Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Alabama's Awful After Intermission

The Florida Gators came into Coleman Coliseum riding a two game losing streak and looked like they might run it to three when they were tied at 26 points per team at the end of the first half.  Billy Donovan evidently decided not to have any more mercy on his former protoge' Anthony Grant and elected to play a zone defense in the second half that brought the Tide's scoring to an abrupt halt and allowed Florida to score the first 16 points of the second half.  The Tide missed its first ten shots and did not score for the first 7 minutes.  When they did score, Donovan blessed out his team during the next time out.  Bama eventually clawed into the Gator lead only to fall short by a score of 61-52.

About the only good thing I saw in this game was that the Tide held UF to 26 first half points.  I think Bama had more rebounds in the game, but I'm too tired to look that up right now.  During the second half they had no answer for Florida's penetrating guards and they could not keep the Gator post players from scoring almost at will. 

The shots that did fall for the home team in the first half would not go into the basket in the second.  Bama also committed 18 turnovers that lead to 20 Gator points.  The offense again was anemic against the visitors' zone.  They did seem to move the ball well at times, but they did were not able to anticipate their teammates moves and way too often threw the ball to a player who was either was not ready or was not where he was expected to be.  I also don't think the guards have any confidence that Engstrom can field a pass.  Carl set good picks on the give and go play all night and looked to me to have a clear path to the basket at least 6 or 8 times, but the others almost never fed him the ball. 

Jacobs picked up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game and never was a factor on either end of the court.  Guyae had a couple of good rebounds, but Coach Grant pulled him after the second one because he looked like he was going to throw his elbows again like he did against Ole Miss.

I was hoping MSmilie would have posted a recap before I could finish my drive home.  Hopefully he or DJC will have some legitimate insights into the game.  About all I can say at this point is "Thanks alot" to the players who took themselves out of contention by doing stuff they were not supposed to do and I sure hope the ones who are left can start playing better.  My early season optimism has disappeared.  Let's hope the remaining players learn from these difficult experiences and that Coach Grant can teach them to keep throwing the ball around a zone instead of dribbling in place.  One action forces the other team to expend energy and gives them a chance to make a mistake.  The other helps you go 0 for 10 to start the second half.

Roll Tide!


MSmilie said...

No real insight needed. It's clear that this team is suffering in light of the suspensions. Take the best 2-4 players off any team in the country and they would struggle.

The suspensions have come at a bad time for the team. As a fan, there's this sense of helplessness because we know this team is capable of winning games. But we also realize that when you take away the best players, your chances drop considerably. All we can do is continue to pull for the team and hope they can somehow pull out of this nosedive regardless of their postseason fate.

Love 'em or hate 'em, Tony Mitchell and JaMychal Green are the two best players for this team at this moment in time.

While I support Grant's decisions regarding the suspensions and expect him to uphold them as long as he deems necessary, the reality is this team will be hard-pressed to win games without at least one of those guys returning.

Even with Releford and Steele back last night, it was still painfully obvious that Alabama couldn't match up. To Florida's credit, they keyed on that weakness and allowed Murphy and Young to touch the ball and make plays.

There's been some inflammatory comments at this blog criticizing Green and defending Green. Ultimately, those comments are merely opinions. Whether he stays or he goes at this point in his career is irrelevant. This much is certain: he's the only post player this team has that can compete on a nightly basis in the SEC.

I believe Jacobs has a bright future while Gueye and Engstrom are slowly making progress, but the last two games have shown that those guys are not capable yet of competing every game against the caliber of players this league produces.

Hopefully Green and Mitchell do what they need to do and are reinstated for themselves as well as the team. Despite all the ups and downs this season, I believe this team still has a chance to finish on a positive note. For better or worse, the chances of that happenening come down to Green and Mitchell. As Bob Dylan said: "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there."

MSmilie said...

Allow me to make one more point. In my comment above, I focused primarily on the players we don't have. However, last night's loss can't entirely be explained on that alone.

The team didn't take care of the ball last night. They had a season high in turnovers, and when you're playing the 12th ranked team in thr country AND you're short-handed, you've got to take care of the ball.

Part of the problem was Releford and Steele missing some time, albeit a brief amount. Releford seemed to press at times, perhaps trying to atone for his sins off the court. Some of the other players - I'm looking at you Rodney Cooper - lacked aggression, perhaps because they felt the need to defer to the returning players. Lacey and Randolph are simply not the offensive players we thought they would be in year one.

The best thing for this team right now is three days of practice to try and get everyone that will be playing Saturday on the same page.

finebammer said...

"The suspensions have come at a bad time for the team."

a ray of enlightenment shines down from above!


juxtapose the euphoria after the 18 pt. road win over auburn to now.

i have never seen d-1 post players with such hands of stone. it's really not hard to see why grant's holding on to the hope that the dumbass green can do whatever it is that's being required of him to work his way back.

it's a matter of life and death. if grant has to watch much more of engstrom and gueye, he'll be dialing up whitney houston's doctor.

MSmilie said...

IgnorantBammer: I don't understand your use of sarcasm there. Who is trying to enlighten anyone here? This is a basketball blog, you goofball.

I suggest you head over to my metaphysics blog in which I explain that you don't really exist outside of my mind, but isn't it really screwed up that I would imagine you to begin with? Silly little Finebammer.

You know, I don't enjoy going back and forth with you like this, Bammer. It's not very, shall we say, enlightening. Furthermore, it takes away from the whole point of this blog, the discussion of Alabama basketball.

Unfortunately, I can't help myself. If the majority of your comments weren't laced with an obsession for witch hunts, I wouldn't mind you so much. But you come off as such a completely joyless tool that it's impossible for me to like you and treat you with anything resembling respect.

Anonymous said...

Grant recruited and signed Carl in July 2010. For this to be Carl's second year, there is no excuse for him to still be playing so poorly. Gueye has a legitimate reason due to injury but the fact that Carl has not been developed and taught how to play in the post effectively is on Grant. Folks are giving Grant too many passes on a multitude of decisions he has made this season. He keeps responding to losses and player Suspensions with platitudes of wisdom but assumes no responsility for his lack of leadership and player development. Perimeter shooting, and Turnovers have plagued us all season. And if you have two post players that are 7 feet tall that are under performing then work on all of this long before the end of the season! Work on all of your bench, including the walk ons to ensure that should you need them, they can contribute to the success of this team.

DJC said...

I somewhat disagree with your assessment of Carl's screens as being "good." His roll off the screen was good, but if the UF defender would have just continued to try to go through the screen, he likely would have drew a foul on Carl several times. Carl was not getting there in time, and literally set the pick by sticking his leg out on a couple of occasions.

BamaChaos said...

Its literally the same thing every week and yet it seems our team never even so much as glimpses at it. TURNOVERS, PERIMETER SHOOTING, PENALTIES, LEADERSHIP. At least our crowd was their to support. That is one thing I am proud of this season is our fans are sticking by this team no matter what, its our team that isn't responding to that apparently.

Bama-lib said...


Aren't Engstrom and Gueye sophomores?

By the way.... I've seen All-Stars emerge during their senior years who were absolutely NOTHING during their sophomore year and even junior year. Why don't the Senior All-Stars play like All-Stars during their Sophomore year ? Or in other words, why aren't our sophomores and freshmen playing like seniors ? ? ? (must be Coach's fault)

(or maybe it's because they aren't seniors....)
PATIENCE, dear Friends ! How much I want to win RIGHT NOW, but just because it's not happening now for a team with only one senior, NO PANIC, OK?

Our Crimson Tide Hoops future remains VERY VERY VERY bright ! !