got the insider perspective on most of the issues.

The only thing I know now is several of the BOT members want bball to be respectful. Mark really burned them with his last year. The football mafia has had a firm grip since and are ok if the bball coach just doesn't embarrass the University. Despite what some think, Saban doesn't tell the BOT what to do with bball.

Drifter said...

Then they would love Hoiberg or Pastner. Marshall is a tick below in non embarassment factor after dropping a MF-Bomb during a recent game.