Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Know your enemy- Georgetown Hoyas

A team I despised in the 80s comes into town thinking they have a shot at winning in Coleman Coliseum as part of the Big East/SEC challenge. A few years ago we played them in Bham and they kilted us. That won't happen this time.

Year to date

The Hoyas come in 4-1 with an impressive showing in the Maui Invitational. They have a 3-eaded scoring attack with Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson, and Henry Sims all averaging 13+ a game. Otto Ports leads with 6.5 RPG. Watch Clark an Thompson from 3 as they are draining them (41 and 54%). Inside, Sims will give Green a challenge (I see Jacobs and even the great Swede switching off on him).

- 82 PPG
- 50.7% FG
- 37% 3PT FG
-  +5.3 rebound margin

Prediction- this is the 1st of a tough five game stretch for us... but it's at home and WE DON'T LOSE AT HOME ANYMORE! Mitchell lights the Hoyas up and the freshmen shine as Alabama wins by 8.

Game time is another late start...9:30PM EST (8:30PM CST) on ESPN2. I hope to catch the 2nd half of this one.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bama slams the VCU Rams, 72-64

This game was a bit of struggle. VCU is a decent team and they played very hard and determined. This was a game that I was concerned about due to a number of factors, but the team showed good character and battled through adversity to get the win. Releford had a lot of problems with the press in the first half. A couple of times he was already in the front court while our wings and forwards were getting trapped with the ball in the back court. Other times his teammates did not come back to the ball against the double-team. Eblen came in for a few minutes and handled the ball well and actually scored a basket!

The first half was somewhat ugly. As I mentioned, the VCU press gave us some problems. We were also caught out of position several times and committed a lot of fouls. VCU ran a very uptempo offense to prevent our defense from getting set up. They simply out ran us down the court, at least twice after made baskets. Despite all of that, we were still only down 1 at halftime.

I do not think Tony Mitchell was fully healthy. He limped off the court at one point in the first half, appearing to have aggravated his ankle, but he was able to return. While he still had a solid game with 13 points (despite going only 6 of 10 from the line), he did not appear as quick and explosive as usual. There were a couple of missed alley oop attempts that I think he normally brings down over the VCU defenders.

The great thing about this team is we have multiple weapons. Even though Tony wasn't 100%, JaMychal more than made up for it with his play. Green was a little banged up himself, and at one point he went to the locker room after apparently hurting his elbow that he hyperextended a couple of games ago. He came back out shortly thereafter and absolutely dominated the game at both ends.

The scrappy Rams led by as much as 6 in the 2nd half. I was surprised we ran as much zone defense, given that VCU did not really have any size to speak of. I wonder how much of that was due to the fact that we were a little banged up. At any rate, VCU finally started making some 3's which allowed them to build the lead. When we switched to man to man down the stretch, we pretty much such them down.

Once again the freshmen stepped up big time. Nick Jacobs development over the first few weeks of the season has been amazing. He scored 6 points and played 15 minutes last night, as opposed to only 3 minutes for Carl Engstrom. I expect that trend to continue as Jacobs is playing like an SEC caliber contributor right now. Trevor Lacey made some clutch plays at both ends of the court down the stretch to preserve the victory.

We also saw some of our weaknesses tonight. VCU got way too many offensive rebounds when we were in the zone. We only shot 1 for 11 from 3 point range. While we have multiple guys who CAN shoot the ball, perimeter shooting will still be an issue at times this year. We don't have that one Rotnei Clark guy who will make it virutally every time he's left open.

The home winning streak remains in tact. I thought the crowd was fairly decent, considering it was an 8:30pm tipoff on the Sunday after Thanksgiving/Iron Bowl with bad weather and traffic issues all over the state. The student section was at least half full, and I would estimate the total to be around 8,000 or so. VCU brought a fair number of vocal supporters. Former players Mo Williams, Rod Grizzard, and Reggie Rambo were all in attendance. The crowd was very much into the game and made some noise during our 2nd half run which may have given the players a little boost. I regret that I didn't get a chance to meet up with Hville and Alias, but hopefully next time.

Up next, the Georgetown Hoyas from the Big East come to Tuscaloosa for another late 8:30pm tipoff Thursday night. This is another great chance to showcase our team on national television, so let's pack the house!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Know your enemy- VCU Rams

VCU comes into Tuscaloosa at 3-2. They have been beaten down by very mediocre teams (Seton Hall and GA Tech) so right now they are not the same team that went from the first 4 to the Final 4.


Troy Daniels and Bradford Burgess average double digits, Juvonte Reddic leads the team in boards, and Darius Theus leads in assists at a little over 4 per game.

The numbers
- 36.8% FG
- 31% 3PT FG
- 76.1% FT
- 13.4 turnovers
- 62.8 PPG

Prediction- we should run them out of the gym. Seton Hall and GA Tech are mediocre to bad and they thumped the Rams so a top 15 squad should in theory do the same at home. I don't care what they did last March... it has nothing to do with them now. Alabama behind Green's double-double and Levi's shooting by 17.

Game time is 9:30PM EST (8:30PM CST) on ESPNU. I doubt I'll see a minute of this game, but will try to track it online somewhere.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crimson over Maroon, but Tony Suffers Wound, 82-45

Every team needs a few cupcakes on the schedule, and this was a good time for Alabama to play one. AAMU should drop the "M" from their name, because they might be competitive at the AAU level. The 5 writers on this blog could probably give them a good game. Okay, obviously I am exaggerating a bit, but you get the point, they are not a very good team.

Hoodies for warmups? It's good to know they are prepared in case they have to play in a really cold gym.

Alabama jumped out to a 19-2 lead and never looked back. AAMU was completely hopeless against our defense. This despite JaMychal Green not playing at all with a hip pointer. He was dressed out and could have played if needed. Carl Engstrom got the start instead and performed well. Nick Jacobs came off the bench and scored 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, it is amazing how much he has improved.

The Bulldogs got their first field goal with less than 4 minutes to play in the first half. That would be the ONLY fg they would score from the field in the first half. The officials kept the game somewhat respectable by calling EVERYTHING on us, which I can understand, it's good game management to let the hopeless team get the benefit of most of the calls.

Despite the incredible defensive effort, and a 48-20 halftime lead, the mood in the Coliseum felt more like we had a 20 point defecit. That's because about 8 minutes into the game Tony Mitchell went down with an apparent leg injury. Initially, all signs looked very bad. I did not see how it happened, but it was on the other end and side of the court from me and appeared to be during a dead ball and without contact. He was obviously in agonizing pain and stayed down for several minutes. Of course, my first thought/fear was knee ligaments. He did not put any weight on it and was carried straight to the locker room.

A little later on, the team trainer came out, without Tony, and went straight to Coach Grant. I watched that conversation very closely trying to read Coach's reaction, which was neither positive nor negative. Not long thereafter, I spotted the team surgeon speaking with the trainers, never a good sign. I had a hard time focusing on the action, as I was spending a lot of time trying to get information on the injury. Word got around that it was an ankle rather than a knee, and there was a rumor that somebody saw him grab the back of his foot initially, which led to fear of an achilles injury. About midway through the 2nd half, Tony returned, on crutches. He was able to limp into the team huddle during timeouts without crutches, and was putting some weight on it when he left the floor. He seemed to be in good spirits, and reports are that it is a severely sprained ankle. I expect him to miss a few games, but it doesn't look like the disaster we all feared.

The 2nd half was very ho-hum. We called off the dogs and ran a 2-3 zone for most of the 2nd half. Keon Blackledge got a lot of playing time, in part due to Tony's injury and in part because we were cruising to an easy win. AAMU got more aggressive in the 2nd half, and they were the ones picking up the fouls. Hankerson had a very good game and was the leading scorer with 16 points. All of the freshman continued to play well. Levi's shot was off, but his defense was dominant as always.

The crowd was better than I expected. Student turnout was poor, which is understandable, but there was not a noticeable drop in the rest of the arena. Probably at least 6,000 or so were on hand, including former player Charvez Davis. It's good to see former players still supporting their teammates and the program.

Up next, Coach Grant's former employer and last year final four participant, the VCU Rams come to Tuscaloosa for an 8:30 pm CST tipoff Sunday night. Once again, VCU has one of the best up and coming coaches in basketball. With Tony Mitchell likely out, the 23 home game winning streak will certainly be on the line. Hopefully the late start will give students a chance to get back on campus. Let's pack the house and get number 24 in a row on national television to keep the momentum going.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Know your enemy- Alabama A&M

They come into the game 2-1 with their only loss at Tulane. As we all know, you JUST DON'T GO INTO NOLA and expect to win.


Casey Canty and Demarquelle Tabb lead the team in scoring at 17.3 and 13.7. Jeremy Crutcher averages 5 assists. Tabb also leads the team in rebounds. Brandon Allen seems to be their only real 3 point threat, but he's only taken 5 so we probably don't need to worry about him.

The numbers:
- 79.3 PPG
- 45.8% FG
- 32.1% 3PT FG
- 59.5% FT
- +8/7 rebound margin

Prediction- in front of a sparse crowd we should beat them so bad they think twice about being on our schedule again. Bama by 31. 8pm EST tipoff (7pm CST).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bama brings Pain to the Train, 65-56

Alabama takes the 2011 Puerto Rico tipoff Championship with a solid win over Purdue. We jumped out to an early 9-0 lead, forcing turnovers and scoring in transition. Purdue settled down and had some success in making us play an ugly, half-court style of game. When Trevor Releford came out for a rest, it started a 7 minute or so scoring drought for us. We will not be able to survive those types of droughts against very good teams, but give Purdue a lot of credit for playing good defense. The good news is, while we lost the lead, the defense played so good that we did not allow Purdue to take a meaningful lead during out dry spells.

The backup PG situation continues to be perplexing. After not playing at all in the last game, Ben Eblen was first to run the point in Releford's absence. He played better in the 2nd half, and we actually extended our lead in the 2nd half while he was in the game.

Releford continues to increase his scoring, he has a knack for getting to the line and making free throws. Purdue had troubles with JaMychal in the post, and Tony Mitchell was able to knock down a couple of 3's. Of the freshmen, it was Levi Randolph's time to shine. He played amazing defense and scored 12 points.

I liked the team's reaction at the end of the game. No running all over the court and acting like we had just won a major championship. It was business as usual, this team expected to win this tournament and they took care of business. What a difference a year makes.

Up next, Alabama A&M Bulldogs come to Tuscaloosa for a 7pm tipoff Wednesday night. It would be great for this team have a good crowd on hand to welcome them home after winning the Puerto Rico tournament. Realistically, it's a 7pm start the day before Thanksgiving against AAMU, so I will probably be part of a very small gathering.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Know your enemy- Purdue Boilermakers... FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP!

Purdue beat Temple to set up our match-up with them Sunday night at 7:30PM EST. Here's a link to their season stats.
The 2011-12 revenge tour continues as Purdue manhandled us in West Lafayette last year. This time it's going to be different.

Robbie Hummel is still there (seems like he's been there since I was in school) leading the team with 20.8 PPG and 5.3 boards. Him and Ryan Smith so far have been lethal from 3... both shooting over 50%. yeah... keep an eye on them out there.

- 84.8 PPG
- 46% FG
- 44.6% 3 PG FG
- +1.3 rebound margin
- 9 steals per game

Like us, Purdue empties their bench... shuffling in 5 off the bench (10 total). Size-wise... not much of an advantage... but we'll need either Mitchell or one of our big freshman to try to contain Hummel.

Prediction: Yeah... I predicted we'd lose to Wichita St, but now that we got the chance to win this thing I can't see us missing out. Too much Green, Mitchell, and Releford with some big production off the bench (Hankerson, Jacobs, Lacey) pushes us past the boilermakers by 9.

Game is on ESPN2

Bama's blockers stop the shockers, 70-60

I watched this on TV like everybody else so I will keep this relatively short. It was another slow start until Tony Mitchell took over the game. He was doing it all on both ends of the court. Making jump shots, forcing turnovers, and 2 dunks worthy of the ESPN Sportscenter top 10 plays of the day. Green's shot seemed to be off, perhaps because he took a nasty head-butt to the chin, but he managed to stay out of foul trouble and played great defense in the post against the big shockers. Releford was able to penetrate and get to the free throw line and knock down his freebies. Nick Jacobs had another solid game and he continues to improve. He was 2 for 3 and his footwork in the post seems to be coming around nicely. I think he is starting to adjust to the speed of the game.

Also, it appears Trevor Lacey is now the backup point guard. He may not be a "pure" point guard in that he doesn't have excellent handles, but he takes care of the basketball and makes good decisions while still giving us a scoring threat. I do not recall seeing Ben Eblen in the game at all.

Wichita State made some runs and was able to take the lead a couple of times, but we always responded. They showed a lot of poise and depth in this game, and it is obvious how much we have improved from last year.

Up next, another chance to avenge a loss from last season, as we play the Purdue Boilermakers in the championship game at 6:30 pm Central time Sunday night on ESPN2.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Super Quick preview of Wichita St

I believe 7 of their top 9 scorers return from the team that beat us in the NIT Finals last year. They beat NIT Final Four participant Colorado yesterday 67-58.

ESPN Preview of game.

I hope we can defend their 7 footer in the paint... or at least keep him off the boards.

Prediction: I'm going to be consistent with my preseason predictions... I think the Shockers shock us with some premium 3 point shooting and win by 6. The key to this game is keeping JaMychal out of foul trouble... something I don't think he can do with regularity,

Gametime is 9PM EST (8PM CST) on ESPN2

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tide Topples Terps By Twenty

  Maryland was vastly under manned, playing this game in a rebuilding year.  JaMychael Green did his best to help them by picking up two quick fouls in each half.  Trevor Releford picked up two silly fouls early in the first half too.  Still the Tide was just too much for the Terrapins.

Maryland's defense looked out of synch early, allowing Bama to build a 36-20 half-time lead.  The Terrapins toughened their defense in the second half and exposed the rust still sticking to Alabama's athletes. 

This was my first look at all the freshmen and I was very impressed.  Mark Gottfried used to recruit athletes and try to teach them how to play basketball.  Anthony Grant recruits basketball players and teaches them how to grow better - much, much better.  The raw talent on this team is impressive.  We now have at least three guys who can hit the outside shot.  All of the new kids play defense.  Given time they should be able to develop into a much more efficient offensive unit than we have seen at the Capstone in about a decade.

Engstrom did provide some defensive help, but trying to feed him underneath the basket today was a waste of time.  He mishandled almost every pass thrown to him in traffic.  Coach Grant says the young man has good hands.  I believe him.  Let's hope he's still just acclimating to the speed of the game.  Charles Hankerson looked much improved over last year and even presented an offensive threat. 

Here's a box score and play by play summary of this afternoon's game.  Tony Mitchell earned Player of the Game honors, leading all scorers with 17 points including 3 of 4 from outside the three point arc. 

Tomorrow's game will be broadcast on ESPN2, I think they said at 9 eastern time, but be sure to check your local listings.

Puerto Rico Tip-Off- Maryland

Link to the tournament website.

Maryland is in their first season without the great sweat-hog Gary Williams who retired after a few years of mediocrity. Mark Turgeon took over... you probably know him as the former Texas A&M coach that replaced the great Billy Gillispie when he dominated at Kentucky.

Maryland won their opener over UNC Wilmington 71-62. Terrell Stoglin scored 22 (I think off the bench) on 6-16 shooting. The team was 0-9 from beyond the arc though.

Prediction- we are far too talented for Maryland to keep up with. Alabama by 16.

Game is at 5PM EST on ESPN2. I would've like to attend, but last year's debacle in St Thomas and a busy schedule didn't allow for that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bama makes it look easy in big win over Grizzlies. 74-57

Make that 22 now.

Not many teams are going to hold Oakland to fewer than 60 points this year, and their coach was very impressed with our defense in his post game comments, especially the freshman. It wasn't just the defense that stepped up in this game, though, as Bama played a very solid, balanced game to easily defeat a solid opponent.

Coach Grant had a great gameplan. Oakland's weakness is in the post, so we attacked the basket, not only with JaMychal and Tony Mitchell, but with the guards penetrating. For all that has been made about our improved shooting ability, the newcomers also have a great ability to drive the lane. We only shot 8 three pointers in the game, making a respectable 3 of them, but the drive and dish game proved very productive. We were able to beat them off the dribble for the most part and get high percentage shots in the lane, or catch them out of position and draw fouls. Once at the line, after a slow start we ended up shooting 75%.

Oakland's great PG had 16 of their first 28 points, but was then shut down for the rest of the game. A large part of that was our defense, but I think their coach also realized he would not be able to beat us by himself so they started trying to get others more involved.

Releford had a great game at the point, getting more involved in the scoring with 14 points. When Releford came out of the game, Trevor Lacey moved over to run point and did a fine job. Ben Eblen did not come into the game until the outcome had already been decided. Once again, Retin did not play.

About midway through the first half Oakland switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense, trapping on the sides which initially gave us some problems. Coach Grant made some adjustments during the next timeout that allowed us to get the ball in position to exploit the opening in the corner and along the baseline, which resulted in a wide open 3 and some easy baskets in the paint. We were able to stretch the lead to 41-30 by halftime, and a 2nd half run to stretch the lead to 19 put the game away.

Cooper and Lacey both continue to make great decisions with the basketball. Neither one looks like a freshman. Cooper seems to be developing good chemistry with Tony Mitchell, as they each executed both ends of the alley oop on fast breaks. Tony had his usual good game, a couple of explosive dunks, lots of swagger, and a few near meltdowns over some of the officials calls.

Levi Randolph had another impressive game. He made a 3 and had an awesome dunk over Oakland's 6'10 center in the lane. This kid has got ups, which more importantly helped him pull down a couple of offensive rebounds as well.

I thought the officials called a very good game. They called it fairly tight, but were consistent at both ends. This was not an easy game to officiate, both teams play fast paced and very aggressive, and I thought they handled it well. There was one very bad call that went in our favor, in the 2nd half on an in bounds play underneath our basket, Rodney Cooper ran over a defender cutting to the basket, the defender had been set for at least 5 seconds, and the official called it a block. That was the only blatantly obvious call they missed though, in my opinion.

There was a scary moment in the 2nd half when Green went out with an arm injury. He was taken to the locker room, and emerged about 10 minutes later when he sat on the bench as trainers wrapped his arm with an ace bandage. Turns out it was a hyper extended elbow. Going by his body language and the coach's reactions to conversations with the trainer, my guess is that he could have returned to the game if it would have been necessary. He is day to day, but I expect him to play Thursday against Maryland.

I was a little disappointed in the crowd. I understand it was a Monday night, but against a quality opponent like Oakland I would have thought more would come out. I would estimate maybe 6,000 or so. The ones who did show up, were loud and into the game for the most part.

Up next, we travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico for a 4pm central time start against the Maryland Terrapins Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, I will not be able to make this trip, but given our performance in the Caribbean last year, perhaps it's best that I stay home.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Know your enemy (sort of)- Oakland Grizzlies

We welcome the Grizzlies to Coleman in what should be a tough match up.  If you remember from last year these Grizzlies went into Knoxville and beat the hated Viles the game after the Viles went and beat Pittsburgh. No... this team is not from the west coast... it's Oakland, MI (up near Pontiac I believe).

First, here's a link to their official site. This is their opening game (played 2 exhibitions).

I've read Oakland is either preseason #1 or 2 in the Summitt league. Chances are they'll represent in the NCAAs. I figured they'd return a bunch from their 2010-11 team, but looking at the stats and roster they are only return 2 of their top 6 scorers?

Putting stats from last year is kinda useless so I wont link them, but it's on the official site. From their 1st exhibition game they did shoot the ball well (50%), 41.7% from 3 and a decent 72% from the free throw line. Badger, Cushingberry, and Lucas-Berry went a combined 10-19 from beyond the arc.

Prediction- Oakland will hang with us for most of the game, but in the end it's too much JaMychal and Mitchell as we win by 8.

Game time is 8PM EST (7PM CST) at on the radio, or on the web (if you can find a streaming station). I once again will miss this as the day job will get in the way.

A link to one of their blogs.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bama's defense brings hammer, Ospreys fall to Alabama

The offense got off to a rough start, as the score was still only 4-4 several minutes into the game. One area where we are really missing Chris Hines/Moussa Gueye is offensive rebounding. While Hines did not score a lot last year, he got several offensive rebounds that led to second chance points. Last night, especially early on, we were getting one shot and they weren't falling.

Fortunately the defense made the scoring drought inconsequential. We ran a lot of full court man to man, 2-2-1 press, and some halfcourt trap. We didn't see much of the 1-1-3 that we ran against UAH. It is fun to watch this team play defense. They double team so quickly and agressively, but also rotate back into position even when the opponents make the correct reads and passes. At times, it seems like we have 7 or 8 guys on the court playing defense. We had a chance to hold them under 40, and likely would have if not for the officals calling such a tight game, leading to many free throw opportunities late for the Ospreys.

After the first scrimmage I posted that the nature of our defense would likely result in us getting called for a lot of fouls. That is the trade off, and this game was Ex. A to that concept. We were in the double bonus relatively early both halves. Frankly, we were lucky it was not worse, as we got the benefit of several block/charge calls that easily could have gone the other way. Fortunately, the fouls were spread out enough to cause any huge concern, but against a good free throw shooting team, or if Green gets into serious foul trouble, it could cost us the game.

After the slow start, the offense finally got going when we decided to start exploiting the most obvious mismatch on the floor. The undersized white guy for North Florida had no business trying to guard Tony Mitchell. Tony pretty much had his way with him. This loosened things up for JaMychal Green who had another huge night and showcased is all around game, scoring in the post, knocking down outside shots including a 3, and playing good defense. He did pick up a foul in the 2nd half that could have been called flagrant. After getting a defensive rebound, he swung his elbows to clear out and appeared to clock the North Florida player right in the face. The officials spent some time looking at the replay and just called it a player control foul.

As a side note, it's interesting to me how the game has changed over the years. When I played many years ago, we were taught and encouraged to swing elbows on rebounds when opponents reached in to clear out. Now, even if you do not make contact, that is a violation and the other team gets the ball. (At least that is the rule in High school, I have not seen it actually called in college). Also, even if you are playing the ball, or as in this case the contact was accidental, an intentional foul can now be called for "excessive" contact. The days of "get your moneys worth and make them earn it at the line" are over. Anyway, we were fortunate Green did not get called for at least an intentional foul on that play.

Engstrom played solid defense and came up with a couple of blocked shots. Still, I would like to see him be a little more aggressive in his rebounding. Nick Jacobs does a good job of clogging the lane on defense if the offensive player catches the ball and drives right at him. His footwork is not up to SEC level yet though. He's virtually a non-factor on offense and he has problems if having to defend one on one in the post.

The starting lineup was the same as it was Monday night, and Levi Randolph had a much better game. He came away with about 8 rebounds if I recall correctly, which is impressive given his size. I was most impressed with his defensive play, he was all over the court disrupting things, especially in the press. He has somewhat of an unorthodox shot but he can score. At times, he does not follow through and thus doesn't get good rotation on the ball. I noticed when he actually gets good rotation on his shot, it usually goes in.

Speaking of shooting, as great as Tony Mitchell has been, I would like to see him follow his shot and get his own rebounds more. I understand he needs to take a few more shots from the perimeter, but his body language makes it apparent that he knows as soon as it leaves his hand whether or not its going in. When he makes a shot, he gets a confident look and starts strutting back up the court. When his misses are in flight, he kind of freezes before getting back. At the 3 or 4 position, it's not as urgent that he get back quickly on defense, so I would like to see him moving toward the basket for a rebound on his misses.

Ben Eblen played much better than he did the other night against UAH, and Trevor Lacey even saw a little action at backup PG and did a fine job. Oddly, Retin appears confined to the bench at this point.

We did not use a timeout in the first half, and we had the last possession with shot clock turned off, but did not use the "use it or lose it" timeout. Long time readers know how I feel about that, so that's all I'm going to say.

We don't have that Charvez Davis type who is automatic when he is on, but we do have 4 or 5 guys capable of making 3 point shots, and I think that will make us more difficult to defend this year. In a perfect world, we would have one more big man and one more dynamic scorer, but I think this team is going to find a way to win a lot of games with what we've got.

There was a good crowd, probably close to 8,000 in my estimation, which is great for a Friday night against a pretty bad team. It was a late arriving and early leaving crowd, but still.

Some of you may remember that since they added the center hung scoreboard, I have been bitching about the removal of the stats board. They have now moved the timeouts/team fouls information onto the video boards and are using the circular ribbon board underneath the video screens for stats. A great move by whoever came up with that idea.

Somebody in the marketing department is obsessed with the "giant head" idea. If you have seen the tickets for this year, you know what I mean. Now they are passing out giant heads of our players/coaches to the students on the floor. I don't get it, but whatever.

Up next, Oakland comes to Coleman for a 7pm tipoff Monday. That's Oakland, Michigan, fyi, not Cali. They are picked to win the Summit league, were in the tournament last year and have been very solid for several years now, and they have one of the top 5 point guards in all of basketball. They beat a good Tennessee team early last year as well. PLEASE, if you can make it to the game, do so. This is a team that could endanger our home winning streak, and I'm sure Coach Grant would appreciate all the help he can get from a loud crowd. RTR!

Tide beat Ospreys 64-44

Hopefully someone can give a review as I did not see it, hear it, or follow it online.

Box score

Friday, November 11, 2011

Know your enemy- UNF Ospreys

The Ospreys come off a hard fought win over local rival Flagler College 84-67 in their tune up to the regular season. 7 of the 10 scholarship players are either juniors or seniors so they have that going for them.

Last season they were an impressive 15-19 with a 10-10 conference record in the always brutal Atlantic Sun Conference. The Ospreys bring back their top 4 scorers (none of them averaged more than 12PPG).. a team with limited size and subpar perimeter shooting. That's what I got from their 2010-11 stats.

Prediction- we should destroy them. Like beat them to the point that Anthony Grant is subbing out the 12th man with someone from the stands in the last 3 minutes. Alabama by 28.

Tip-off is set for 8PM EST (&PM CST) and can be viewed here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughts on the Penn State/Sandusky-Paterno scandal

As many of you long time readers know, I'm a Yankee... a Yankee that grew up watching Penn St football and up until I decided to attend the University of Alabama some 20 years ago was my favorite college team. What has happened up there over a period of 20 years (which is just now coming out) is reprehensible. How this could go (child abuse/molestation/etc.) on as long it did up there with no one blowing the whistle is mind-boggling to me.

The Sandusky charges stand on their own... I think most everyone believes he should rot in hell for it, but let's talk about the non-action by the rest of Penn State's administration. First, let's start with the grad assistant (Mike McQueary) that witnessed this. The best he could do is tell his daddy (he was 28 at the time) who advised him to tell Paterno? Come on man! At the very least he should've broken it up. I probably would've beaten Sandusky within an inch of his life (or died trying), but at the very least get the child out of there.

Then there's Joe Paterno... he reported it to his 'boss' and never followed up. Seriously, it wasn't like Sandusky stole some football pads... he was molesting a child! This is the part that gets me big time... Paterno could've stopped this in 2002, but his inaction (or him wanting to keep this on the down low) allowed Sandusky to carry on for another decade.

As the father of 2 young boys this whole scandal sickens me. While Paterno, McQueary, and most of the Penn St administration are not directly liable (and I defer to the 2 lawyers that post here on this) there has to be some sort of moral code in them to stop this.

I generally try to keep this board devoid of my opinions and stick to data, but this one hit a nerve. I'm saddened for all those Penn St grads and fans, their football team, and first and foremost the poor kids that suffered under Sandusky. This is easily the biggest scandal ever to hit college sports... and hopefully the last of its kind.

Back to basketball with a preview of our opening regular game later on.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Bama larger than Chargers, 67-60

Last year we had to come from behind and play 2 overtimes to beat these guys. Both teams have improved a lot since then. This time, we jumped out to an early lead and held on for the win in a game that we just couldn't put away.

First of all, let me say that there is no shame in playing a close game with UAH. They are a class program with a great coach in Lennie Acuff. They are experienced, have 3 Division 2 All Americans, and are picked to finish 2nd in Division 2. They would beat a lot of D1 teams, and I wish them luck on the rest of their season.

The starting lineup was 1. Releford. 2. Rodney Cooper 3. Levi Randolph 4. Tony Mitchell 5. JaMychal Green. I was somewhat surprised to see 2 freshman in the starting lineup. Cooper had a great game, but Levi struggled. Cooper will be a major asset to us this year. Levi has a lot of athletic ability and played good defense in the press, but his shot was off and he needs to bulk up if he's going to be able to play defense in the half court, both in the post and fighting through screens. We were able to force them to play a full court game early on and our pressure seemed to bother their guards. The defense was smothering and Cooper made a couple of 3's as we jumped out to an early 12 point lead.

As a side note, I don't understand why Zerometh continues to waste money on advertising. I used to represent some meth heads, and college basketball is usually not a priority for those folks, but I digress.

We led by as much as 14 in the first half but UAH made timely shots to keep the game within reach, and they had a chance to tie it within the final 3 minutes of the game. JaMychal Green was clearly the MVP. It is obvious that playing with team USA over the offseason has improved his game. He really is a complete player now, and his improved range gives us a lot more scoring potential on offense. He did pick up one technical foul after a dunk, but it was not clear what he did. I can only assume he said something, as it was not evident at the game.

As expected, outside of JaMychal, we have some major problems in the post. Carl got into early foul trouble and did not play much. Nick Jacobs is not any better of an option than Engstrom at this point. If Green gets into foul trouble, we will be in trouble. We are better off going small at this point.

When either Carl or Jacobs were in the game, we were not able to press. We actually ran a lot of 1-1-3 zone. I liked this, as we were more aggressive and active in it than we have been in the 2-3 in the past. It allows for some trapping on the wings and in the corners, which we were able to force a few turnovers and disrupt their offense.

Given our size limitations, Tony Mitchell is going to have to play the 4 position some which is frankly not in his best individual interests. He is willing and capable of doing so though, and it will be interesting to see how Coach Grant strikes a balance between allowing him to play on the wings and using him to bang inside. He had a solid game and made a few explosive plays on both ends as normal. He also nearly lost his temper a few times when calls did not go his way. It was good to see Trevor Lacey calming him down, but a freshman should not have to be the voice of reason to a veteran. I think Tony hurts himself with the officials with his reactions when things do not go his way.

I was surprised that Retin Obasohan (admittedly, I had to check the roster to verify that spelling) did not play more. Ben Eblen had an AUful night at backup PG. He officially had 2 turnovers, and was at least indirectly responsible for more. The first 3 possessions he was in the game, #2 for UAH beat him off the dribble to put up 6 straight points. He either needs to at least get back to being the Ben Eblen that played in the NIT tournament last year, or we will be in trouble at backup PG. I would like to have seen what Retin could do.

It's obvious that Trevor Lacey is going to be a great player for us. He makes great decisions and can score in a variety of ways, although his shots just weren't falling last night. I think his knee may still be bothering him some, as his lateral movement when playing on ball defense looked a little sluggish.

Charles Hankerson played a good game and knocked down some perimeter shots. He either gets nothing but net or nothing at all. I would not be surprised to see him start over Levi in the next game.

UAH made a late run, thanks in part because we kept fouling their 3 point shooters. Our wing guys need to do a better job of not leaving their feet on the head fakes out on the perimeter. Nevertheless, we got the stops when we had to, and made 8 of 10 from the free throw line to take care of business. I think this early test and win will be beneficial down the road.

This team will only get better. We missed some fast break opportunities due to poor spacing and bad passing decisions that will only improve with chemistry as the guys get used to playing together.

The crowd was as good as I can ever remember it being for an exhibition game. I would estimate over 5,000. UAH brought their cheerleaders and a few bus loads of very vocal and supportive fans. They should be proud of their team's effort, and I hope they bring the Division 2 National Championship to the UA system.

Thanks to my gf Brandi for taking the pics, and also thanks again for my wonderful gift pictured below:

I hope you don't mind me sharing it here. We were not around then, but I know many regard the 1976 team as one of our best ever, so I thought some of the readers here may appreciate it.

Up next, a game that actually counts against the North Florida Ospreys, Friday at 7pm at Coleman Coliseum. Be there.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Know your enemy- UAH (Huntsville)

I'm still not over the monumental choke job by Nick Saban and staff last night vs LSU so this one might sound bitter.

Hville would probably be a better resource for this preview, but I'll do the best I can.

First off, here's a link to their one of their websites. Now a link to their roster. Next up a link to their stats. They went 29-5 and 11-1 in the GSC in the 2010-11 season.

UAH brings back an experienced team (7 Jrs/Srs) with their top 3 scorers from last season (Jaime Smith, Josh Magette, and Zane Campbell) . I'm not going to pretend I know anything about them outside of what I read so I'll pass it along and let you decide.

Key stats:
- .498 FG
- .361 3pt FG
- 78.2 PPG
- +.2 rebound margin
- 12.5 turnovers

This should be a nice early test for us. We have a definite size advantage, but we should be challenged by their perimeter shot. Since this is an exhibition game I won't predict a score, but we should pull away in the 2nd half and TCB.

Game time is 8PM EST (7PM CST) on Monday November 7th.

As I was writing this report I had the TV on in the background. I thought the snuggie was the worstest invention ever, but this one takes the cake.

Seriously?? If someone showed up at my house with that not only would I kick them out, I would banish them for life from setting foot in my zip code. If you want a laugh go ahead and watch this: