Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Previewing the Schedule: March

March 2nd: @Florida - The Gators were back-to-back national champions in 2006 and 2007, but then missed the tournament the following two seasons. They returned to the tournament in 2010 and have made Elite Eight runs in their past two seasons. Though John Calipari has upped the stakes in the conference, Donovan remains one of the great coaches and recruiters in the league as well as the country. With players like Kenny Boynton, Patric Young and Erik Murphy returning, Florida is expected to once again challenge for the SEC title. For all of the good things that Anthony Grant has done in his three seasons at Alabama, one negative stands out - his record against his former employer. Grant is currently 0-4 against Donovan (In fact, Grant's record against the recent power trio of Florida, Kentucky and Vanderbilt is a disappointing 1-11. By comparison: his record against the remainder of the conference is 29-13) and a couple of the games haven't been close. The last time Bama traveled to Gainesville, it wasn't pretty as the Gators pummeled our guys by 27.

March 5th: @Ole Miss - I wrote earlier about Alabama's abysmal record at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gym. Bama's record at the "Tad Pad" isn't much better. Alabama is 3-8 in their last eleven visits. Frankly, I was surprised Bama had three victories, because I don't recall much success there during that time span. Andy Kennedy is entering his seventh season in Oxford. While the program has been steady, Kennedy has yet to take the Rebels to the NCAA Tournament despite having some rosters that were certainly capable. Is this finally the year they get over the hump? They do have another capable roster, but they're far from a lock. The key for the Rebels is improvement on the defensive end and a better road performance. If they can do that, they could be in the discussion come March.

March 9th: Georgia - The second meeting with the Dawgs ends the regular season. This game will also mark the final game in Coleman for Andrew Steele, the lone senior on the team.


Alex said...

Florida has been brutal to us in the Grant era. I think Donovan knows too much about Grants tendencies because of their many years working together.

Losing only Andrew after this year bodes well for 2013-2014. If we end up surprising some people this year and make it to the sweet 16 or something I think Grant would probably turn down most jobs in order to stay because of the talent we will have coming back next year. We will have 3-4 off the bench that are ESPN 150 caliber players which is amazing considering the lack of talent in Grants first year.

MSmilie said...

Alex: It's been brutal against the better teams, not just Florida. There have been some close losses, but they've still been losses. The next step I want to see in Grant's building of the program is the ability to win some of these games against the better teams in the conference.

I agree with you and I've read DJC express the same optimism about the potential for 2013-14. It could be a special season if everything breaks right. First things first: take care of business this season.

MSmilie said...

Oh, one more thing. Florida has been brutal to us, period. I think Alabama has only won 3 or 4 out of the last 20 games between the two programs. It's been bad.

bobbyjack said...

That looks like a 1-2 March. Hopefully our Jan and Feb turn out better.

miami said...

It could be a unique period if everything smashes right!
Miam Dodge

Alex said...

Of all the "quality teams" we face each year in the SEC Florida has been by far the worst though. We've played Kentucky and Vandy very close with the exception of last years Vandy game. Really we SHOULD have won at Vandy 2 years ago it it weren't for two bad calls in the last minute. The Florida games have been BAD blowouts though.