Saturday, January 15, 2011

Crimsons Come Close But Can't Close

Box score

After leading for the first 38 minutes of the game, Alabama fell by a score of 70-65 in Bud Walton Arena to regional arch-rival Arkansas.  Bama suffered a defensive lapse in the last 90 seconds of the first half that allowed the Hogs to more than cut the Bama lead in half.  Arkansas then produced a better second half offensive response to win the game at home.

Among the things I liked in this game were the way our kids played under control for almost the entire game, fought hard in a tough environment, and continued to respond to almost every Arkansas scoring run.  It also is refreshing to see Coach Grant switch defenses as the opposing team begins to find ways against the defense he has employed.  Coach Grant's instructive shouts to his team were heard over Chris Stewart's mic throughout the game. 

Arkansas had two advantages in the game.  The were able to hit a few three point shots to stretch the Bama defense and they went to the charity stripe more often than the Tide with more success.  After only 39 years of watching SEC basketball, I still cannot figure out what causes officials to make or not to make certain calls.  In fairness the bad calls probably evened out over the game, but there were 2 or 3 no calls down the stretch that might have put Bama at the free throw line and altered the end-game for both teams.

There are no moral victories, but the Tide is playing well together and each player seems to be understanding his role on the court.  If anyone had told me we would be 2-1 in league play at this point I would have been more than satisfied.

I'll see you all in Coleman Coliseum Tuesday night when the Cats come for their odd-year visit.  Let's hope we can hold serve on our own court.

Roll Tide!


bobbyjack said...

I'll say it... CAG seems to be confused about the use of TOs in close games. Dating back to last year this has been an issue. He needs to hire a TO coach to tell him when to call 'em in close games. You don't put the game on a freshman when you have timeouts in pockets.

Also, serious homecooking. We don't get the same at home.

Last thing... I get the xCMG feeling when the game is close under 2 to play. That feeling... is we're going to choke it away.

If we had a perimeter threat we probably win this game going away.

MSmilie said...

You're taking this better than I am. I'm not happy that our guys just gave away an opportunity to be 3-o in conference play.

Much has been made here regarding timeouts and when the coaching staff chooses to use them. I was not among those who made a big deal out of it....until today.

Why Coach Grant did not use a timeout to set up a final play after Arkansas missed two free throws late is beyond me. I just don't understand the logic.

Releford played a great game, but had two crucial turnovers late. One of those may have been avoided with a timeout. This loss rests with the coaches, not the players.

MSmilie said...

Regarding Bobby's perimeter threat comment: I agree. Charvez had 2-3 open looks in this game. He's got to knock those down. He's the only perimeter option Bama has, and he's not much of one in pressure situations.

bobbyjack said...

Davis is only a perimeter threat inside Coleman. It's nothing we can fix this year.

DJC said...

No outside shooting again was the problem. We completely abandoned even trying to shoot from the perimeter, which was probably a smart move, but still, you can't be that one dimensional and expect to win on the road in the SEC.

Lots of positives from this team. We did a great job on defense, especially getting back in transition. The announcers kept harping on Arkansas for taking early shots, but I think they broke down our film and saw that the only success anybody has had against our D is getting back quickly and getting up quick shots. I think the quick shots by Arkansas were mostly by design, but we were in position to defend them.

I like Coach Grant. We haven't seen this level of intensity on defense since Wimp Sanderson's days, and that is why we are winning or at least competitive in every game we play. Nevertheless, game management and strategic coaching decisions can often be the difference in a W or an L in close games. For $2 Million per year, I expect a little more.

We had a 10 pt lead and the ball late in the 1st half, and ended up leading by only 4 at halftime. ONCE AGAIN...WE HAD THE GODDAMNED BALL WITH 30 SECONDS LEFT IN THE FIRST HALF, ALL 5 TIMEOUTS REMAINING, AND DID NOT GET THE LAST SHOT!

I cannot tell you how much this pisses me off. YOU CAN ONLY TAKE 4 TIMEOUTS INTO THE SECOND HALF! CALL THE DAMNED TIMEOUT! Predictably, Arkansas got, and made, the last shot. Look, we have a freshman PG playing his ass off on the road in the SEC. Help him out a little, please? We lost 4 or 5 games last year by 3 or less points that came down to the last possession. That trend is not going to change until Coach Grant learns how to manage the game and clock.

I am starting to think Mike Stuart might be racist. I don't remember him screwing us so consistently when we had Mark Gottfried as coach. Last year at Arkansas, he ejected Senario Hillman for throwing an elbow to get space against their white guy who was guarding him. It definitely should have been a foul, but i'm not sure it warranted an ejection. We were 0-6 in games he officiated last year, and now off to an 0-1 start this year. He warned Coach Grant and staff for standing and being out of the coaches box in a close game with only 3 minutes left in the game. I wasn't at the game, but I find it very hard to believe that Pelphrey and the hogs weren't doing the same at that point.

I'm anxious to see how we respond to adversity. This kind of reminds me of the Seton Hall loss, a tough, hard fought game where we came up short (thanks in large part to Coach Grant not knowing how to manage timeouts in a close game). We followed that up with embarrasing losses to Iowa and St. Peters. After watching the first half of the Kentucky/LSU game, they should kill us. But, playing at home, with our defense, I'm hoping we can at least play hard and give them a halfway decent game.

A lot of positives from this game, but we've got to start finding a way to pull these out.

finebammer said...

i'm in bizarro world.

Anonymous said...

I think Grant needs better assistant coaches to help him.

DJC said...

I don't know about the quality of the assistant coaches, but he certainly makes up for it with quantity.

MSmilie said...

I think the assistants are good, which makes a late-game decision like yesterday so confusing. Hipsher, for example, is an experienced basketball coach who has no doubt been in many of these situations. And even Anthony Grant has been coaching now for what, 15 years? Maybe I'm being naive but I thought it was Basketball 101 that if you have the ball with the chance to take the last shot that you called a timeout to set up a play....particularly if you have a true freshman point guard. Anyone know if he was asked in the postgame press conference about not calling a timeout?

Don't get me wrong, I'm still an Anthony Grant fan. This team is playing well enough to still win this division, which would surpass the expectations we had for this season. I still think the program is moving in the right direction. However, it's impossible to ignore the fact that the team did let one slip away yesterday, and that it was potentially due to coaching decisions late in the game.

MSmilie said...

"I thought Trevor had an outstanding game. What he will have to live with is the two turnovers in the last two minutes, but we wouldn’t have been there if he hadn’t played well.”

That was a postgame comment from Anthony Grant. I haven't read the entire transcript, but I don't like that comment at all. Coaches are paid to put their players in the best position to win, and Trevor was not put in a good position at the end of that game. Come on, coach.

Anonymous said...

If Trevor was an upperclassman, I see letting him go at the end. But being a freshman, a timeout would have helped, especially after the first turnover.