Wednesday, December 31, 2008
We improved to 9-3 with our win over Quincy, though we are only 7-3 in the eyes of the NCAA committee, as our 2 wins over Division II Chaminade and Quincy don't count. We started off very slow. Quincy ran a 4 guard set, and nobody besides Senario and Ron bothered to cover the perimeter. This meant a lot of wide open 3's for the Hawks. Midway through the first half, the mighty yeast rolls actually held a 20-15 lead.
Coach Gottfried called a timeout and actually chewed some ass. I couldn't hear exactly what he was saying over the band and Tony Giles rambling over the P.A., but it was definitely an animated conversation with a lot of yelling. Gottfried said during the post game show that the reason he stuck with the starting lineup in a man to man against their 4 guard set was because later in the season Green, Knox, and Coleman will need to be able to step out and play defense away from the basket. While I agree that this is the type of game that you do some experimenting and basically use as a practice, I would have preferred if we would have went ahead and pressed in the first half to go ahead and put the game away before working on these types of things. Also, Demetrius Jemison seems like the perfect solution against the smaller type lineups, but he's still in the dog house. He did get to play in mop up duty, and scored a dunk off of a rebound.
In the second half, we did what we should have done in the first half. We played a full court game, turned them over, got easy baskets, and won going away. There were some positives from this game. All 5 of our starters scored in double digits. Hollinger shot the ball better. I think we forced 18 turnovers in the second half. Andrew Steele came back from his ankle injury, and played a solid game, especially defensively. Gee had another great game on both ends of the court. JaMychael had probably his best game, as he actually managed to stay healthy and out of foul trouble. Senario played outstanding defense, and while he still took a few bad shots, most of them went in, so I can't complain too much. Everybody got to play, except Anthony Brock who apparently is going to redshirt. Greg Cage made a 3 at the buzzer, much to the delight of the group of 500 or so in attendance.
For some reason, Quincy entered and left the court via the tunnel in the corner nearest our bench, right in front of me, instead of the one diagonally across from us that every other team uses. I'm curious as to why they did that, I haven't heard of us moving the visitor's locker room. Perhaps they wanted to avoid being heckled by the half dozen Mark's Madness members in attendance.
Up next, the Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech comes in for a 2pm tipoff Saturday. I actually expect a fairly decent crowd for this game, since they are a "name" ACC school. I know several people who are not going to the Sugar Bowl who actually plan to make it. The good news is Tech isn't very good either. They are 8-4, comparing common opponents, they beat Mercer in overtime, and beat Tennessee State by 5. They have home losses to UIC, Virginia, and Penn State. They do have a win at home over Vandy. Let's send the yellow jackets to a watery grave.
Despite Gottfried's shortfalls, which we have beat to death, I have always given him credit for putting together a good schedule. Since the year we got shafted out of the NCAA tournament, he's done a great job of putting together a schedule that would artifically inflate our RPI rating. Every year all of our "cupcake" teams would be competitive in their conference. Of course, every now and then one would slip up and beat us like Belmont last year, but for the most part this was a good strategy.
Our non conference schedule this year is crap, and the weak SEC is not going to help that much. As mentioned above, 2 of our wins don't even count. In fairness, when you sign up for Maui, you aren't counting on losing to Oregon and having to play Chaminade, but that possibility should have been taken into consideration before agreeing to play Quincy. There are 350 division I teams, we should have been able to find SOMEONE to play other than Quincy. The only possible connection I can figure out is they have an assistant coach who was a previous assistant at Georgia and Western Kentucky. Perhaps he knows Coach Holland from his days at UGA. That isn't a good enough reason to give them a game under these circumstances, in my opinion.
But beyond that, let's look at our non-conf schedule:
Mercer- 6-5 but have played a tough schedule. They will compete in the A-sun. Not bad.
FAMU- 2-9, they suck.
Oregon, 6-6, losses to Oakland and St. Mary's. They suck.
Chaminade, Div 2 team with 8 players.
St. Joe's, 5-6 losses to Siena and Holy Cross. They suck.
AAMU- 2-6, they suck, but I can understand this one.
Louisiana- 3-7, RPI 311. They suck.
Texas A&M- 11-1, but hasn't played a very tough schedule. They might be a tournament team.
Tennessee State- 2-8, one of the worst teams in basketball, they suck.
Chattanooga, 2-8, tough schedule, blown out by Fairfield. They suck.
Yale, 2-8, lost by 30 at Vermont. They suck.
Quincy, Div 2 team.
Georgia Tech- Big name from a good conference, but probably not a tournament team.
Clemson, Very good team, undefeated, #6 RPI, will kick our ass.
At the absolute best, I see 3 tournament teams on that schedule if Mercer can win the A-Sun, and we'll have losses to all 3. We will either have to win the SEC regular season or win the SEC tournament to go dancing this year. Probably not going to happen.
2) Tennessee- their win over Georgetown looks even more impressive. Why did they drop to #2? Arkansas' domination of #4 OU.
3) Florida- what a cupcake nonconference schedule they've played. They should be better than that.
4) South Carolina- lost at home to Clemson, but still a solid team.
5) LSU- see Florida.
6) Kentucky- they keep on rolling. Let's see what they do at Louisville.
7) Auburn- they beat Bama A&M worse than we did.
8) Vanderbilt- 4 in a row over cupcakes winning by 19+ each game.
9) Alabama- 4 in a row, but not impressive in 2 of them.
10) UGA- thank God for Mississippi is what they're saying.
11) Ole Miss- injuries have decimated them, but still... getting hammerred by the fighting Eustachys?
12) Miss St- lost to San Diego at home. Kentucky did that last year and made the NCAAs... I doubt MSU does the same.
Happy New Year everyone... I'll drink me a Shark Attack (or 12) at Tropical Isle for my peeps.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Greg Cage sank a 3 pointer at the buzzer... awesome.
I'll let DJC give a detailed recap since he's much better at it than me.
In other news, Arkansas is beating the ever living crap out of 4th ranked Oklahoma. Pelphrey has got his team on a roll.
Still laughing over Hville's post below.
Monday, December 29, 2008
The mighty Division II Quincy Hawks come into Tuscaloosa looking to end our 3 game winning streak. I say, "HA!" Scratch that, we barely beat Yale.
- 49% FG
- 40% 3 PT FG
- 71% FT
- +4.5 rebound margin
- 15 turnovers a game
I would say these stats are meaningless considering the competition they've played, but we play like a Division II team at times so it might be pertinent. Justin Brock is their leading scorer and rebounder and is also the only regular taller than 6'6". We should control the boards... right?
Prediction: I got the built in excuses lined up.
1) We're on short rest.
2) Yale really challenged us.
3) Quincy plays hard and their shots just seem to fall.
4) Crowd support.
We should win BIG, but I suspect it'll be closer than we want it to be for 30 minutes.
I assume the readers of this blogs (thanks for the support BTW) are too smart to buy this:
If you bought one I am embarrassed for you. Let me get this straight... a blanket with sleeves? Why not wear a sweater in the house if you're cold. Or here's an idea... turn the heat up. This might be the dumbest invention ever to hit the airwaves since the Flowbee. If you're too young to remember the Flowbee, google is your friend.
Edit- I love junk mail...
I was going to list a 2nd one, but I got distracted with work and the Rutgers-NC State game and totally forgot what it was. I'm sure I'll see it again and will rant on it sometime in the near future.
We got the lead up to 18, but we didn't put them away. We switched to a 2-3 zone and Yale scored on 3 straight possessions. Yale did a good job of switching defenses to keep us confused on offense. They went to a 1-3-1 halfcourt trap at one point in the second half, and we looked totally lost against it. It took 4 possessions before Gottfried finally called a timeout and made the adjustment to where Gee would get the ball in the corner instead of Knox.
It seemed like Yale scored out of every timeout. They ran the old picket fence play on an inbounds a few times, and the first time we were caught watching the paint dry. To give up an easy layup off of that play, against that team, out of a timeout, is ridiculous.
Yale did not run the motion offense as much as I expected. I assumed since the two Ivy league schools I have seen play in recent years, Princeton and Penn run it, that they all did, but apparently not. They ran it some, but they also incorporated a lot of pick and rolls, 1-4 high, and even the weave.
Stopping them was not the problem. For the most part, we played pretty good defense. 19 turnovers against a slow, awkward team is inexcusable. Ron Steele shot the ball pretty well, but his ball handling was uncharacteristically bad. At least twice he allowed one of Yale's slow, nerdy white boys to take the ball from him on the dribble.
The play of our bigs continues to be inconsistent. We should have dominated them inside, but rebounding was about even, and Knox was pretty much a non factor despite being on the floor nearly the entire game. Green managed to stay out of foul trouble for the most part, but he had to leave the game after being raped in every orifice and clocked upside the head, requiring 4 stitches. Amazingly, no foul was called on that play. We are a much better team with Green on the floor. Knox and Coleman do not consistently get into position to receive the ball in the post, and when they do, our guards can't get them the ball for some reason. Green seems to have better chemistry with our guards. Coleman played good defense, but his stone hands were back preventing him from scoring a lot of points. Given Green's injury along with Knox and Coleman's relative ineffectiveness, one would have expected Demetrius Jemison to see the court, but he appears to be in Coach Gottfried's doghouse for some reason.
The substitution patterns continue to boggle the mind. As mentioned above, 'Meat never saw the court. Torrance finally got some meaningful playing time and did a nice job. I really like his drive and dish game. Andrew Steele and Anthony Brock kept Demetrius company on the bench the whole game. I was told by somebody at the game that Anthony Brock is redshirting. Even though he has played, apparently he hasn't played enough to lose the redshirt. Andrew Steele's ankle had been bothering him in the previous game, so that may have still been an issue.
Senario Hillman played very good defense and yes, he scored a lot of points, but someone needs to talk to him about shot selection. I'll go ahead and say it, he is becoming somewhat of a ball hog. I like the way he plays on the open court, but he takes some horrible shots.
On the positive side, we did a much better job of game management in the final minute than we did against Texas A&M. With the exception of Knox and Coleman each missing the front end of a one and one, we actually got the ball to our good free throw shooters (who had been in the game and were warmed up), and they knocked them down. Overall, free throw shooting was much better in this game. Hillman had a bad foul on a 3 pt shooter, but we did finally learn to use those fouls to give and to let them shoot one and one with a few seconds remaining in a 3 point game. I did not like the fact that we had nobody on the man inbounding the basketball with a 3 point lead. My concern was that Yale would quickly pass the ball back to the inbounder who would be able to get off a 3 point shot before we were able to foul. Luckily, that was not the case. We should have put the game away much earlier, but at least we stepped up and did what was necessary to hold on at the end.
The crowd was much better than I expected for a Sunday night game against Yale. With school being out, there were hardly any students there, but I would estimate attendance to be around 2,000. It was a significantly larger crowd than we have had for the last few games. Yale brought a surprisingly decent number of fans with them.
Up Next, Quincy comes in tomorrow night at 7pm. I thought Quincy's was an out of business, bad steak house, but apparently they are a Division II school from Quincy, IL, located north of St. Louis on the Mississippi river. I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out how/why in the world we are playing them in basketball.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
At least we learned something from the Texas A&M game... we fouled up by 3.
- We won... and held Yale to 36% from the field.
- 17/21 from the line
- Gee continues to play well
- did not put Yale away.
- 25% 3 PT FG... we're not very good beyond the arc.
- 42 to 41 rebound edge... we should've dominated the boards.
Another ho-hum win, but it's better than an embarrassing loss. Next up Quincy on the 30th where we should extend this winning streak to 4 games. Yippee!
I'm completely miffed at CMG's substitution patterns (again). It looks like yet again he's settled on 7 guys seeing the court. Hollinger is barely seeing the court which is better than Jemison not getting a sniff of it. At least Torrance gets some PT now. If you want to know why we have such a high attrition rate take another long look at CMG's use of the roster. Maddening.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
They did beat Oregon State (and the President elect's son-in-law) in Corvallis, but that's not much to hype being that the Beavers suck. Still, it's a road win so we better be prepared. Overall they're 2-6 and haven't played in almost 3 weeks.
I have not seen them play... if anyone has I commend you for your complete dedication to college basketball. The only way I'll watch Ivy League sports is if I have money on it.
- 42% FG
- 28% 3 PT FG
- 67% FT (you'd think an Ivy league school would be better than that)
- -3.7 rebound margin
- Roughly 19 turnovers a game
Prediction: Yale sucks... bad. We should beat them silly in front of a capacity crowd (ok, more like a gathering). Bama by 18.
Gametime is 6PM on 12/28... you can watch it for free on crimsontradition.com.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I was encouraged by the improvements I saw Monday night but I'm nowhere near ready to say Bama Basketball is back. Even if everything else had been perfect the substitutions (to refer to those random events as a "pattern" would stretch the use of the word) still would make me nervous. Then again, we have seen this from CMG before. He will play all the newer kids in the preseason and stick with just seven once SEC play commences.
The improved play against the Mocs was a sign of things to come. Then again, I am an optimist and tend to be loyal to a fault. For the sake of the team and the program I sure hope they keep playing with that type of effort while correcting the same fundamental flaws CMG's teams have tended to exhibit for the past ten years. Please forgive me if I don't hold my breath.
In a somewhat related issue, I read on another Bama Basketball dedicated board that long time supporter The Flash had lost all four of his season tickets. Well, he didn't exactly lose them. He posted that his wife was cleaning out a drawer and, thinking the envelope full of tickets was trash, threw them out. I called Flash this morning to wish him merry Christmas. He confirmed that Mrs. Flash had indeed discarded all his tickets and he had not even noticed it for a month because he had not tried to attend a single game. I think I've talked him into attending the Georgia Tech game with me. I suppose there will be eight hours of football on that day. I've never seen Tech play live. I'll try to suffer through to the end of the game before driving 4 hours home to post my report.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Guess I need to go down the list of teams I enjoy watching... and root for:
1) North Carolina- I admit this one's too easy, but I have been rooting for them since the late 80s... and despised Duke during that same span. Watching them under Roy Williams is a thing of beauty... it's night and day from what most Alabama fans are used to.
2) UCLA- I followed them closely under the Lavin years. They underachieved in the regular season, but ended up inthe Sweet Sixteen I beileve 4 times. That's still underachieving for UCLA and he was promptly fired when they did miss the NCAAs. While they're a much better team under Howland, they sure are boring to watch.
3) St John's- I'd like to, but I still can't get over the name change. Besides, I already have misery in my favorite team so why double the dosage. Big ups for Mike Jarvis for decimating a once proud program (sarcasm off).
4) UNLV- I loved the Runnin' Rebels in the late 80s/early 90s and I'm glad they're becoming relevant again. As good as Lon Kruger is I still miss Tark the Shark.
5) Arkansas- I know... how could I like another team in the SEC? Obviously, I'll never root for them over us, but I do hope they do well every year. Here's my rationale:
A) It makes the household calm (wife is a big Razorback fan) and
B) A strong Arkansas is good for the rest of the SEC.
6) Georgia Tech- my adopted local team. Like us, they had a flukey tournament run and haven't done much since. Still, being I dislike all things UGA it's natural for me to pull for their rival.
Unrelated... and I doubt anyone cares, but I have chosen my new favorite NFL team. I guess I've lived here long enough to root for a local team and it might as well be the Atlanta Falcons. The playoff bound Atlanta Falcons. They still could win the division and be the 2nd seed, but more than likley they're the 5 seed. Regardless, it's been a great year for them.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The substitution patterns continue to make no sense. Andrew Steele was out with an injury, but I fail to see why Anthony Brock and Demetrius Jemison could not have got some meaningful playing time in this type of game. Torrance finally saw some decent minutes, mostly at the two guard, and he played well.
As usual, JaMychael Green ended up in foul trouble, but at least it took him a little longer to get there. We are a much better team offensively with him on the court, and hopefully he will continue to improve his defense so he can stay on the floor. After dropping a double-double in the last game, Coleman was pretty much a non-factor, but Justin Knox more than picked up his slack. Knox had a great all around game, playing good defense, rebounding, and scoring in the post.
Hillman and Gee also had great games. Hillman's shot selection was questionable at times, but more often than not things worked out for the best. Hillman's defense was especially good. He forced several turnovers which led to fast break points, and that was the key to putting the game out of reach.
Alonzo Gee played as good of a game as I have seen. He was solid defensively, but always seemed to make the right decisions on offense, utilizing all of his skills. He knew when to shoot, and he shot it well, but he was also able to attack the basket and find his open teammates when the situation called for it.
Ron Steele looked for his shot early in the game, and was shooting well, but he seemed to look to pass first and set up his teammates in the second half.
Perhaps the best thing to come out of this game was Brandon Hollinger's renewed confidence. One of the big question marks coming into the season was who would be able to shoot the trey from the wing, after losing Riley from last year. After some early season practices and scrimmages, I thought Hillman would be our answer there, but it is becoming apparent to me that while both Hillman and Gee are capable of making the occasional 3, both are more of a slasher and will not be a consistent threat from downtown. We really need Hollinger to become that 2 guard who can consistently shoot from out there. With a number of capable point guards on the roster, Hollinger should be able to focus on this role. He was something like 1 of 21 coming into the game, but he made 2 or 3 from behind the arc. If we can keep JaMychael Green on the floor and out of foul trouble, this will create some inside-out open looks that we will need someone like Hollinger to be able to make.
It wasn't all nice and pretty. As usual, there were some little things that bothered me. I've already mentioned the substitution patterns. UTC used their last timeout with about 8 minutes left. I would have pressed and ran them to death at that point. Also, #34 for UTC, who was a big man but had a nice shot, played much of the second half with 4 fouls. We never really went after him on offense to try to get him fouled out. We played good defense for the most part, but we gave up a couple of easy dunks because we either didn't get back on defense after a made basket or we failed to properly rotate in the zone. We also failed to get a hand up in the face of their shooters a couple of times. We did do a much better job of taking care of the basketball, I think we only had one or two unforced turnovers. Free throw shooting continues to be a big problem.
It is rare that I have any inside information, and it is even more rare that I would post such here on the blog. I'm only posting this because I don't see what it could hurt, and it's not a very well kept secret anyway. I have confirmed, from what I consider to be a fairly reliable source, that the reason Ron Steele did not start the last game was because he challenged Coach Gottfried in practice. Apparently it was an in-your-face, a lot of yelling, other players stepping in between type of confrontation. My first reaction was that this is a sign that Gottfried may have lost the team, and while that still may be the case, this may also be the type of incident that brings the team together. The players actually feel like they can improve over the next few games and win the west, and as bad as the SEC is this year, that's not out of the question. If we had better coaching, I think we would be prohibitive favorites to win the West and would challenge for the overall SEC.
There was another gathering of about 1,500 for this game. There has been some controversy about the attendance, or lack thereof, this season. On the one hand I have heard from a number people that they will not show up until we get a new coach. Their empty seat is a sort of boycott. On the other hand, some say we should continue to show up to support our players, if not our coach. I've been to every game so far this season, so you all know which camp I fall into. That being said, there has been some bad basketball played at times in Coleman, and I don't blame anyone who has stayed away.
This is a controversy that I have a lot of familiarity with. In addition to being an Alabama basketball/football fan, I'm also a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. As those of you who watch MLB know (because apparently there is an FCC rule mandating that it be mentioned at least 3 times per inning of every national broadcast) my Cubs have not won the World Series in 100 years. Things have been a little better recently with some regular season success, but for years one of the hot topics on Chicago sports radio and message boards is whether the fans should continue to show up for the games. Despite often having one of the worst records in baseball, we would consistently lead in attendance.
A vocal group of fans claimed that those of us who went to the games obviously didn't care about winning. By continuing to show up, we gave management no incentive to improve the team. On the other hand, those who flock to Wrigley claimed the team would be even worse, as providing management with the resources ($$ through ticket purchases) at least gave us a CHANCE to be competitive, if we could only get them to spend it more wisely. I always made it to a couple of games per year no matter how bad we were, simply because I enjoy watching Cubs baseball, in whatever form, and I was not going to deprive myself of the fun of going to Wrigley to watch baseball.
Likewise, I enjoy watching college basketball, Alabama basketball in particular, and I will continue to make as many games as I can. When we turn it around, get a new coach, and start winning again, I believe it will be much more enjoyable for those of us who stuck with it during these lean times. Obviously, Coleman doesn't provide the beauty or party atmosphere that Wrigley does, so the attendance will drop off more during the down seasons.
Still, for those of you at home with a stack of tickets that you don't intend to use, please consider the following: Assuming that we don't make the tournament and Gottfried gets the axe, we will need to hire a new coach. If you've already bought tickets, it's not like you are withholding something from the administration. They've already got your money, and that's all they care about. But, when we interview prospective coaches and they are trying to decide whether or not to come here, don't you think it would be better if they see a respectable crowd at the games when they watch us on film or TV? Don't you think it will make it a little bit more easier for that coach to recruit, if he can tell prospects, "Those fans will get behind you, they drew 8,000 per game even in their down season?" If we want to be seen as a legitimate basketball program, we have to start acting like it. That includes the administration getting rid of a coach that's not getting the job done, but it also includes more than a couple of hundred showing up to watch our game, no matter the records or opponent.
Up next, Yale, Sunday night at 6pm. They aren't very good, but they run that motion offense that we have all kinds of trouble defending. I hope to see you there. Merry Christmas.
- defensive clamp down... Mocs shot only 39% from the field.
- Gee with another solid game (20/4/4)
- Knox also played well
- Only 7 turnovers
- 50% FT... on Coleman and Gee.
- Steele isn't shooting the ball well lately
I watched more of the Gators/Ga Southern game than this one. Florida tried to give that one away.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
They have a quick turnaround as they played on 12/20 and won on the road at Mississippi valley State. You all know you just don't go into Itta Bena and expect to win. Anyways, they probably travelled from there straight to Tuscaloosa for the game Monday.
Steven McDonald is the one we got to contain. He's their leading scorer and best shooter (3s and at the line). Nicchaeus Doaks averages a double-double (13.4/10.4) so we'll need one of our big men to block out... if they're not in foul trouble.
- .406 FG
- .340 3 PT FG
- .622 FT
- -3.8 rebound margin
- 19 turnovers a game
Prediction: Chattanooga is 1-7. While they played a pretty tough non-conference schedule so far, they did get blown out by Fairfield and East Tennessee State. As bad as we are I have to believe we'll somehow win this one although I wouldn't be surprised if they blew us out in the 2nd half. Anyways, Bama by 4.
SEC Rankings Week 2
1) Tennessee- despite a puzzling loss to Temple, they're still #1 'cause... no one else is close to them in the conference.
2) South Carolina- No impressive wins, but 8-1 is far better than they would've been last year.
3) Arkansas- They get tested next week. They recovered well since losing at Missouri State.
4) Florida- Impressive win over UCF. The last 2 years Florida has really played a cupcake non-conference schedule.
5) LSU- failed their first test (at Texas A&M).
6) Kentucky- been on quite a roll after another miserable start.
7) Mississippi- Their coach can beat up our coach.
8) Vanderbilt- they beat Bama A&M worse than we did.
9) Auburn- nice road win at Virginia.
10) Alabama- Big win over Tennessee (State). Nevermind.
11) Mississippi State- blown out by a mediocre Cincinnati squad.
12) UGA- Last second 3 gives them a dramatic win over Wofford. Wofford?
I predict there will be 4 SEC coaching changes at the end of this season. Depending on what happens to Andy Kennedy it could be 5.
SEC RPI (as of 12/16)
- Tennessee: 44
- Florida: 60
- Kentucky: 67
- Vanderbilt: 73
- Ole Miss: 76
- Auburn: 112
- South Carolina: 132
- LSU: 153
- Arkansas: 162
- UGA: 163
- Alabama: 176
- Mississippi St: 206
At least we're no longer last... although this didn't factor in that huge win over Tennessee State.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I remember the final years of the Hobbs regime. Apathy was rampant, but never did I see crowds as small as the ones this season under Gottfried. Most season ticket holders have decided it's not worth the gas to see crappy basketball. A simple change would bring some of them back this year. If you don't want to do this, maybe you should move our home games to a more quaint environment... like the Rec Center. That way 700 fans looks like a lot of folks care. I would've suggested the basketball courts behind Paty Hall, but I'm not sure if they're still there.
I travelled to Hawaii to watch us play Oregon. Truth be told it was an excuse to go to Hawaii again, but I was interested in potentially playing North Carolina on 11/25. While I thought there was a chance we'd lose to Oregon, never did I think we'd get dismantled the way we did in the 2nd half. I did not attend another game. I decided I'd rather sit on the beach than to watch any more of that crap we're calling basketball. That game was when I threw in the towel for this season. I was late... as many already threw the towel in after an embarrassing home opening loss to Mercer. In both games, coaching was the reason we lost.
The longer the athletic department allows CMG to coach this season, the harder it's going to be for the next HC to turn this ship around. We are out to sea in a rowboat with no oars. We're drifting aimlessly right now.
They say players take the attitude of their coach. Take a good look at our current roster and tell me this isn't true. Heck, I'll be even more direct... take a look at Alonzo Gee. He was phenomenal his freshman year... played defense, took the ball to the basket, had a decent mid range jumper and the most important part... he busted his ass. Look at him now... he's not the same player.
In conclusion, if the athletic department give a half of crap about the basketball program they need to act now. You might get better effort from the players and I'm damn sure you'll see more than 700 fans at a home game.
The tag line of this blog was meant to be a joke. Now "Dude, we play basketball?" defines our program. I'd really like the tag line to be a sarcastic joke again.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
As Bobbyjack mentioned, Ron Steele did not start. I thought he must have been hurt, but he was the first off the bench and played a lot. I have no idea why he did not start, but if it was due to a "disagreement with the head coach" as Bobby mentioned, then I would bet money that Ron Steele was on the right side of that argument.
At any rate, Hollinger got the start at point guard. I like Hollinger, and he did a decent job, but we've been through this before. Gottfried said himself that Hollinger is more of a 2 guard. Torrance or Brock would have been better options at point, if he was hell bent on not starting Ron.
Ron came off the bench and played good, but inconsistent. He looked for his own shot a little more in the first half, and made some big ones. He also showed great hustle and made a couple of good saves. At times he looked like the Ron Steele who carried us into the tournament his sophomore season. At other times, he seemed to press things and made some bad decisions.
JaMychael Green is great offensively when he is on the floor. The problem is, he continues to committ stupid fouls. He plays defense with his hands instead of his feet, and has a bad habit of grabbing his opponent's jerseys. These are freshmen mistakes that should be fairly easily corrected with a little coaching. He's also had a lot of problems with injuries. I think the trainer has had to give him medications or work on him at some point during every game. Last night, he had to go to he locker room at one point with back spasms.
Justin Knox also found himself in foul trouble, but this openned the door for Yamene Coleman. He played great defense, and was fundamentally sound on both ends of the floor. Ya got himself a double-double, with 14 points and 14 boards. Yamene is a good post player, he's always in position to make plays, but sometimes he has trouble catching and holding onto the ball. His hands did not betray him last night. We will need him to continue to play well, especially if Green continues to get into foul trouble.
We gained a 17 point lead in the first half, and while the game was never seriously in doubt, we do not have that killer instinct to put the game away. Defensively, we gave up way too many open shots. We were outscored in the second half. Even though the game was over, it would have been nice to finish strong. Instead, TSU continued to press and play hard, while we commited 3 or 4 turnovers in the final minute and looked mostly disinterested.
Free throw shooting continues to be atrocious. Gee even shot an air ball from the charity stripe. Otherwise, Alonzo played a good game. He shot the ball well, but more importantly, we actually put him in some good situations to attack the basket. He has a quick first step that we do not take advantage of enough.
A crowd of about 800 showed up, slightly larger than the crowd for the Louisiana-Lafayette game. At one point in the first half, Tony Giles announced on the PA, "If you see a better seat, come on down! Feel free to sit as close to the court as you like, but please be respectful if someone with a ticket for that seat shows up." On the one hand, I like this, may as well get the few people we have closer to the court. On the other hand, when a bunch of annoying little brats whose parents fail to make them mind come down and crash my row, it's not so good.
A couple of nonbasketball related rants...
To the parents of the obnoxious kids sitting around me, I know those little darlings are the center of your universe, but the rest of us don't think they are all that adorable. In fact, in our eyes, they are just another annoying brat. Don't bother athletic department employees, who are there working, to ask them to get the camera man to put your kids on the jumbotron. It's rude, that's not their job, and they aren't going to do it. They were a lot more polite with you than I would have been. Besides, they had already been on the damned thing 3 times. My right ear drum is still throbbing from the hysteria that ensued, right by my ear. Also, even when a player is on the bench, he is supposed to be closely watching the game to look for things he can take advantage of if/when he gets into the game. He should be discussing things with his coaches and teammates. Do not scream his name dozens of times (while the ball is in play, mind you) in an attempt to get him to turn around and pose for a picture that your kid is wanting to take. Not only is it annoying to your neighbors, but more importantly it is likely distracting to that player.
Change of subject, but Birmingham drivers cannot drive in the rain. On an average day, you know where the traffic problems will be at rush hour, 280 south, I65 south, and a little bit around the junction. When it rains, the whole city becomes a major cluster-you-know-what. It normally takes me 45 minutes to an hour to get from the Southside to campus. Yesterday it took me nearly an hour and a half.
If any of you were thinking about Andy Kennedy as a possible replacement, you can scratch him off your list. He may get fired from old piss today. Apparently, he was arrested for assault in Cincinatti. Reports are that he got into a fight with an arabic cab drive and called him a sand n_____. Of course, this probably just makes him more popular with the old piss fan base.
Up next, the Chattanooga Mocs come to town for a 6pm tip off Monday night. This game kind of scares me. They've only won one game, but they've played a pretty tough schedule, losing to Memphis by 12, Davidson by 5, and being blown out by USC.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I was told Ronald Steele didn't start tonight, due to a difference of opinion with the HC. I know nothing about this so I can't elaborate.
Gee led the way with 23 points with Yamene adding 14. Ronald Steele came off the bench to add 13.
Maybe someone will teach our big men that foul trouble is not your friend... unless they wanted some time off the court. Green should not have started out of the gate... it sent a bad message to the rest of the team. He needs to learn how to not foul... or at least not get silly ones.
Anyways, here's the box score for you to enjoy.
I hear there was a gathering at the game... between ths game and the one at Auburn tonight I believe the 2 name schools in the state drew a total of 1000 fans.
Eurocup star Erwin Dudley nearly made the NBA, came back from a career-threatening injury and played alongside Gerald Wallace (Charlotte Bobcats) and Mo Williams (Cleveland Cavaliers) at university but what intrigued me most and had Martin Henlan jumping up and down with excitement in the Eurosport 2 commentary box on Tuesday was the information on the official Eurocup website listing "United Kingdom" as the centre's country.
The listing got me dreaming of additional front court depth for Team GB to help in their tough group in Poland next year and so hidden amongst my questions to the former University of Alabama player I asked him about the story behind the listing.
"I have no idea," he began.
"Damn." I thought, I was gutted - any team could use a player who averaged 14 or more points per game in his final three years at such a prestigious Division 1 university.
"I was born and raised in Uniontown, Alabama," he continued, "I have only been to the UK one time so it was a mistake on their part."
Read the rest here
Monday, December 15, 2008
1. Mark Few, Gonzaga: One of the elite coaches in the nation. Turned a tiny, unknown college into a national powerhouse. It's extremely unlikely that he will leave. If he wanted to leave Gonzaga, he's had ample opportunities to do so, and for much better positions than what we have to offer. I think you make the call anyway and hope he's wanting a new challenge.
2. Tony Bennett, Washington State. Pullman, WA is the Starkville, MS of the PAC 10. If you can recruit and win there, you can do so anywhere. He's had back to back 26 win seasons there and is the first coach in school history to take the Cougs to the NCAA tournament 2 years in a row. He has no ties to the south, as he played at Wisconsin-Green Bay, and was an assistant in Wisconsin before working as an assistant under his father at WASU. He's a good recruiter and his teams are known for good defense. The only negatives I can see is that we don't know if he could recruit the south, but like I said, if you can convince good players to come to Pullman, WA, you should be able to get them to Ttown. I would like to think we are a step up from Washington State and the PAC 10, but he may want to stay there to continue his father's legacy. Also, we may have some competition for him if there are better opennings at the end of the season.
3. Sean Miller, Xavier. He's 93-39 in 4 seasons with Xavier, and they have the 2nd best record in the nation in March since he took over. He is signed through 2018, so I imagine his buyout from Xavier could present a problem, although I don't know all the terms of his contract. Xavier has very nice, albeit smaller facilities, and they are certainly more committed to basketball there. He may not want to leave that to come to a football school. He would certainly get more exposure at an SEC school than he has from winning the Atlantic 10 two years in a row. I rated him 3rd simply because he's been in the Atlantic 10 whereas Tony Bennett has been in the slightly better PAC 10, but really I consider both of these tied as my top realistic choice.
I would hope we would do everything in our power to hire one of the above. I consider the 3 names above to be "homerun" type hires. Anyone from the list below, I consider to be a big gamble.
4. John Beilein, Michigan. He has a lot of experience as a head coach, and has been successful everywhere he has been. Taking Canisius and Richmond to the tournament, and West Virginia to a final four. His half-court motion offense is fun to watch. It's very guard oriented and his teams run a lot of back door cuts and shoot a lot of 3's. He went 10-22 in his first year at Michigan, but has them off to a very good start this year. It will be interesting to see if the new 3 point line effects them over the course of this season. This would not be a gamble as I stated above, but I don't think it is a very realistic option either. Coming from Michigan to Alabama would be a lateral move, at best. If anything, we are probably a step down.
5. Anthony Grant, VCU. He's 52-14 in 2 seasons at VCU including an upset of Duke in the NCAA tournament, he is from Florida, and was an assistant under Billy Donovan. Foley was going to hire him for the Florida job when it appeared Donovan would leave for the Orlando Magic. Hiring an African American coach would be a historic moment and create good press for the University. His familiarity with the SEC from his days as a Gator would also help in recruiting. Still, there is a big difference in coaching at VCU and coaching in the SEC.
6. Mike Anderson, Missouri. He's a Nolan Richardson prodigy, 40 minutes of hell, a lot of pressing defense and running on offense. Very entertaining basketball if not always fundamentally sound. He turned UAB around, taking them to the tournament 3 straight years, but he hasn't exactly set the world on fire at Mizzou, going 16-16 last year, and failing to take them to the tournament in his first two seasons there. Perhaps he just needs some time to get the right players for his unique system, or perhaps he isn't quite ready to compete in a big time conference. I'm not sure he would leave Mizzou to come to Alabama anyway, but if we can't land any of the names above, I would give him a shot. Even if our record doesn't improve, at least we would be entertained.
7. Mike Davis, UAB. He took over for Bobby Knight at Indiana and got a raw deal, in my opinion. It's difficult to follow a legend, and everything he did was compared to Bobby Knight. His race did not help him up there either. Indiana is the Mississippi of the midwest, and one of the most racist states in the Union. He did a decent job there despite that environment, taking the Hoosiers to the National Championship game in his second year. (Something the general had not accomplished in quite some time). He's 43-30 at UAB, and won 23 games there last year. He's an Alabama graduate, and is from Fayette. I attended his basketball camp as a kid, and I really like him as a coach and a person. He's not the charismatic salesman Gottfried is, and his brand of basketball is not particularly exciting to watch, so he wouldn't be the best choice from a marketing standpoint. He will emphasize defense and his teams will play hard every night. As much as I like him, I would rather we go outside the family and get some fresh blood in here for this hire.
8. Tubby Smith, Minnesota. Kentucky fans will say I am crazy, but he did win a National Championship his first year there. He made the NCAA tournament every year from 1993-2007 with Tulsa, Georgia, and Kentucky. He has a 416-159 career record. He isn't the up and coming coach as some of the others on the list, but more a proven veteran. Some may question if his best days are now behind him. He is familiar with the SEC, having coached at Georgia and Kentucky, but his recruiting was inexcusably bad his last few years at Kentucky. His teams play great defense and never get blown out, which would be a refreshing change, but his offense can be as painful to watch as what we are currently seeing.
9. T.R. Dunn, Houston Rockets. He's was a good defensive assistant coach here, and he's spent a lot of time in the NBA as an assistant coach. He's another former UA player, but as I mentioned regarding Mike Davis, I would rather look outside the "family." His NBA connections would likely be attractive to recruits, and you would assume we would have a great defense, but his lack of head coaching experience concerns me. Also, he's been in the NBA a long time, and the NBA game is hardly even the same sport as the college game.
10. Ricky Byrd, Belmont. If you can't beat them, join them. He runs a motion offense and shoots a lot of 3's. They beat us with a pretty good team and should have upset Duke in the NCAA tournament last year. Again, coaching at Belmont is a long way from the SEC. He may be a great coach, but I think he needs to take another step up before being considered a serious candidate for an SEC type job.
11. Bob McKillop, Davidson. Yes, he took tiny Davidson to the Elite 8, but that had as much to do with Stephen Curry as anything. He's been there since 1989 with a 340-225 record. I think he's a lifer at Davidson.
12. Gregg Marshall, Wichita State. He was somewhat of a hot commodity after having a decent run at Winthrop a few years back. His teams regularly compete for the conference championship, and could pull off a few upsets, especially when they had good shooters. He made the tournament 7 out of 9 seasons at Winthrop, but was only 11-20 last year in his first season at Wichita. In watching some of his teams play, they make some questionable decisions late in games, so I'm not sure how much of an improvement this would really be. He may have a few screws loose, he once accepted a job at College of Charleston then changed his mind and returned to Winthrop after the press conference announcing him as coach.
I'm sure as the season goes along, there will be some mid-major coaches who make a name for themselves and could be added to the list. It seems like I am forgetting about a couple of people, so feel free to throw your own ideas out there in the comments section.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The aggies made some adjustments, got momementum, Gottfried was called for a technical, and the lead was gone by halftime. I don't spend much time defending Gottfried these days, but the technical foul call was B.S. I sit right behind the bench, and could not hear what he said, so it obviously was not very loud. He was not outside of the coach's box, and he had a legitimate gripe. Texas A&M got away with about 5 moving screens in the first half. They finally called it a time or two in the second half, and they stopped doing it.
Foul trouble hurt us in the second half. Green was great when he was in the game, but he only played 19 minutes due to foul trouble. If the fouls were the result of aggressive defense I could live with it, but they were mostly stupid fouls. His fourth foul, for example, occurred when his man set a screen 20 feet from the basket, and Green inexplicably grabbed his jersey.
We did a much better job of taking care of the basketball in the second half, and we were able to force some turnovers and get some baskets in transition to retake the lead. A&M played an agressive man to man in the second half, overplaying the passing lanes, and not once did we run anything to try to go back door. As usual, the high post offense was a disaster, because the only big man we have with good hands was on the bench with foul trouble. Nevertheless, Knox was able to get some second chance opportunities and Hillman made some incredible shots over the Aggie defenders.
We don't seem to know how to win a close game. Our free throw shooting woes continue. Hillman, who made some incredible shots from the field, missed 2 late in the game. We are one of the worst teams in the country when it comes to managing a close game in the final minutes. This was almost as bad as the game at South Carolina last year. We don't do any offense/defense substitutions. Down 5, the Aggies put in a goofy looking white guy who hadn't received any significant minutes the entire game. It was obvious he was in there to shoot a 3, and we leave him wide open, so now it's a 2 point game. We then put Torrance in the game, after he's sat on the bench all day, and expect him to make 2 free throws. First of all, Torrance should have played more, especially when Ron was hurting in the second half. Secondly, Ron Steele is one of the best free throw shooters in the country, you have to get him the ball in that situation. At any rate, Torrance only makes one, and the Aggies get the rebound trailing by 3 with less than 15 seconds remaining. In that situation, everyone knows a quick 2 does them no good. There was absolutely no reason for any of our defenders to even set foot inside the 3 point line on defense. I can understand not fouling, because they may throw up a shot and get the continuation call and 3 shots, but you have to defend the perimeter in that situation. They scored on a simple drive and dish play. There is no reason anyone should have left the perimeter when their guard drove inside. So, the Aggies made their second straight wide-open 3 in the last 30 seconds of the game to force overtime.
We still had a second or two to try to win the game, but we ran the same last second play we've been running for 4 years now. It worked once, maybe twice. At this point, all of our opponents have seen that play on film. It consists of Jemison inbounding the ball, faking the pass to a flashing Ron Steele at half court, throwing over his head to Justin Knox, who can either catch and shoot or tip the ball to Gee on the wing. There wasn't a soul in the gym who didn't know what was coming there, but the ball was overthrown anyway.
Ron Steele appeared to be cramping up late in the game, and he made some uncharacteristic bad decisions both in transition and in the half court. He forced a couple of 3's in overtime that were way off. Earlier in the game, I felt he was looking too much to create shots for his teammates when everyone except Senario was cold. I would like to see Ron look to create a few more shots for himself. At the end of overtime when we desperately needed 3's, I would have had Hollinger in the game along with Steele, Hillman, and Gee. Instead, we left a couple of big men in on offense, making it even easier for them to defend the perimeter. We never really had a chance in OT after blowing the lead at the end of regulation.
Up next, Tennessee State, Wednesday night at 7pm.
We lost another game we could have and should have won for the same reasons we have lost so many others before. Rather than write the same thing I have been forced to type so many times by our team's play in recent years, I think I'll just recycle some ghosts from the past.
Last year at this time I urged our fan base not to call for your firing because you were going to be our coach for the following year. I have abandoned that approach for this season. Instead, here is what I posted almost two years ago. That old post complains about effort. Our players showed good effort last night, but once they got past the first five minutes of the game it was fairly obvious they frequently did not know what to do on either end of the court. The other old posts linked below reference some of our program's persistent problems under your tutelage.
Here's the first one:
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
An Open Letter To Coach Gottfried
Dear Coach Gottfried:
I have long been one of your most faithful and devoted fans. All Alabama Basketball fans (what few of us there are) are truly grateful for everything you have done with and for our young people and our program.
You restored the atmosphere and tradition of winning that we enjoyed in the seventies and eighties. (I'm too young to remember any farther back than that.) You pushed to have all our basketball facilities improved, especially Coleman Coliseum. You have recruited student athletes who represent our university with dignity and character, both on and off the court. You have insisted that our players earn degrees that will be valuable to them in their adult lives. Perhaps most importantly, you have served as an able and capable role model to these young men during their remaining formative years spent away from their homes and their families.
Bama Basketball's ambassadors on the court, in the classroom, in professional sports and in "civilian" life have enhanced our university's image and enriched our communities where ever they have gone. You deserve the credit for all that, and we thank you.
According to an old adage, success breeds success. Apparently success tends to breed expectations too, because the devoted fans of our program have come to expect certain results. Not all of those expectations involve winning.
A fan base that appreciates all you've done for our University and for the young men entrusted to your care would not want success at any price. Your program's small but knowledgeable fan base does not want to sell your players' health or any one's integrity just to win basketball games. Therefore we appreciate and respect all the more the way you have achieved these levels of success with our program.
The bulk of the fan base has, however, noticed one fairly consistent problem with our team, particularly this season. We do not think it unreasonable for us to expect to see consistent effort whenever a player is on the court.
I am not talking about final results or wins. We understand that this team is not a likely Final Four candidate while Ron Steele is hampered by injuries and Jermareo Davidson remains understandably emotionally distraught because of all he's suffered this school year. What we do not understand is why you will let young men stay on the court when they obviously are not playing with the type of effort you, they, and we all know they are capable of giving.
I do not say this to be demeaning or insulting. It simply is an observable fact. Joe Dean, Jr., long has been one of your most devoted admirers and he has been forced to comment in recent weeks that your teams' defensive effort has left a good deal to be desired in most of our SEC games. Like you, Joe is too much of a gentleman to single out particular players or to blame the coach for allowing that to happen. But it is fairly obvious from the stands when a player is not working hard, especially on defense. And we all know where the Bama Basketball buck stops.
I respectfully suggest that you are not serving any one's interests by allowing this to happen. The offending players will learn that they can get by in life without really trying; whereas you and I know life really is difficult at best. Their teammates will learn that you will play your favorites and still lose the game, so there is no reason for them to care enough to work hard every day.
Unfortunately many people who buy basketball tickets are fair weather fans. They will show up only when our team is winning. Many of the season ticket holders will show up only when the game is not on television and the weather is not inclement. Only time and consistent winning bear even a remote possibility of curing those problems. (Those and perhaps the proposal that our program endorse some mechanism whereby people who don't want to come to the games can donate their tickets to worthy charities.)
Those of us who understand basketball also understand that losing is a part of the game. In fact, its one of the things that makes college basketball the most exciting spectator sport known to man. What we do not expect, however, is lazy play and a lack of effort from our players.
I drive up from Mobile for almost every home game. That makes Thursdays very difficult for me, but I am glad to do it to support the players and the program I learned to love before you even knew we existed. Let me qualify that. I am glad to do it so long as I can tell that the players on the court are putting at least as much effort and energy into playing the game as I put into attending it.
Please do not do our players the disservice of allowing them to believe that they can coast through life - or a basketball game - without giving everything they have. You never played that way. You don't live your life that way. Please teach them what has worked so well for you and your family. Please insist that our kids play hard or sit on the bench. Lots of your players seldom get off the bench. They might not play well but they probably will play hard, if you give them the chance.
I will be in the stands Wednesday night making as much noise as I can in support of our team.
Posted by Alias at 11:32 AM
(Link to above post:Here)
My college friends and I are reuniting for the Kentucky game; not because we expect it to be a good game but because it used to be a good excuse for us to get together. If Bama does not play any better in the first half than I have seen this year, we will walk across Bryant Drive to the Sheraton where we will watch a video of a well coached team: I recorded last night's UMS-Wright victory in the State 4A football championship game. Rather than waste time and money driving to and from any other Bama Basketball games this year, I recommend you recycle my posts from the past two seasons. I am confident they will apply to what you can expect to see on the court this year. Here are a few examples.
Where Do We Go From Here?
If Our Team Were A Political Campaign This Would Be Their Button
Additional Attention After Auburn
DJC, you plagiarizing SOB! ;-)
The (Second) Sixty Four Thousand Dollar Question
Are any of you Bob Dylan fans?
I Support The Troops But Not The Mission
Why Bother? Tough Love!
I now quote what I posted at the end of last season, where I quoted Robbie Robertson at the end of the final encore of The Band's final concert, "Good night. Goodbye."
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I'm a big Torrance fan, but you don't put him in the game FOR THE FIRST TIME with under a minute to go thinking he'll sink FTs if fouled. He did hit the front end to give us a 3 point lead.
A&M possession... HOW IN THE HOLY HELL do you NOT FOUL and allow them to shoot a 3? Well folks, that's what happenned and we went to OT. I knew the ending to this story.
- shut down Josh Carter late in the 2nd half. He was killing us early.
- only turned the ball over 8 times
- last minute coaching
- Outrebounded late in the 2nd half and in OT bad.
- FT shooting was pathetic... especially late in the 2nd half and OT.
- Green has got to learn about tick tac fouls away from the basket. Losing him killed us.
I have to question why certain players are logging serious minutes while other productive players from last season get a cup of coffee on the court. My frustration with the coaching staff is well documented... and if I type what I really feel we might have to make this a rated R board.
We should've won this game... going away.
Listening to CMG's post game... it's the same old excuses long time basketball fans have heard. If anyone buys what he's saying I got some swampland in Nebraska to sell you.
Friday, December 12, 2008
For kicks, here's their press release about this monumental matchup.
They're 6-1, but not all that impressive. They nipped a mediocre Arizona team in their last game, but other than that.... eh. They did lose to Tulsa in South Padre Island who looked to be a decent squad until losing at Ohio and getting crushed by Oklahoma.
I admit, outside of a couple of minutes against Tulsa I haven't seen much of A&M this year... and the short time that I did I was getting my body adjusted back to east coast time from Hawaii so my attention span wasn't up to snuff. I saw good interior defense, but they were slow covering the perimeter and had an even harder time scoring than us (I know that sounds unbelievable, but it's true).
- 44% FG
- 36% 3PT FG
- 68% FT
- +5.4 rebound margin
- roughly 6 steals per game
Prediction: We need to shut down Josh Carter... do that and we should win. Don't and we might be get an Oregon type smackdown. If A&M continues to leave guys open beyond the arc we could give them an Oregon type beat down... if we take advantage of it. I look for Ronald Steele to go off. Maybe we'll have a Torrance sighting as he seems to be the only guard we got that can actually drive it to the basket past defenders and NOT BOUNCE IT OFF HIS FOOT! We complete the A&M sweep... Bama in an ugly 60-56 win for 5 in a row. I'll take it and smile.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Ole Miss- 46
South Carolina- 129
Mississippi St- 142
Read the entire list here. you gotta hit the dropdown for RPI to see it.
232... I knew it was gonna suck, but 232? For reference our losses are to Mercer (114) and Oregon (92). Our wins over Bama A&M (307), St Joe's (115), Florida A&M (290), and LA-Lafayette (309) are dragging us down.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
1) Tennessee- obviously the class of the conference... and our only hope in the postseason. Next game- 12/13 at Temple
2) LSU- undefeated only because they've played cupcakes. Next game- 12/13 vs Grambling.
3) South Carolina- a 2 point loss at College of Charleston isn't as bad as I initially thought. They bounced back by drubbing Princeton. Next game- 12/17 vs Coastal Carolina.
4) Florida- lost a close one at FSU, but so far I think they're disappointing. Next game- 12/10 vs Florida Gulf Coast (didn't know that was a real school).
5) Arkansas- cupcake schedule so far, but it'll toughen up around New Years. Losing to Missouri St was a headscratcher. Next up- 12/10 vs North Carolina Central.
6) Mississippi State- struggled with Bama State... won the games they should've and lost the ones they should've. Next up- 12/10 vs Charlotte.
7) Ole Miss- close home loss to West Va, but overall IMO better than I thought they'd be. Next game- 12/13 at New Mexico.
8) Alabama- I'd put us lower, but the teams below are even worse than us. At least we've won 4 in a row. Next up- 12/13 vs Texas A&M.
9) Kentucky- again with the slow start? Even though Miami is supposed to be a decent team, there's no way they should go into Rupp and win. Next up- 12/13 vs Indiana.
10) Auburn- worst record in the conference, but they were competitive against Xavier. Next game- 12/17 vs Tuskegee.
11) Vanderbilt- getting pummelled at home by UIC last week? Not good. Next game- 12/10 vs Alabama A&M.
12) Georgia- got throttled at Illinois and generally unimpressive even in victory. I suspect they'll be occupying the bottom third of this weekly list all year long. Next up- 12/9 vs Virginia Tech.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Earlier in the season I said that we were shooting too many 3's. Tonight, I don't think we shot enough. Of course, we were not shooting the ball very well, but we attempted very few jump shots. La-La was collapsing and double-teaming in the post, and we could have used some outside shots to open things up. On the positive side, we were able to get to the foul line and make our free throws.
The assist to turnover ratio was not very good. Part of this is due to Ron Steele going to the bench with 2 quick fouls in the first half. Brock did an adequate job running the point when Ron was on the bench.
Andrew Steele got a fair amount of playing time and played great defense. When Gottfried first put him in, he told him, "I don't want #23 to score," and I don't think he did when Andrew was guarding him.
We improved in a lot of areas from our last couple of games. We actually did a good job of moving the ball and penetrating the zone. We finally out rebounded somebody, but it helped that we were able to foul out their big guy with almost 10 minutes remaining. Our man to man defense was smothering, and our transition defense was excellent. We still have a long way to go as far as taking care of the ball and putting points on the board is concerned, but if we can bring that defense every night we should at least be competitive against anyone on our schedule.
This may have been the smallest crowd I've ever seen at Coleman. Obviously, there are a number of reasons for this. Noon on a Sunday after the football team was in the Championship game last night was probably too early for a lot of people coming back from the game. The bible thumpers, a significant portion of our fan base, did not have time to make it after church. Still, I would have expected more than the 300 or so people who showed up. There were at least 3 sections that were ENTIRELY empty. There was a grand total of 5 people in the Mark's Madness section. Section S, where the band is located, consisted of the band and 3 other people. I don't imagine it would have been much worse if we had played last night as originally planned.
Up next, final exams for the players this week before the Texas A&M aggies come to town Saturday night. Good luck to all of our players on their exams.
In front of a capacity crowd, Alonzo Gee had probably his best game of the season putting up 18 points and most importantly not forcing his shots. Hillman also added 18 with Ronald Steele scoring 14.
It was a sluggish 1st half, but someone must've been inspired by CNS's insistence on finishing as the team took control in the last 10 minutes and coasted to victory.
I'm still dismayed by our overall shooting (under 40%, 29% beyond the arc), but it's good to see the guys not have to struggle for 40 minutes with an inferior opponent. Now we have a week to rest up before Texas A&M comes to town.
A quick blurb on the SECCG last night... UF had more playmakers and they were the better team, but I'm beyond excited to see where the football program is ascending to. For those that are disappointed we might get "stuck" with Utah in the Sugar bowl, how many of you thought we'd be in the running for a BCS bowl when the season started? I'd rather play Utah than the SEC's female dog Ohio State.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Stats pack here.
After losing their 1st three, LA-Lafayette (AKA- Louisiana) has come on to win 2 in a row... including an exciting OT home win over the mighty Oral Roberts. One of their 3 losses came on the road at Utah Valley by 30 points. We all know how hard it is to escape the Mckay Center with a victory (actually they're undefeated at home, but still... losing by 30 points).
Enough of that... you want some stats:
- 41.6% FG
- 32.3% 3PT FG
- -5.6 rebound margin
- 67.7% FT
- 13.8 turnovers per game
They have 4 guys in double figures in scoring with Travis Bureau and Tyren Johnson leading the way. Bureau jacks up most of their 3s to a 46% clip so we need to watch him from beyond the arc. He's also tall (6'7") so I think he'll go off on us unless we put Gee on him. Johnson is their leading rebounder.
Prediction: Bama by 6. Torrance is the difference maker as we extend our winning streak to 4 in a row.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
We had more size, speed, and athletic ability, but managed to play poorly enough to allow the Bulldogs to keep it close. Our offense was horrible, especially against the zone. We committed a ton of unforced turnovers. Despite the low score, we really didn't play good defense either. AAMU missed a lot of open shots, including some key layups late in the game. We still can't make a free throw. In transition, we were sloppy with the ball, made poor decisions, and threw the ball away. I don't even know where to start regarding our half court offense. It was so bad, Senario Hillman even ran the point one possession. Well, by running point I mean he dribbled at the top of the key while everyone else stood around until the shot clock got down to about 10. Normally, that was Ron Steele's job.
What infuriated me the most was that we seemed to be just going through the motions at both ends of the court. Not once did a player or coach appear to get fired up. At some point, I would like to see someone step up and say, "Hey, we're struggling with AAMU damnit! Let's put this game away." A little extra hustle on both ends, force some turnovers, attack the basket, get a few dunks, and this game could have easily been a blowout, but we never stepped it up a notch. If we would have been playing an even halfway competent opponent tonight, we get killed.
The issue of fatigue from the Hawaii trip was brought up in the post game press conference. Coach Gottfried said, "I'm not going to make excuses," but then proceeded to do just that by adding, "it is a tough trip, it's physically tiring and it's tough on the body..." Bullshit. That shouldn't have ever been brought up. The last game out there was last Wednesday, almost a week ago. They've been home since Thursday, Friday at the latest. I had an overnight flight Thursday night from the same place, and I didn't even have a nice chartered plane to sleep on, and from an energy standpoint I could have played tonight with no problem. Yes, it's tiring and it takes 2-3 days MAX to get back on track, but there is no way that was an issue tonight. I flew back, went to the Iron Bowl, rested up Sunday, and was perfectly fine by the time I went to work Monday morning. These guys are 10 years younger than I am. I'm surprised Gottfried didn't use the "AAMU is a good team, they are picked to win the SWAC this year," excuse. I'm tired of hearing him pull excuses out of his ass after every piss poor performance, which seems to happen every time we step on the court lately.
Once again, I am having a very difficult time finding one aspect of the game at which we performed at a positive level. I hate to be so pessimistic, but I've been to every game this year and I haven't seen anything to give me much hope for this season at this point. All of that being said, a win is a win, and I suppose at the end of the day, that's the bottom line.
Up next, the ragin cajuns from Louisiana Lafayette come in for a rescheduled game Sunday at noon. The game was originally scheduled for 6 pm, when the football team will be playing for the SEC championship, but the cajuns were kind enough to agree to move the game to Sunday. For some inexplicable reason, the men are playing noon and the ladies will play in the second half of the double-header. It would have made more sense to let the ladies play first, but I'm not sure it makes much of a difference. Honestly, I wished they would have just left it Saturday night, so I would have a good excuse not to go.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
I didn't think it was possible to suck and blow at the same time, but this basketball team seems to be a master at it. We might be the 8th best basketball team in the state.
It's the same old story... laziness in transition, lack of motion on offense, have a hard time blocking out for rebounds, and turnovers galore. Watching us play makes me want to puke... there's no passion on the court, from the bench, and that translates to no passion from the gathering in Coleman. I hope everyone that attended was comped for the game as no one should have to shell out money to see that.
At least we won... I guess. We're on a season high 3 game winning streak.
Anyways, the teams slated for next years tournament in Orlando are:
Alabama, Baylor, Creighton, Iona, Marquette, Michigan, Xavier, and an undetermined team.
Maybe we can steal Beilein from Michigan by next year. Unless Michigan buys their players they can't compete in the Little 11.
I guess I'll go to that tournament as well... it's in my old stomping grounds.
Monday, December 01, 2008
This should boost our RPI as Alabama A&M comes in at a robust 343.
- 36.8% FG
- 25.6% 3PT FG
- 67.3% FT
- +2.0 rebound margin
- .6 assist to turnover
I know nothing about them except for the fact that they aren't very good. They blew halftime leads in both of their losses. I suspect they won't be leading at halftime tomorrow.
Prediction: This is a scrimmage game... Bama by 15. I'd go higher, but every time I pick us to win by more than 20 we end up struggling to win.
EDIT- there's more people on the court than in the seats. Good times.
Watch it here for FREE!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Alabama- Mercer and Oregon
Arkansas- @ Missouri State
Auburn- Mercer (kings of the SEC?) and @ Dayton
Florida- Syracuse (probably not so bad, but were expected to win)
Georgia- Loyola, IL. When you have to add the location of the school you know it's a bad loss.
Mississippi St- Texas Tech
South Carolina- @ Charleston (probably not so bad being that the Cocks suck, but still)
Vanderbilt- Illinois (a middle of the road Little 11 team)
Tennessee lost to Gonzaga in the Old Spice Classic and LSU is undefeated (so far playing a ridiculous easy schedule).
At some point I'll post revised SEC predictions. There's a lot of crap to wade through in the conference.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Honolulu- it is Detroit with a beach. I spent one day there and while I enjoyed Wakiki Beach, most of it was too commercial.
Taken from the 24th floor of the Marriott Wakiki Beach hotel.
Kona/the Big Island: my favorite part fo the trip. It was peaceful, not commercial and relaxing. We did the volcano tour, saw the lava flow to the ocean, and then circled the island.
That's as close as we can get to the lava flow.
Maui: North Kaanapali is too touristy for me, but we still had fun. The tournament was more of an afterthought to tell you the truth. BTW- if you have just a tint of a fear of flying I don't suggest you fly one of the local airlines between islands. You can get great photos, but the flight is bumpy to say the least.
The Maui Invitational is a nice tournament that gets its recognition by its location. IMO they should play the tournament at U of Hawai'i inside of a real gym. The Lahaina Civic Center reminded me of my HS gym... with 4 goals rolled up and all. It's outdated and while I'm all for history and tradition, it's not the best place to play basketball.
If you never been to Hawaii I suggest you do so if you can. I wish I could've stayed.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
With the win, we place 5th in the tournament. Up next, Alabama A&M comes to Tuscaloosa next week. For more on the St. Joe's game, read Mitchell's post in the comments to the stats pack below. I'm off to go snorkeling. Aloha!
Jameer Nelson is not walking in that door, but they probably don't need him to beat us. After pasting Indiana yesterday they look to end this tournament on a successful note.
- 45% FG
- 33% 3PT FG
- 72% FT
- -3.5 rebound margin
- 8.5 steals
Prediction: Bama by 7. I figure we'll somehow win this thing.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Up next, we play St. Joseph's and their arm-flapping mascot at 6:30 pm local time tomorrow (10:30 pm back in Bama) for the prestigious title of 5th place. I'm off to the beach.
To be honest I watched the last 3 minutes of the game. The beach was calling my name. It will be calling my name tomorrow too when we play St Joseph's.