Thursday, December 03, 2020

Good finish to Not in Maui Invitational- Bama crushes 88-71

Box score

I thought the 2nd half was the best ball we played all season. 3s were shot in rhythm, crisp passing to find the open man... just a much better flow to the game than the previous 2 outings.

Five guys with double digits scoring... I like that! Even with Petty having an off-day.

Better summaries in previous post in comments...

Just like in 2009, after getting embarrassed by a PAC-12 team in the first game we win the remaining to finish in 5th place. 

Next up... long layoff 'til Clemson on Dec 12th. 

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Petty's 22 too much for Runnin' Rebels- Tide win 86-74

Box score

The better team won last night... but made it much tougher than it needed to be.

We started off strong with 3 straight 3s and built an early lead, but UNLV came back with a bunch of 3s to get back into it and we were all tied at 38 at the half. 2nd half saw us open up with 2 quick 3s to open up a lead that we pretty much maintained the rest of the game.
We shot much better in the 2nd half and even got the ball inside the arc a few times... more on that later. Defensively we did enough to keep them at 42% inside the arc for the night. Also, 21 assists and only 11 turnovers... BRAVO!

Last night we got good Petty... hope that happens 67% of the time or better.

Being honest I don't care for the barrage of 3s we seem intent on chucking up. I know it's a math game, but man does it detract from the actual game of basketball. 

Next up- Providence

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Bama barraged by bad bounces. Stanford crushes 82-64

I suck at alliteration so that is the best I can do.
Anyways... we were competitive for 15 minutes then the wheels fell off and the better team won handily.
I thought the offense played too much one on one ball and when you suck at 3s (like we have so far this year) you are in a world of crap.


The only positive I can find is we caused 22 turnovers. Didn't do much with them, but got to find something positive.
Next up... UNLV.

Funny thing... in 2009 we played Oregon in Maui and got blown out. 11 years later another PAC-12 team does the same thing.
Maybe we squeeze out 2 non-factor wins like we did in 2009... 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Game Preview: #25 Alabama vs Stanford

  Alabama comes into the Maui Invitational having picked up a win over JSU to start the season 1-0. As expected in the first game of the season, there were positives and negatives. Jahvon Quinerly was a major positive. The Villanova transfer basically got to the rim at will and exhibited solid vision. Herb Jones was Herb Jones. His defense and hard hat mentality is still worthy of praise...but he still missed a ton of POINT BLANK opportunities at the rim. He did bury a step back three, however. If Herb can do that at a consistent clip it only makes the Alabama offense that much more dynamic (while also improving his draft stock). 

 While Yale transfer Jordan Bruner was clearly able to alter shots at the rim, he wasn’t quite the rebounding machine that Alabama needs as JSU got multiple second and third opportunities with offensive rebounds. Having said that, it’s clear that his motor is as advertised and I think that will pay off. Moving on.

 The Opponent: Stanford will be making their debut after their first scheduled game was cancelled due to Covid concerns. Head Coach Jerod Haase will bring an experienced and talented squad that is certain to give Alabama a tough test. Stanford shot 37% from 3 last year while leading the PAC 12 in FGE percentage. Alabama will get a nauseating dose of ball screens so defensive discipline will be key. 

 Players to Watch: There is no question that the Stanford seniors will make an impact. Oscar Da Silva and Daejon Davis will likely be the keys that turn the engine. It’s the big time freshman Ziaire Williams that most everyone is excited to get their first glimpse of, however. Williams was a consensus 5 star recruit for Haase. Herb Jones will likely draw the assignment against Williams so we can assume that will be a key match up. It’ll also be interesting to see how John Petty performs after coming off a relatively off night for him against JSU. Bama will need to be more efficient from 3 in order to knock of the Cardinal. 

  My Thoughts: These are two similar teams in terms of the mix of young talent and upper classmen providing leadership. Both will also want to play fast. I think the team that has fewer turnovers likely wins the game. Getting to the rim won’t be quite as easy for the Alabama guards in this one so it’s imperative that Bama shoots it well. This will be a 40 minute game and I think it helps Alabama already having a game under it’s belt, but Stanford will be eager and hungry. If the Cardinal shoot well, Alabama could be in trouble. This will be a good game between two teams that should ultimately find themselves in the NCAA Tournament. I’m afraid Stanford will make one more clutch shot than the good guys, unfortunately. 

Prediction: Stanford 78, Alabama 75

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Crimson Clocks Cocks in Covid era debut. Bama 81 Jacksonville State 57

 As a preliminary matter, I'm hoping someone will step up and take on the role over writing game recaps this season.  The main reason I was doing it was because I am usually able to attend more games than most, and I tried to bring a little bit of the in-person perspective to the conversation.  Unfortunately, I am not planning to go to many, if any, games this season due to the pandemic.  I would love to hear a first person account from someone who is attending these games.  

Despite the unusual and less than ideal circumstances, this is one of the most anticipated seasons in years, and I was excited to watch this game on my new television, even if I felt a little weird and sad about not being there.  

It was a relatively easy win against an inferior opponent, so I'm not sure how much you can read into this one game.  My biggest takeaways were:

-Jahvon Quinnerly looked great at point guard.  He's more than capable of replacing the first round pick we just lost at that position.  18 points, 3 assists, and only one turnover.  He has a good looking shot and makes good decisions with the ball.  His game is smooth, and I think he's going to thrive in Coach Oats system.

- I expected more out of Bruner.  We still appear to be thin in the post.  We gave up way too many offensive rebounds. 

-Rojas is a solid addition, giving us 7 rebounds and 8 points in 21 minutes.  He's undersized but can handle some contact and will fight for a board.

-We missed way too many layups and bunnies.  We're going to have to convert the easy baskets if the 3s aren't falling against a decent team.

-Alex Reese looked bad.  I'm talking about both his play and his hair.  

-Shack scored 18 despite only making one three and played solid defense.  He might be on the verge of taking his game to the next level.

-I've heard that Herb's really been working on his jump shot.  Hopefully that 3 in the second half will build his confidence.  He's one of the best defenders in the nation, and if he can add a decent 3 ball he will be a first round pick, but he also needs to work on finishing around the basket. 

Happy Thanksgiving, Stay Safe, and Roll Tide!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

My Two Cents: SEC Predictions

 Out of the quarantine and election fog steps yours truly with a glimmer of light in his eye in the hopes that a college basketball season will happen. While roughly 15% of the college basketball programs in D1 are shut down due to Covid-related issues, college basketball is moving forward. Fortunately, Alabama will be one those teams kicking off the season tonight. Who knows what the season looks like from week to week though. My opinion is it would have been better to go to a conference only schedule in a bubble somewhere, but what it is is what it is. 

I have hung up my hat where it concerns writing about this program on a regular basis here. However, Bobby has been kind enough to leave the light on for me and so I'd like to post my predictions for the SEC (assuming conditions allow a full conference slate). 

1. Kentucky - The Cats are even younger than normal, but John Calipari remains one of the safer bets in this league. Expect this young team to struggle at times, but Cal will likely figure things out by late January.

2. Florida - Talent and experience will not be an issue for the Gators, but can Mike White coach an overachiever for a change? The Gators likely would have made the tournament last season if it happened, which would have been their fourth straight under White. But Florida has faded somewhat in the national consciousness, and White is one bad season away from feeling some serious heat from the fanbase. Due to Covid issues, the Gators season debut is December 2.

3. Tennessee - The popular pick to win the league, and probably the smart pick. The Vols return most of their best players from last season, plus add Barnes' best recruiting class yet. But I like to go out on a limb so I'll pick them here. Due to Covid issues, Tennessee's season is delayed until December 12.

4. Alabama - Honestly, I believe that if everything clicks for our guys, they can win the league this season. The depth is there to do it. The biggest question is can our guys guard anybody? Defense was the biggest issue last season as Alabama finished 10th in the league in defensive efficiency. This team can shoot as many threes as they want to, and it won't matter if they don't guard.

5. Ole Miss - I'm drinking some of the Rebel kool-aid as they return some key guys while also having success on the transfer market. That said, they are a tough team to figure; they could finish here or 10th. I believe Kermit Davis is a good coach so I expect them to bounce back after a 13th-place finish last season. Due to Covid issues (are you sensing a pattern here?), the Rebels are delayed until December 12

6. LSU - The Tigers have the talent to win the league. They also have an NCAA investigation hanging over their heads. If you've been paying attention to what happened to Alabama and Auburn, it does appear that all programs caught under the FBI investigation are or will be facing varying degrees of penalties. Because Will Wade was a blabbermouth on a phone conversation that was being tapped by the feds, LSU will likely be one of the programs hit hardest. With the future job status of the coaches and the eligibility of players up in the air, all happening during a pandemic which has upset normalcy in the sport, how can this team not be distracted?

7. South Carolina - For people like myself that make predictions, the Gamecocks are like gnats on a camping trip. You predict they'll finish 12, they finish 8; you predict they'll finish 10, they finish 6; you predict they'll...well, you get the idea. Like gnats, very annoying. So expect them to finish somewhere between 3-5 based on this prediction.

8. Missouri - The Tigers will have the most experienced team in the league. If they can avoid the injuries that have decimated them the last three seasons, they should be very competitive. 

9. Arkansas - I love Muss. Long-time readers will remember I was floating his name for head coach in Tuscaloosa after the end of the Grant era. If Arkansas finishes higher, I won't be shocked. But they did lose their best two players early to the draft. Muss responded by restocking the roster with transfers, which has been a successful MO for him. I feel a little better about the teams in front of the Hawgs, but I'd take Muss as a coach over all but two (maybe three) of the coaches of the teams I've predicted ahead of Arkansas.

10. Texas A&M - Readers will also remember my respect for Buzz. He made quite the splash in his first season in College Station, taking a team that had no business finishing above 12th and leading them to a 7th place finish (five of their ten conference wins were on the road). But they also lost Josh Nebo, a player that I thought was one of the most important players to their team in the league. The kind you don't miss until he's gone (think Herb last season playing with one hand or missing games altogether). The future is very bright with Buzz on the bench, but this could be a temporary step back as he builds the program. 

11. Auburn - I was struggling with Auburn's placement on this list a few days ago. But then the school announced a postseason ban for this season. And then news began to surface that the player that could be Auburn's best player this season was exploring overseas options due to worries about his eligibility. So yeah, I feel better about this prediction.

12. Mississippi State - Ben Howland's tenure in Starkville has been a mixed bag, to put it nicely. I wouldn't be shocked if both parties are fine with moving in different directions as soon as this spring. With this team, Howland has some guys returning that could take another step, but this roster (with all due respect to Bama transfer Javian Davis) doesn't jump off the page at me. If they finish higher than this, props to Ben Howland.  

13. Georgia - They're probably better off without Anthony Edwards, but I don't sense much positive momentum in Athens right now. Fortunately for Tom Crean, there is no more apathetic fanbase when it comes to basketball in the SEC than Georgia. 

14. Vanderbilt - My gut feeling is that Vandy will finish higher than this. Between what they have coming back, plus a few new players, they could take a step forward this season. But my brain isn't ready to go out on a limb for a program that has won only nine conference games in the last three seasons.

Once again, thanks to Bobby for leaving the light on. It's great to see this lil' ol' blog continue its steady progression. Let's hope for the best this basketball season. Lord knows we could use a little escape these days. Take care, and Roll Tide!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Game Preview: #25 Alabama vs JSU

 FINALLY...it’s time to tip the 2020-21 season off for the Alabama Crimson Tide. This year’s iteration of the Tide will once again enter the season with optimism as it returns John Petty Jr, Jaden Shackleford and Herb Jones. Joining that experienced core will be highly touted transfer and former McDonald’s All American Jahvon Quinerly as well as a host of exciting newcomers. It isn’t just the fanbase that is high on the Tide, as Alabama was voted by the coaches as a top 25 team in the AP poll to begin the season. It all begins with a battle against the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State this Wednesday. Tip is set for 6:30. 

 The Opponent: JSU will come into Coleman Coliseum as a bit of an enigma this season as it will be replacing 3 of it’s 4 highest scorers from the shortened 2019-2020 season. Jakara Cross has graduated so JSU will need someone to step up in the scoring column for coach Ray Porter. 

 Players to watch: Starting with JSU, one has to expect a jump from Tulsa product Damaree King. King is a solid athlete and a streaky shooter that could give Alabama some trouble if the Tide has trouble closing out on D. JSU also expects an uptick in production from it’s 6’11 Slovakian C Maros Zeliznak. The big man only produced about 4 PPG last season but the word is that he’s improved his game over the summer. 

 One could make a case for the entire Bama roster being players to watch. There will be intrigue surrounding Josh Primo as an incoming 5 star recruit. The same could be said for Jordan Bruner, the exciting transfer from Yale, as well as fan favorites John Petty, Jaden Shackleford and Herb Jones. Basketball fans around the country, however, are excited for the Alabama debut of Jahvon Quinerly. He has big shoes to fill at this point after Kira Lewis Jr was drafted in the lottery by New Orleans just a few nights ago. Will he be more comfortable in a more fast paced style at Alabama as many expect he will be? We’re only a couple of days from finding out. 

 My take: Speaking of having big shoes to fill, I’m writing the first game preview for BAMAHOOPS.com that won’t be written by our good friend Mitchell Smilie in quite some time, so I hope everyone will still enjoy our previews as Mitch was one of the best to do it! 

 You have to make a statement to start the season, right? Alabama has returning seniors in 1st Team SEC John Petty and 2nd Team SEC Herb Jones. It has Jaden Shackleford that has proven himself to be a cold blooded sniper even at a young age. I could go on and on but you still have to lace them up and tip it off. It’ll be interesting to see if the Tide can rebound and maintain defensive intensity. Something it struggled with at times last season. Having said that, I think JP and Shack will simply be too much for JSU. The Gamecocks will score...but not nearly enough. 

Prediction: Alabama 91, JSU 76

Friday, November 20, 2020

Alabama on probation for 3 years... thanks Kobie

Lucky for us, basketball is back page news so we won't get the national wrath.
ESPN

Kobie Baker is the main culprit here... and TBH I was kind of expecting something like this to come down. It's not serious, but they are taking 5K and 1% of the budget (I assume basketball) which is about the spare change in my pocket (I kid... maybe).

You can connect the dots... 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Kira Lewis goes #13 to the NOLA Pelicans

Congrats to him and hope he gets PAID accordingly (by rookie cap regulations).

Of note 12 SEC players were drafted yesterday... so essentially 20% of the draft came from the conference.

Also... I saw Kenyon Martin Jr was drafted. Which made me realize I am getting old.

Friday, November 06, 2020

SEC Schedule out... Bama has a tough starting stretch

Link to our schedule:
Below is the SEC slate

Tue, Dec 29vs Ole MissTBD
Sat, Jan 2TennesseeTBD
Tue, Jan 5vs FloridaTBD
Sat, Jan 9AuburnTBD
Tue, Jan 12KentuckyTBD
Sat, Jan 16vs ArkansasTBD
Tue, Jan 19LSUTBD
Sat, Jan 23vs Mississippi StTBD
Tue, Jan 26vs KentuckyTBD
Sat, Jan 30OklahomaTBD
Wed, Feb 3vs LSUTBD
Sat, Feb 6MissouriTBD
Tue, Feb 9South CarolinaTBD
Sat, Feb 13vs GeorgiaTBD
Wed, Feb 17Texas A&MTBD
Sat, Feb 20vs VanderbiltTBD
Wed, Feb 24ArkansasTBD
Sat, Feb 27Mississippi StTBD
Tue, Mar 2vs AuburnTBD

No easy games... 

Monday, October 26, 2020

An omen for pre-season basketball tournaments?

ESPN decided to pull the bubble format in Orlando. This is kinda big as I assume this may filter down to other tournaments (Maui in Asheville).

Link

I actually hope they cancel the Maui in Asheville debacle and just push us (and the other 6 teams) to 2022.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Highly Ranked JUCO Prospect Commits to Bama

  Alabama added it’s 3rd commitment of the early period today with the addition of 4 star Wing Langston Wilson. Wilson is a 6’9 freakishly athletic F with huge upside.The addition of The nation’s 2nd ranked JUCO prospect moves Nate Oats’ first full recruiting class up to 13th in the country and there are still some major targets out there for the Tide. 

  Several aspects of Wilson’s game stand out on film. Outside of having an NBA ready physique, Wilson possesses a high basketball IQ and a relentless motor-two major factors that Oats and staff covet amongst recruits. Wilson joins Jusaun Holt and JD Davison as Tide pledges for 2021. When asked about his future teammates, Wilson stated that Davison had a major hand in recruiting him to Alabama and now both will make an effort to help add C Charles Bediako and G Caleb Houstan to an already stellar class. 

  The addition of Bediako or Houstan would take Alabama all the way inside the top 3 in class rankings. The addition of both elite prospects would place Bama at number one in most outlets.  

Friday, October 09, 2020

Gregg Marshall under scrutiny at Wichita State

I am sure some of us are doing a "HA-HA" right now about this... and you can't blame us. Marshall did use Bama for his pay hike (and a smart move at that) so there is to be some butthurt from our fanbase.

SI link

According to what is published ol' Gregg seems to have a bit of a temper. Note these are allegations, but generally speaking where there's smoke there's fire so I am inclined to think there is some truth to this. Probably not 100%, but enough to make WSU dig a bit deeper.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Nation’s Top PG Commits to Bama

  One short week after Alabama landed 4 star F Jusaun Holt, Coach Nate Oats has reeled in a crown jewel for the 2021 class with 5 star PG JD Davison. Davison is the top Point Guard prospect in the nation for many outlets and is the state’s top rated overall player. He’s been described as the state of Alabama’s best high school prospect since Demarcus Cousins. THIS IS A BIG DEAL. 

 Alabama was the first program in on Davison’s recruitment and Antoine Pettway’s efforts have paid dividends over a half of a decade later. Davison averaged 34 PPG and 12 RPG while leading Calhoun High School to the state championship last year. He also managed to hit the game winning 3 at the buzzer to earn the title in the championship game itself. An extremely athletic PG, Davison has garnered comparisons to the likes of Russel Westbrook, John Wall and others. He reminds me a bit of Ja Morant with the finishing ability of someone like Derrick Rose. He doesn’t quite have the initial explosiveness of Westbrook...yet. If his outside jumper remains consistent enough to make opposing defenses honor it, Davison will find himself getting to the rim early and often in Tuscaloosa. 

 The impact of landing JD Davison is huge for multiple reasons. His commitment gives the Tide the 25th ranked class for 2021 at the moment. There is the obvious talent he brings on the court, of course. The potential domino effect of his commitment is something to watch, however. Five stars tend to attract other five stars and Davison was quoted today as saying he hopes to play with Caleb Houston and Charles Bediako. This will be something to look out for, but Alabama has landed itself a good one already with Davison. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Jusaun Holt Chooses Bama

  Nate Oats and company picked up The Tide’s first commitment of the ‘21 class with 4 Star F Jusaun Holt out of Georgia today. Holt is a 6’7 Wing that should fit in well within Oats’ system in Tuscaloosa. The one thing that stands out about Holt’s game is his motor. He gives a high level of effort on both sides of the court, which is a characteristic that Oats and his staff covet as they continue to work to establish a new culture on the hardwood in Tuscaloosa. 

  Defensively, Holt will remind Bama fans of Herb Jones after he comes on campus and gets stronger under the guidance of Coach Snowden. He’s capable of guarding positions 1-4 and isn’t afraid to rebound. 

 Offensively, Holt will bring yet another lengthy shooter that will allow the Tide to spread the floor and create mismatches while playing fast. He can get hot from 3 quickly and features solid handles for a 6’7 Wing. A very solid foundation to what could be a stellar  ‘21 class. 

Thursday, September 03, 2020

UPDATED- More Maui Invitational news... pack your bags for Asheville (Cherokee)?

UPDATE- It's official
Cherokee Casino bubble

Per Jon Rothstein on the twitters. Was sent to me by MS (gracias as I don't use twitter).

I hope that the schools affected are booked for 2022 instead of getting a shirt that reads, "I played the Maui Invitational in a NC Casino!"

More than likely be a bubble so seems like the closest you can get is outside the casino watching on a monitor.

Monday, August 31, 2020

John Thompson- dead at the age of 78

They say this happens in 3s... former Georgetown coach John Thompson passed away.
Link

Thompson paved the way for many other black coaches getting a deserved shot at running a program.

My memories are from the opposition side as I was a St John's Redmen fan growing up... the rivalry between those 2 schools in the 80s was amazing especially when they met in the Big East Tournament.

In the 80s and early 90s if you were a big man you wanted to go through Georgetown as the chances of making it in the NBA (and thriving) were exponentially better if John Thompson coached you (Ewing, Mutombo, Mourning).

John Thompson like Lute Olsen put their schools on the college basketball map. 

We lost another piece of basketball past... rest well coach.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Lute Olsen- dead at the age of 85

From ESPN

I actually consider him one of the greatest coaches of all-time. He literally built a program in the desert and unlike UNLV, Tucson is FAR from a destination vacation. Having been there (3 years ago) I can say Tucson is the semi successful place it is today thanks to Lute Olsen. Without him being there, Tucson (and the University of Arizona) is community school level.

Unlike Jim Calhoun (who I have an unhealthy dislike for), Lute did not have the fertile talent pool to build from. Their stories are similar in regards to building a national program though.

He lived a long time... and his contributions to the school, city, and state will be remembered for the next 100 years. RIP Coach.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

LSU's Will Wade... about to be canceled

Not really shocking if you have followed this the past 3 years, but it is odd that a talent rich area like the NOLA area would need "encouragement."

The investigation involving LSU men's basketball coach Will Wade's alleged bribery of recruits may conclude within an independent group designed to handle complex NCAA infractions matters.

No notice of allegations has yet been sent to LSU. The notice could spell the end of Wade's successful but controversial three-year tenure coaching the Tigers. 

An independent panel could make that ultimate decision if LSU's case enters the Independent Accountability Resolution Process — a system formed in response to a Condoleezza Rice-led commission on college basketball.

Link

Don't think he survives this 2nd look... and he probably shouldn't, but maybe COVID might put up enough of a distraction for him to stay under the radar.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Update: Maui Invitational- I suggest opting out

LINK to the latest news (same as previous post link).

Let me summarize:

- 14 day quarantine through end of September.
- Don't expect to be able to leave your hotel... even less think about inter-island travel
- Good luck renting transportation
- Most beaches/bars closed

That does not sound like a fun time does it? Let me make it worser...

Schools scheduled to play from what I understand have been told to fill the gaps if they can. Meaning... the likelihood of this tournament happening on the Island is slim and none and slim left town.

I fully expect conferences to release limited schedules... in conference games only. Which isn't actually bad if the SEC goes to a 26 game schedule where everyone plays each other 2x... but I will miss the non-conference match ups we get in November and December.

Hawaii seems okay with bankrupting their state so if they are good with that... it is what it is.
When they open back up in 2022 (sarcasm... maybe) they might have to pay the airlines stipends to get people back.

I went ahead and canceled my flight there... while not refundable at least I get the full value back in my account to use elsewhere.

I feel bad for the tourism industry there...