Friday, October 09, 2009

Predictions for the 2009-2010 Alabama basketball season

I'm going with 17-13 and 6-10 in conference play. I see our lack of big men posing a huge issue. With Jemison out for the season, Coleman at Troy, and Kemp not qualified (and reopening his recruitment) we have 2 proven big men (Green and Knox) with Hines hopefully picking up some of the slack.

I don't see us winning on the road in conference... and I can see 2 home losses. I think this will be a learning year. Too bad as I'd really like to see Green and Torrance experience the postseason.

Montevallo W
Augusta St W
Cornell- W, but this will be a challenge.
Jackson St W
Providence L (We should be very evenly matched, but Keno has a year head start on Coach Grant, and they have more solid, experience PG coming back in Curry.)
Baylor W (They lose a lot from the team that made it to the NIT championship game. Some good young talent coming in though…another game that could go either way)
FSU/Iona W
11/29/09 TBA L (I’m thinking a loss to Xavier, Marquette or Michigan here)
North Florida W
La-Monroe W
Purdue L (I’d really like to pick this as a W, but I think we have problems with their size)
Samford W
Kansas St W (Another toss up game)
Mercer W
Tennessee St W
at Toledo W (I really don’t know much about them, but if it were CMG, I would consider this a loss just because it’s an away game. I’m hoping that situation has improved.)

So, now we are 11-3 going into SEC play.

at LSU W
Vanderbilt W
at Arkansas L
Tennessee W (This will be a notable upset, but I think we match up with them pretty good, especially at home)
Miss St L (They’ve bought themselves a good team and should win the west this year)
at Auburn L
Florida L
at Ole Miss L
at Kentucky L
Arkansas W
at Georgia W
at Miss St L
Ole Miss W
at South Carolina W
Auburn 12:30 W

9-7 in SEC play, but unfortunately I’m a lot more confident in the “L” predictions than the W’s. I tend to be a little optimistic when looking at the schedule on a game by game basis. That being said, I’ve got us at 20-10. I would be very happy with that…a win or two in Nashville would get us into the big dance.

Using voodoo and an offering of sacrifice, I have come up with 16-14, and going 7-9 in the SEC losing all 8 on the road and 1 at home. I have concerns about our size, and I have to stay reserved on our ability to play well in our conference road games. Until that changes, I will keep this stance.

MSmilie (he broke it down game by game)
Forgive me for breaking down each game; I'm a nerd. My overall prediction is 17-13 as well. There's too much uncertainty in the paint and the league as a whole promises to be much better.

Cornell - 1-0 - Not an easy opener. In fact, this could be a nailbiter for an Alabama team with a new coaching staff and system. This game worries me. Look out for Cornell players, Ryan Wittman and Birmingham's own, Louis Dale (I assume he's the reason this game was scheduled).

Jackson State - 2-0 - A SWAC team, even one projected to win the league, is still a SWAC team.

Providence - 3-0 - This could be a tough one. I've read several basketball publications that have Providence finishing near the bottom of the Big East, but I think they could surprise. Their backcourt is really good with Sharaud Curry and Marshon Brooks. Their frontcourt is a question mark coming into the season so both teams could be playing small ball. Green could prove to be the difference.

Baylor - 3-1 - I think Alabama will give Baylor a tough game (particularly if Baylor plays defense the way they have the last two years) but ultimately I think Baylor has too much talent for Alabama to overcome.

Iona - 4-1 - This is a projection based on what I think will happen in the other games. Iona isn't completely horrible and might hang around for a while, but Alabama should win.

Creighton - 4-2 - I respect the job Dana Altman has done with the Creighton program. That program is one of the top mid-majors on an annual basis. I think they will be the slightly better team if that's the way the bracket works out.

North Florida - 5-2 - Bama should roll.

Louisiana-Monroe - 6-2 - This isn't football.

Purdue - 6-3 - Purdue is light years ahead of Alabama right now in terms of experience and mental toughness. While I expect a sellout for this game and a good effort on Bama's part, Purdue is a certain top 10-20 team (I don't buy the Final Four talk for this team) that should have enough to get out of Tuscaloosa with the win.

Samford - 7-3 - Samford's style of play could be a problem, but I think Alabama will be okay.

Kansas State - 8-3 - This should be a great game as both teams have great athleticism and match up rather well, with K-State having the slight advantage. However, Grant is too good a coach and Alabama has enough talent to win one or two games they shouldn't.

Mercer - 9-3 - Mercer won in Tuscaloosa last year and could do it again. They should be one of the top teams in the Atlantic Sun, if not the top team. James Florence lit Alabama up the last two years and will probably do so again. However, I think Alabama pulls it out.

Tennessee State - 10-3 - Alabama should win easily.

@Toledo - 11-3 - The first true road game of the season. If Gottfried was still coaching this team, I wouldn't be sure about Alabama's chances. However, with Grant in charge, I hope to see Alabama become a better road team over time. Plus, from what I've read, Toledo could be downright horrible this year.

@LSU - 11-4 - 0-1 - I see LSU finishing last in the conference. However, at home, they probably squeeze by Bama. I don't think Bama's conference schedule this season is conducive to a good start.

Vanderbilt - 11-5 - 0-2 - Bama should hang tough, but Vandy is a much better team this season.

@Arkansas - 11-6 - 0-3 - I don't think Arkansas is going to be that improved this season. In fact, the heat may be turned up on Pelphrey by the end of the season. There seem to be some internal troubles there that need to be sorted out before Arkansas can improve. With that in mind, they probably beat Bama in Fayetteville.

Tennessee - 11-7 - 0-4 - Even with Negedu's medical condition, Tennessee is still the 2nd most talented team in the SEC (assuming that Renardo Sidney is not cleared to play at Mississippi State). This one could be ugly.

Mississippi State - 11-8 - 0-5 - Even if Sidney doesn't play for State, they are still the best team in the West by far.

LSU - 12-8 - 1-5 - If Alabama could win at home against last year's LSU squad, they should be able to produce a home victory this year.

@Auburn - 12-9 - 1-6 - I don't think Auburn will be NCAA-good, but I think they will be respectable (whether or not this saves Lebo's job is anyone's guess) and good enough to win a close one over Bama at home.

Florida - 13-9 - 2-6 - Big game. Grant vs Donovan. Florida will be vastly improved with Georgetown transfer Vernon Macklin providing the toughness inside that Florida has missed the last two years. And freshman Kenny Boynton may be the second best freshman in the league after John Wall. Coleman better be sold out. I wrote above that Bama would beat one or two teams they shouldn't, and I think this is one of them.

@Ole Miss - 13-10 - 2-7 - I think Ole Miss is an NCAA team if they can find some decent interior play. Their backcourt is sick. Terrico White, Chris Warren and Eniel Polynice are among the best guard tandems in the country . Could be a long night at the Pad.

@Kentucky - 13-11 - 2-8 - Ouch. Kentucky is a top five team this season. Alabama isn't.

Arkansas - 14-11 - 3-8 - Bama should win this one at home.

@Georgia - 15-11 - 4-8 - No way Alabama goes winless on the road with Grant in charge. I do think Georgia will be slightly better than that mess of a team from a year ago.

@Mississippi State - 15-12 - 4-9 - Might be one to forget.

Ole Miss - 16-12 - 5-9 - Bama wins a close one at home.

@South Carolina - 16-13 - 5-10 - I think Carolina is being overrated by the preseason publications. The East is too strong for this team to break through and reach the NCAA Tournament. However, at home, I'll give them the slight nod over Alabama.

Auburn - 17-13 - 6-10 - Alabama finishes the season by taking care of Auburn.

I think Alabama will finish no worse than fourth in the West and should be good for at least one win in the conference tournament. Hopefully their RPI (which should be strong based on their non-conference schedule and an improved SEC) is enough to net an NIT bid.

All I'm really looking for this year is how this team plays. Does it play with discipline, focus and toughness? Does it look like a program with a future? That is ultimately more important to me as a fan this season. If that translates into enough wins for a postseason bid, then all the better.

So... 2 of us have it at 17-13, 1 at 16-14, and the ever optimistic DJC has us at 20-10. I'm hoping DJC is closer to being right as it's been way too long since we sniffed the NCAA tournament.

I appreciate the input...


MSmilie said...

Nice to see everyone's predictions. I hope DJC is on the money.

Bobbyjack: You wrote that you hoped Green could experience the postseason. Do you think he's not coming back for a third year? I feel like he's good for at least one more year.

DJC said...

Just to be clear, my expectations are more in line with your predictions. I think 16-17 wins is probably about right, but for purposes of preseason predictions, I like to count all the toss up games as Ws. Nevertheless, I'm ready to tip this thing off!

bobbyjack said...

I can see Green having a monster statistical year which would put him in a good position as a 1st round draft pick. Like you, I'd like to get a 3rd year out of him, but after watching Steele come back after his sophomore I want what's best for the kid.

Heck... I'll go ahead and predict it... Green will finish in the top 3 for SEC POY.

MSmilie said...

Bobbyjack: I agree with you regarding the NBA; if JaMychal is ready to go and he can go in the 1st round, then by all means he should go.

I was only predicting a third year due to the fact I feel Green may need two more years of development. He's certainly going to be the number one or two option on the offensive end so a monster stat year is plausible.

bamabballer said...

Before Jemison's injury, I predicted 18-12 (8-8 in conference) with maybe a NIT invite. But now I see 17/16 wins and no NIT. To make matters worse, the Tide missed out on a much needed big time recruit.

MSmilie said...

bballer: Yes, I read about Cothron today. That was a shot to the gut. However, there's no guarantee that Sidney Lowe will be there next year so perhaps - perhaps - we haven't heard the last of Cothron.

One thing is certain: as fans, we need to hope that Grant has a line on Tarik Black from Memphis since he's the only "big man" (he's only 6'7 but 230 lbs) left that is considering Alabama at the moment. Well, at least the only one that is highly rated.

If I was the Alabama coaching staff, I'd be placing some calls to Shawn Kemp. If Green should have a season that presents him with the opportunity to explore the next level, Alabama would be left having to do some serious scrambling.

bamabballer said...

Well the good thing is that we don't have to hang our hat only on Black. We still have Jon Horford (Al Horford's little brother)that we have offered. We also have this big fella coming in for a visit on 11/6.