Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why college hoops is the best of the major "amateur" sports

Why college hoops trumps college football

1) There is no mythical national champion. There's no debate about who the champ is. No one with 'credentials' gets left out in college basketball.

2) Rankings make more sense. Recent example- Auburn is ranked ahead of Arkansas in the polls despite getting blasted by the Hogs at home and both having one loss.

3) More teams have a realistic chance to win it all. Every year in college football there's about 10 teams that realistically have a chance to win the MNC. In college hoops you can expand that to 25 teams. Heck, Florida was preseason unranked last year and we know how that turned out. Try being preseason unranked in college football and have thoughts of a MNC.

4) Seats... all seats are chairbacks indoors. College football... not so much.

Why college hoops trumps college baseball

1) DING! The fingernails on the chalkboard sound of an aluminum bat. It's like playing wiffleball with newspaper stuffed in the wifflebat.

2) The best players 18-22 are already in the minor leagues. There are exceptions, but for the most part I'm right. That makes college baseball the equivalent of watching Class A baseball. Someone counter with the NBDL... I'll counter that with no one watches that anyways. (g)

Some of this is tongue in cheek, some of this is not... I'll let you decide.

Monday, October 30, 2006

USA Today/ESPN preseason ranking out

We're #12... about where I expected us to be. Of those ahead of us I believe Duke, UCLA, and Arizona are waaaay overrated.

We're #12

Damn me for saying this, but I think Tennessee is ranked a little low to start the year. I suspect they'll be top 15 to end the year. As long as we're better than the puke Orange I'll be happy. :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

SEC Men's Basketball Preseason Awards Announced

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Southeastern Conference unveiled its third annual men's basketball coaches preseason All-SEC first and second teams, Monday, to tip off another great season of SEC men's basketball.

Florida led all schools with four selections. Alabama's Ronald Steele, Florida's Joakim Noah, LSU's Glen Davis and Tennessee's Chris Lofton were unanimous selections. The coaches preseason All-SEC first and second teams consist of a minimum of eight players on each squad, voted on by the SEC Head Men's Basketball Coaches. No ties were broken and no predicted order of finish was made.

Steele and Davidson preseason 1st team

How can there be 8 first team players? Shouldn't it be 5?
There's one ommission IMO... Steven "Mango Salsa" Hill C Arkansas. I figure on D alone he's a 2nd teamer. I suspect he'll be in the running for defensive player of the year.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

For your reading pleasure...national links about Alabama

SI's 20 burning questions- Can anyone turn this Tide into a three-point machine?

I think Alabama is going into the season mildly underrated. The Tide have arguably the best guard in America in Ronald Steele, and the inside tandem of 6-foot-10 senior Jemareo Davidson and 6-8 sophomore Richard Hendrix is formidable. Still, last year 'Bama ranked ninth in the SEC in made threes per game (5.61) and was seventh in three-point percentage (34.5 percentage), and that inability to bomb from long range proved to be its undoing. Jean Felix, who made only 31.6 percent from behind the arc but went for a season-high 31 points in the NCAA first-round win over Marquette, is gone. There is no obvious replacement, and Alabama needs to find one soon
Click here for the rest.

Free preview of Alabama on espn
To step up, says the Mirriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, is "to succeed in meeting a challenge [as by increased effort or improved performance]."
What better way to describe Alabama basketball in 2005-06?

Even coach Mark Gottfried might have feared the Crimson Tide's season was spiraling southward on the morning of Jan. 8, when he got word that his leading scorer and best low-post player, Chuck Davis, was lost for the rest of the year after blowing out his knee in a loss to Ole Miss the night before.

And if he didn't think Alabama was doomed just then, Gottfried might have come around to that line of thinking two weeks later, when guard Justin Jonus, one of the team's few remaining perimeter scoring threats, abruptly quit the team, leaving Gottfried with just seven scholarship players.

Not that Jonus was any world beater. But his departure, coupled with transfers and academic problems that cost the program four other players before the season began, left the Tide two foul outs and a twisted ankle away from finishing games with walk-ons. That's a scary proposition in any league, let alone the Southeastern Conference.

But at the height of Gottfried's despair, the Tide's luck began to change. Those foul outs and ankle injuries never happened. And several players, their roles drastically altered by the loss of Davis, began to succeed in meeting a challenge (as by increased effort or improved performance).

In other words, they stepped up.
More here.

From CBS Sportsline- A Gary Parrish writeup. You've been warned.
When the Crimson Tide do start playing games (Jackson State visits Nov. 10), what you'll find is that this is a team capable of being featured prominently on that One Shining Moment video next April. Who knows if they can win it all? But if you're compiling a list of teams with a legitimate shot to advance to the Final Four, this is one that must be on it.

Alabama has the best point guard in the nation in Ronald Steele, plus a dominant big man (Davidson) and bruising power forward (Hendrix). Granted, the Crimson Tide could use a proven shooter and some experienced depth, but when a team starts practice trying to establish its fourth-best player while identifying reserves, that's a team in good shape relative to most of the competition.

"I don't know if we're top 10 right now," Steele said, downplaying the expectations. "But we have a chance to be pretty good."

How good?

Consider the chant at the end of practice.

1-2-3 ... A-T-L!

Click here to read the rest.

Quick comments on the articles linked

SI- Gee and Steele will take the bulk of the 3s for us early on. Hopefully someone steps up as a 3rd beyond the arc threat.

ESPN- probably the best national preview of the team I've seen. It's a long read, but well worth it.

CBS- We really should've hyped up opening practice. I don't think the casual Alabama fan realizes how special this year could be. A little help from our SID (ha) and some marketing could've gone a long way to promoting the team. Otherwise a fair article from Parrish.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Gottfried reigns in hoop title hopes

I'm not sure why he wants to downplay it, but he is.... seems silly to me.

"The writers and editors who are picking our team high need to go on vacation for a while," he said.

Immediately, Gottfried starts jutting out fingers and listing the major obstacles for his club.

"The first thing, in this league you have Florida, who returns everyone from the national championship team. And in the SEC West, LSU returns three starters and the SEC player of the year (Glen Davis) from a conference championship team. I don't think there's any question the rest of the league is chasing those two."

Click here to read the rest of this.

More al.com links
2 starting spots open according to this piece. I disagree... Gee has secured a spot IMO. Let the battle begin for the final slot.

Another Steele article talking about him being an Iron Man and the expectations of this team.

Finally, practice begins Friday at 7:30PM CST (I have to put CST as I'm an EST dweller).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Even more love for Steele- ESPN article

Why he'll make news: Steele is considered one of the top point guards in the country -- and also may be its most important. Talk to any coach in the SEC and they'll single out Steele as the point guard they'd love to have on their team. Steele did a little bit of everything for the Tide last season and his role will only expand with the departure of Chuck Davis. Steele's name should be known nationally by midseason. It's already a common name within basketball circles, but he'll be written about, talked about on air and surely shown in highlights as he leads the Tide toward an SEC West top-two finish.

The rest can be read here

Let's enjoy Steele this year as it'll be his last season in Crimson. He'll be a top 10 draft pick barring unforseen circumstances.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Scoring options

Posts on another board got me to thinking... who are our scoring options. My list from 4 to 1:

#4- Richard Hendrix
He's a cog in the middle, a rebounder, picks up the "garbage" points off misses, and plays decent D. However his offensive skills are limited as he hasn't shown a midrange jumper (yet).

#3- Alonzo Gee
The only reason he's #3 is the guys ahead of him have senority. He's a slasher, rebounds well, an outside threat. He'll be our go to guy next season.

#2 Ronald Steele
As of right now he's our best shooter, he penetrates, dishes, and even rebounds if the D is asleep at the wheel. He's the best at creating his own shot on the team, but he's #2 as his main job is still to distribute the ball. If he doesn't play 40MPG (and if he does it's borderline criminal) he'll be the go to guy down the stretch. He's going to make some NBA franchise really, really happy.

#1 Jamereo Davidson
2 years ago he was a shot blocker, last year he was a force in all aspects fo the game. This is going to sound bad, but Chuck Davis going down for the year gave him an opening to shine and he did in fact shine. JD has a nice low post game, medium range jumper, great defender, and is obviously a tremendous rebounder. Steele and Hollinger will feed hm early and often. My only concern is now that JD has the spotlight on him can he handle double teams and find the open man on the perimeter or slashing to the basket. I think the answer is yes. His stats might not look any better than last year, but I believe he'll be a more complete player.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

CBS Sportsline top PGs of 2006-07

Steele tops the list in this article.

1. Ronald Steele (Alabama): The best point guards are the ones who can get a basket when their team needs a basket but do not necessarily need to get baskets to feed their egos. You follow me? In other words, a great point guard is a guy good enough to be selfish, yet unselfish in every way. That's why Steele (14.3 points and 4.3 assists per game last season) tops this list. He's a 6-foot-3 playmaker who just might lead the Crimson Tide to the Final Four.

The rest of the article can be found here: Steele best PG according to article

Bobby Brown is #9... who knew he had eligibility left?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Who's the best NBA player to play at Alabama?

Just to clarify what I'm asking... I'm looking for a former player that's excelled in the NBA.

I was going through a bunch of names... Buck Johnson, McKey, Benoit, Sprewell, Horry, McDyess, Wallace, Mo Williams, Darby Rich (just checking to see if you're paying attention) and none of them jump out at me. If we go by who has the most rings then it's Horry by a mile. That won't work as Horry has been a role player his entire career (and a damn good one at that).

McDyess was on fire with Denver and Phoenix, but injuries slowed him down... otherwise I'd go with him. Buck Johnson was a workhorse, but a role player. McKey... very similar to Horry minus the rings. It's too early to give Mo or Gerald Wallace the nod... and truth be told I doubt either can be regarded the best to play at Alabama. Benoit probably overachieved the most... making it undrafted, but he was another role player.

In the end I have to go with Sprewell. His pro career outshines his collegiate one. He averaged at least 15 PPG up until his final year in Minnesota in 2004, was a multiple time All-Star, and was part of that surprising '99 NY Knick team that somehow made it to the finals (as an 8 seed).

Note- I'm dating this back 20 years to 1986.