Sunday, December 18, 2011

Alias' Absence

Your intrepid reporter needs to apologize for his posting paucity on your favorite blog.  Life has been a blur in the Alias Abode since long before Thanksgiving.  Family and work obligations have kept him from attending or even watching most of your favorite team's games live.  Still more of those obligations have forced him to surrender his Oklahoma State ticket to associate reporter H'ville this Wednesday. 

The first half of last night's game in Alias' brother's home town of Kansas State (okay, his brother lives on the Kansas side of the river, so sue me) did not even allow us to turn on the radio until the first half of the game was almost over, and the outcome was assured before we completed the 45 minute drive home from the reception where both Alias daughters had served as bride's maids in the wedding of the beautiful young lady who had become almost a third Alias daughter when they all were in high school.

Alabama had not taken their last lead of the second half when Mrs. Alias responded to Chris Stewert's typically excellent call of the game, "It sounds like they might be getting some home cooking."  I did watch the last ten minutes of the game live and I cannot say that I saw any really bad calls.  After watching the first possession just a few minutes ago and seeing Releford get butted into a traveling call while dribbling toward the basket, I was pretty sure what the rest of the recording will show.  Our key players got into early foul trouble, disrupting their rhythm and taking them out of their most effective offensive game.  I have not yet seen what I expect to view: our under sized players being unable to keep the ball away from Kansas State's big men underneath the basket.

I am not complaining.  Home cooking is a fact of life for everyone in college hoops; Duke being perhaps the lone exception because they seem to get the benefit of the doubt now matter where they play.  I noticed plenty of calls and no calls going our way the last time I visited Coleman Coliseum and mentioned several of them to my younger daughter (who graduated from our beloved University this month a semester ahead of schedule) as they happened.  Plenty of those calls will go against us when we play on the road.  But that is not likely what cost us last night's game, nor will it be in the future.

This is not intended as a criticism of our players or staff.  I would not swap coaches or personnel with anyone else in the country.  But another fact of basketball life is that teams have to find a way to score under adverse circumstances.  Randolph and Lacy are going to have to start hitting more of their threes.  So is Mitchell if he is going to keep taking them.  Greene has to be able to hit that 7 to 15 foot jump shot.  Jacobs has to hit his jump hook.  Greene has done a much better job of defending without fouling.  He and the coaches need to help Jacobs learn to do the same.

Finally, Releford frankly needs to play at a higher level.  He was a most pleasant surprise as a freshman.  Now that every team we will play has seen his film, he will need to develop a consistent three point shot if he is going to be the point guard who can take us all the way.  His 14 points last night were very important, but if he can force teams to cover him outside the arc that should generate some slack for both him and his teammates.

None of this is intended as an excuse.  The better team definitely won last night's game.  Four of Coach Grant's first eight players are true freshmen, and Releford and Hankerson are true sophomores.  This team is only beginning to work toward its potential.  If the youngsters can develop quickly while Greene and Mitchell still are on the team, then they still could make plenty of noise in the conference and the NCAA tournament.  I will try to become more consistent in my reporting.

Now hopefully some of our real students of the game will dissect what really happened last night for the rest of you.

Roll Tide and Merry Christmas!


BamaLib said...

I also am feeling a little pessimism with this Bama team winning any SEC Road Games due to the fact that it seems to be "3-versus-5" offensively on the floor, but yet I'm fully confident in them, including the freshmen, for getting some victories in our Home Games at Coleman Coliseum. This will get us into the NIT again. To get into the NCAA, they must play better AS A TEAM.

How did we lose to Kansas State? The Percentages of field-goal shooting, 3-point shooting, and free-throw shooting, as well as rebounding were all nearly exactly alike between KSU and Bama.

The big discrepancy came from Bama's Turnovers on the offensive side and Bama's VERY EXCESSIVE Fouling on the defensive side, which lead to a huge bulk of KSU FT points that essentially spelled them the victory. I wonder if the Bama Player's are thinking, "If I end up fouling a lot, at least I'm showing Coach that I'm TRYING HARD to play some defense."

Last time I called out Eblen and Engstrom on their rate of fouling. Now, it's Randolph and Jacobs' turn, as they both fouled out in this game with only a few minutes of playing time! When any player's LEADING STATISTIC is the number of fouls committed..(more fouls than rebounds, points, steals, assists, blocks, etc) then it's a clue that one's whole approach to playing ball must change.

I believe we will beat Oklahoma State. Come on, Bama.

BamaLib said...

whoops... "players" (not player's) .. sorry

39 Steps said...

Releford just tweeted: "Knee is killing me!!"