Friday, November 30, 2012

Cincinnati Bearcats preview

It's a big day tomorrow for Alabama athletics as our FB team looks to beat down the Dawgs on the way to Miami (I think we win by 20+ points) AND the hoops team get their toughest test so far (and possibly the entire season) in Cincinnati (WKRP).

The Bearcats are undefeated and ranked #17 in AP poll. Only one of their games have been decided by less than double digits.

Season stats

I haven't watched them this year except for highlights, but from what I gathered they score a lot (86.8 PPG) and don't give up a lot (60.7). Granted that 60.7 is somewhat padded by their destruction of NC A&T.

Players to watch are Sean Kilpatrick (21 PPG) and  Cashmere Wright (16.5). Wright is hitting 3s at a 47.5% clip. The numbers they've accumulated so far kinda scares me. They have 3 big guys over 6'9" but none of them play more than 10 MPG. The Bearcats are sloppy with the ball (15 turnovers a game) so I suspect we will press them quite a bit.

Key #s
- 47.5 FG
- 40.3% 3pt FG
- +13.4 rebound margin
- 95 offensive boards

Tip off is 3PM EST (2PM CST). Obviously this is 1hr before the SECCG so I expect all of you not attending to be tuned into ESPN2 for the 1st half. Me... I'll be split screening the 2nd half.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cardinals, Knight, go down with little fight. 75-47

We were short handed with Andrew Steele sitting out with a groin injury and Trevor Releford on the bench with a stomach bug. Thus, we started a somewhat unorthodox lineup with Retin running point, Lacey, Levi, Pollard, and Engrstram. This group has not played a lot together, and it showed as the Tide got off to a sloppy start against a horrible Lamar team.  Ten minutes into the game, Lamar actually had the lead on us, thanks to the Cardinals making some improbable shots and Tide giving them a number of unforced turnovers.

After the initial slow start, Retin settled down and played a very solid game.  He knocked down a couple of 3's, played great on ball defense, and most importantly took care of the basketball.  We were able to take a 9 point lead into halftime.

Alabama dominated the second half, setting the tone early by playing smothering defense and forcing turnovers in the full court press, and getting stops in the half court zone, including a couple of shot clock violations.  Rodney Cooper came in off the bench and provided a spark offensively.  He doesn't have the smoothest or flashiest game, but he finds a way to get it done.  Despite chucking up 7 bricks from the 3 point range, he still managed to finish with 17 points.

Pat Knight is a pathetic joke, and if it were not for his last name he would be lucky to have a job coaching middle school basketball.  He clearly wants to be his dad, or maybe he just got all of his bad  genes and none of his good coaching ones.  Bob Knight was an old school disciplinarian, who's teams were very solid fundamentally.  They knew how to set screens, move without the ball, play defense with their feet, and basically wear you down over the course of a game.  He also had a ridiculous temper, which is well documented.  Pat Knight inherited his temper, and his disdain for wearing suits, but not much of his basketball knowledge.

Early in the second half, Pat Knight picked up two technical fouls and was ejected after arguing a no-call on Carl Engstrom.  In fairness, Carl fouled the guy, but Lamar recovered the ball and scored anyway, and given their lack of ability to shoot free throws or do anything else basketball related in a remotely competent fashion, that was not the time to pick that battle.  He came WAY out of the coach's box while we were bringing the ball up the court, screaming at the official on the opposite side of the court, to earn his first T.  At that point, as the official was trying to report the foul to the scorer's table, Pat literally came charging, in nearly a full sprint toward him.  One of his assistants stepped in front of him to try to restrain him, so Knight shoved the assistant in the chest and got into his face.  Other assistants stepped in to help diffuse the situation.  If this game would have been on TV or on a bigger stage, his shoving an assistant coach would likely be national news today.

All of this might be somewhat excusable if his teams exhibited any of the traits I mentioned about his father's Indiana teams above.  They do not.  Last year, he openly called out his senior class in a press conference for their "attitude problems."  To their credit, they went on a run and squeaked into the NCAA play-in game, and now all those guys are gone and they suck.  If their attitudes were that bad at that point in the season, I blame the coaching staff for allowing them to continue to play.  Things like those types of press conferences may work once in a blue moon in the short term, but now we are seeing the long term effects.   That Lamar team was one of the worst fundamental teams I have ever seen.  Their guards can't handle the ball and they dribble with their heads down.  They make lazy passes.  They completely lose their man on defense and make bad decisions.  I will be shocked if that clown is still coaching Division 1 basketball in three years.

Anyway, those technicals should have been the time to put the game away.  Instead, Trevor Lacey missed 3 of the 4 free throws.  I was a little disappointed in Lacey this game.  With Releford out, I thought it would be a chance for him to pick up and carry the slack, especially when playing the point.  There were a couple of loose ball situations early in the game where I thought Lacey should have got on the floor to get after.  He finished with only 7 points and 2 of 6 from the line.  The team was 10 of 18 from the line and only 5 of 20 from 3 point range.  We must improve in those two areas if we are going to win any big games.

With the injuries and the hapless opponent, everybody was able to get some playing time.  Keon Blackledge and Dakota Slaughter got about 10 minutes each, with Dakota coming off the bench in the first half and contributing nicely with 10 points.

Pollard continues to improve and had a really good game defensively with some blocked shots and forcing a couple of turnovers.  There was one play in particular that sums up where Devonta is right now that sticks out in my mind.  Lamar had a guy catch a pass on the low block, seemingly open, and hesitated for just the slightest half second before going up with the ball.  Pollard recognized it, left his man and came from the other side of the lane to block the shot, getting to it before it hit the backboard avoiding the goal tending call.  It was remarkable how quickly he reacted and was physically able to get off the floor. However, after the block, he stood where he was and watched the ball instead of where it was going, so he did not anticipate that Lamar would recover it, and when they did, his original man was open for the layup.  Offensively, I think he's getting better at slashing to the basket and getting some second chance points, but he still makes me nervous when he has the ball and is guarded in traffic.

It was not a great crowd, probably about 5,000 or so, which I suppose is to be expected for a midweek game against this type of opponent.  Again, I wish they would go back to making the announcements inviting the fans in the nosebleeds to move down into unused seats at the first media timeout.  There are more fans sitting above the portals than near the court these days.  Up next, we travel to Cincinnati for a 2pm CST tipoff against the BearCats Saturday.  I had considered making the trip, but I got hooked up with the SEC Championship football tickets so I will be in Atlanta and watching on ESPN2.  We will have to play our best game of the season thus far if we expect to return home undefeated.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lamar Cardinals preview

A really bad Lamar team shows up in Tuscaloosa in what should be a beating of epic proportions. This team is 1-5 with an average margin of defeat being 27.8 points. Horrible doesn't begin to describe how bad they are.

As DJC noted below, this is Pat Knight's team (in his 2nd year). They made the NCAAT last season and lost in the First Four matchup with Vermont.

This season, they have yet to play a home game and won't do so until 12/29. I can't remember a team playing almost 2 months of hoops and not playing at home at least a couple times before conference play. Wow!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bama Stops the Bucs, 59-46.

Alabama forced some early turnovers with the press and jumped out quickly to a 9-0 lead.  However, the offense then went stagnant and Charleston Southern was able to come all the way back and take the lead before the Tide regained control to take a 36-27 lead into the half.

Rodney Cooper sat out with shoulder tendinitis, and was replaced by Devonta Pollard in the starting lineup.  Carl Engstrom also got the start ahead of Moussa Gueye.  Both Pollard and Carl responded with solid performances.  Trevor Lacey was all over the court at the beginning of the game making defensive plays, but he did not have one of his better games offensive.  On the other hand, Releford had a great day and was very comfortable shooting the ball from his point guard position, going 5 of 8 from downtown.

The team looked flat overall for much of the game, and they especially got lazy on offense against the zone in the second half.  Charleston Southern is not a bad basketball team.  Their bad record is somewhat deceiving, as they are picked to win their conference and they played a good Arizona team within single digits on the road.  I was concerned we might have a bit of a let down, with the Bucs not being a big name opponent and coming off the wins in New York.

Charleston Southern was able to stay within shouting distance thanks to some sloppy play, missed open shots, and missed free throws.  Coach Grant picked up a technical foul after what appeared to be phantom offensive foul call on Moussa Gueye, allowing Charleston Southern to cut the lead to 4.  I am not sure that Grant intended to get the technical, but the team seemed re-energized from that point forward.  A CSU player committed a technical foul of his own a couple of minutes later, and the Tide never looked back.

It was a solid crowd considering the opponent and the other things going on Friday night..  I would say there was about 7,000 people there, but it was a late arriving crowd.  Up next, Pat Knight brings his Lamar Cardinals in from Beaumont, TX for a 7 pm tipoff at Coleman Coliseum Tuesday night.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Charleston Southern preview/stats

The game is the night before the Iron Bowl Alabama-Auburn game so I'm hoping there is a decent crowd for it. The last time we had a game the day before a football game didn't draw so well (South Dakota State). The University needs to get the word out to the football only fans that we do in fact have a game Friday evening. Saying that, I will not be attending as I'll be driving to T-town the following morning (I made opening night).

(Still testing page breaks- click title to read the rest)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bama wins 2k Sports Championship, 77-55 over Villanova

Trevor Releford replaced Devonta Pollard in the starting lineup, and responded by going 5 for 5 from downtown and leading us to a championship victory with 25 points.

I read a lot of comments following the Purdue-Villanova game about how we needed a tightly officiated game given how physical the wildcats were in the first round.  As it turned out, the quick whistles were to our detriment, as we got into a ton of foul trouble in the first half.  This is something we will have to deal with from time to time given our style of play and level of aggressiveness on defense.

We played the final 6 or 7 minutes of the first half without Lacey or Releford on the floor.  With six minutes left i told a UA fan sitting near me that I feel really good about things if we can keep it within 5 or so at halftime.  The lineup of Retin, Levi, Coop, Devonta, and Moose did a great job, especially defensively, to get us into the half with a 3 point lead.

Nova scored the first 2 baskets of the 2nd half to retake the lead, but the Tide dominated from there, cruising to a 20 point win.  They had all sorts of problems with our press and give Coach Grant credit for being willing to play more zone than he would probably like to slow down their post players.  Rodney Cooper had another good game with 17 points.  To win this easily when Lacey didn't even score his first points until 7 minutes remaining in the game was impressive.  Retin did a great job at backup point guard and is finally starting to show some of his potential in that role.  As I mentioned earlier, his play late in the first half while Releford was on the bench was a huge factor in the win.

Despite my reputation of being one of the biggest homers around here, I am going to caution our readers to curb your enthusiasm a little bit over this hot start.  Sure, it's great to be undefeated and bringing home the hardware from a neutral site tournament, but I fear this may be a "good names bad teams" situation.  Frankly, Purdue and Villanova just do not look like good basketball teams to me at this point, and Oregon State is decent but far from great.  It will be interesting to see how many, if any, or these teams make the NCAA tournament.  That being said, the team is playing with good chemistry and having a lot of fun right now.  You could see in their smiles how much they enjoyed getting their pictures taken with the trophy while Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" played in the Garden after the game.  A group of fans, myself included, stuck around after the game to congratulate the team as they left the court to go into the tunnel.  Moussa Gueye went out of his way to shake hands and give high fives to all the fans.  Coach Grant also thanked us for being there.

I have heard a lot of people express concerns over Devonta Pollard.  People expect a 5 star recruit to come in and produce at a high level immediately, but those are not always realistic expectations.  Pollard is going to be fine, he's a great athlete with a great attitude and he is working hard.  It's a long way from Kemper County, Mississippi to playing major D1 basketball.  This is the first time, probably in his life, when he has had to play the game without being, by far, the best player on the court.  As a result, it's the first time he has had to actually think about what he is doing on the court.  That is not a statement regarding his intelligence, but pointing out that he is having to take a completely different approach to playing the game.  I still expect him to be a solid contributor for us by the end of this season, and a star player next year.

We had more fans there for the championship game than we did Thursday night.  I would estimate 250 or so.  Villanova did not have as many as I expected them to, I would say maybe 4,000 or so.  They were not very vocal and it was never a road game type atmosphere like I feared.  Most of the 'Nova fans I encountered were pleasant and nice.  I met one Nova fan Thursday night who claimed that his brother, Ray Abruzzese, played for Coach Bryant and was Joe Namath's roommate.  He said he had some stories, as I'm sure you could imagine.  The Nova fans sitting behind us had some unkind words upon their departure late in the game, but they were probably as annoyed as I was with listening to a couple of ignorant Alabama fans that were sitting nearby in our section.  These people embodied every negative stereotype about the south, including criticizing the selection of Anna Swanson as honorary captain, because the wounded war veteran who happens to be an African American female Tide fan originally from Georgia, was "not Alabama enough."  I cringe at the thought of those nimrods walking around NYC all week purporting to represent our University.

Chris Stewart was on my flight back to Birmingham Saturday morning, and I had the pleasure of chatting with him at Laguardia and DTW airports.  He's a very nice guy and in my opinion does a great job on the radio broadcasts.   He is very high on Coach Grant and excited about Jimmy Taylor and Shannon Hale coming in next year.  He said he thinks we are going to be a very dangerous team in the near future under Coach Grant when everything comes together.

Up next, Charleston Southern comes to Coleman Coliseum for a 7pm tipoff on Black Friday.  Hopefully a lot of fans in town for the Bama-auburn football game will come out and support this basketball team.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bama Beats Beavers 65-62

A solid early season win on a neutral court over a decent team.  It started off somewhat sloppy again, with us playing from behind much of the first half.  Once again, Releford did not start, but he came in and had a huge game off the bench.  When he finally finds his way out of the doghouse and into the starting lineup, allowing Lacey to move over and start at the 2, I think we will see a big improvement with our early game struggles.

As expected, we had trouble with their inside game, but they also made some big 3s early in the game to put us in a 5 point hole.  We fought back to take a slim lead into the half, and then came out with more energy in the second half to take a 15 point lead.  While we were overmatched in the post, they had no answers for Releford and Lacey.  Releford had some great moves getting to the hole, and it was hilarious watching him smile at Starks while playing defense every possession after schooling him on offense.  As a side note, after all these years it is still fun seeing guards with the last name Starks lose in Madison Square Garden (Sorry Bobby).

Unfortunately, once we got the 15 point lead we seemed to take the pedal off the gas on offense.  Some of the credit belongs to Oregon State for making some defensive adjustments.    They prefer to play a man to man, and did most of the game, but they switched it up to a zone and a half court trapping zone for a few possessions after our run which seemed to throw us out of rhythm.   We also missed some key free throws that helped aid the Beavers come back.  Thankfully, we continued to play scrappy defense so despite going on a 7 minute scoring drought, it took Oregon State the remainder of the half to come back and tie the game.

Engstrom and Gueye did a serviceable job defensively despite being overmatched, and Carl even contributed with a couple of baskets before fouling out of the game.  Nick Jacobs was as we have come to expect, pretty good with the rock but disappointing defensively.  Pollard had a rough night, and Retin barely saw the court.  Oddly enough, Dakota Slaughter even got into the game for a brief moment before halftime. As the season goes on and Pollard gets more experience and adjusts to the game, our depth will improve.  I still think Retin will play a meaningful role on this team too before all is said and done.

Coach Grant did a nice job of managing the last minute or so of the game, and give the team credit for not panicking.  Rodney Cooper came up huge with the game winning 3 with 12 seconds remaining.

I said this a couple of years ago when we were here for the NIT, but Madison Square Garden is a great place to watch a basketball game.  I had awesome seats right behind the basket, I was pro.  bably 12 feet from the baseline.  I am in the same row tonight but closer to the goal.  You can really appreciate how great of a shooting background it is, and it's no wonder some of the greatest to ever play the game consider it their favorite venue.  The concourses and concessions, etc are all very nice and first class.  My only complaints are that it's not very well labeled at all, you have to go up to the middle level before coming in to go back down to the floor seats, and I don't like how the teams come in and out of the same tunnel, as that seems like a recipe for disaster.  I am hoping we will be the home team tonight so I will be closer to our bench and band, I was right next to the OSU bench last night.  

The crowd was very sparse, but was starting to fill up towards the end for the Villanova-Purdue game.  I would say our crowd was split close to 50-50 with the Oregon State fans.  In a city the size of New York, most D1 schools will have a solid local alumni base.  From the people I talked to before and after the game, I got the impression most did not travel here.  The OSU fans were decidedly more vocal than ours,  I would imagine it sounded like they had us badly outnumbered on TV.  I've always liked the Beavers due to the Mike Riley football connections, but I'm sorry to report their fans were generally obnoxious.  A group sitting behind us was unnecessarily disrespectful to our players for most of the game, and after we made the game winning shot another group of them started a "Johnny Football" chant.  

Up next, we take on the Villanova Wildcats for the championship in about 3 hours.  They came from behind to beat Purdue in overtime last night.  It will feel like a road game tonight.  When I left after the conclusion of our game the Villanova fans were filing in.  Both Nova and Purdue each already had more than 4 times the number of UA and OSU fans combined at that point.  Purdue travels well and Villanova plays here a good bit, being just a short train ride away in Philly.  I'm off to the UA NYC alumni pregame party then on to the game.  Due to travel and other obligations, I probably won't be able to post a recap until sometime Sunday.  

Villanova Wildcats preview- 2K Sports Classic

Thankfully we are not playing Purdue which seemed to be our Southern Miss of football lately. :)

Nova came back from 7 down in the final minute to take it to OT where they beat Purdue 89-81. Actually, they tied the game at 75 at the :43 mark (7 unanswered in 17 seconds?). They were ice cold in the 2nd half otherwise.

I think they are going to give us fits inside with with some of their giants (Ochelu, Yarou, and Sutton) as well as potential match-up problems with Pinkston. They will have to figure out how to guard Lacey and Releford.

Season stats

James Bell and Ryan Arcidiacono didn't play well yesterday, but those are the two we should key in on. Arcidiacono and Releford matching up should be fun to watch. Darrun Hilliard was their star last night and also one to watch offensively. Nova is a fairly young team with 9 FR/SO.

Keys to the game:
- Continue shooting the ball well from outside
- Limit offensive rebounds
- Establish something inside
- Keep the game in the low 70s

The win last night showed the good and the bad... the good was we held Oregon St off, but the bad was going over 7 minutes without a FG to let the Beavers back in the game. We can't do that tonight and win.

Gametime is 7:30PM EST (6:30PM CST) on ESPN2.

Sorry for any typos... 

Alias Asks

I apologize for not having pulled my weight on here the past few months.  Hopefully things will calm down in the near future. 

I got home in time to watch the last 5 minutes of the game - the time during which we blew a 15 point lead. After my wife went to bed, I watched the first 10-12 minutes of the first half.  I would like to ask the rest of you some questions about the team.  Please understand these are just questions and are based on only a few minutes of one game watched while I was very tired.  Nothing here should not be construed to demean any players or coaches in any way. 

I have heard that Pollard is the second coming of Antonio McDyess.  I trust and hope that is true but did not see much last night to reinforce the reputation.  Is Pollard adjusting to the speed of the game? Is he being tentative because he is trying to learn Grant’s way of playing?   He must be doing a lot of things right because he starts and plays significant minutes.

I saw Engstrom do a couple of decent things that encouraged me about his continued improvement. He grabbed a couple of rebounds and hit open spots underneath the basket where he cleanly fielded a passes and scored a bucket or two. He still gets beat  too much on defense, but I think I see improvement.

Releford appears to have bulked up and does not seem to be upset by not starting the games. I cannot tell whether the bulk has impacted his quickness.  One reason I like to watch him play is that he always seems to be having fun. 

I hope Gueye can get and stay healthy this season because we really need him.  Wasn’t he supposed to be the No. 1 JuCo center his freshman year?  I am hoping to see that on the court.

Who is Obasohan? I’d never heard of him until I saw his name on the roster.  I know we needed a guard to replace Hankerson and Eblin, but do any of you know anything about him?  How has he played so far this year? 

I love college basketball season and I hope I can get some of this other junk out of the way because this could be a fun one.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

No preview for Oregon St

I'm stuck watching curling. Thankfully I can watch on the innernets.

I'll be honest it's going to be tough for me to put these up regularly, but I'll try to get as many previews up as I can throughout the season.

Oregon St is predicted 8th in the Pac-12. I suspect they'll finish in the middle. They crushed Niagra and took care of New Mexico State in their 'warm-up' games.

Should be a close game... I think we'll have to score 70 to win this one.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Alabama Tames Tigers, 80-49

Alabama did what it should have done on Sunday, decisively beat a D-2 opponent. Trevor Lacey led the team in scoring with 23 points. Rodney Cooper and Trevor Releford also finished in double digits with 16 and 14 points. Releford once again did not start. Anthony Grant became annoyed when he was asked about Releford's status in the postgame press conference, claiming there is no issue behind his decision to not start him. To Releford's credit, he hasn't shown any signs of being affected by the change and has played well in the first two games.

It's tough to take too much away from a game like this. Due to the fact that these early season tournaments have trouble at times in filling their tournament field with D-1 schools, Alabama was essentially forced to play a team that they would never have scheduled outside of an exhibition type of affair. Due in part perhaps to the opponent, a small fan turnout (the attendance was listed as 10,443, but Alex Scarborough twitted there were only "dozens of fans"), and the general funk Tuscaloosa must have been in following the football loss, the team once again got off to a slow start before turning up the heat in the second half and pulling away.

The positives: Alabama shot 9-19 (47.4%) from the 3-pt line. Lacey himself went 5-5. Alabama's defense improved over the course of the game. They held West Alabama to 32% shooting for the game (19% from the 3-pt line), while also forcing a total of 24 turnovers.

Retin Obasohan played in his first game of the season after missing the first two games with an injured finger. It was a bit of a mixed bag as he logged 11 minutes in which time he had 2 rebounds and 2 assists, but also missed his only two shot attempts and had two turnovers before fouling out of the game.

The negatives: Alabama should not be out-rebounded by West Alabama....ever. In fact, the inside game as a whole was severely lacking in this game. Pollard had a solid game with 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks, but Jacobs, Gueye and Engstrom only combined for 6 points and 5 rebounds. As Anthony Grant said in his postgame comments, that is unacceptable. No one is asking these guys to be double double machines, but they have to rebound the ball better and Jacobs has to provide some offensive presence in the paint. In Jacobs defense, he has been battling an ankle injury. Nevertheless, as the games get tougher, the guys in the middle are going to have play, ahem, bigger. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

West Alabama info/link and thoughts on SD St and A&M football game

West Alabama
This is West Alabama's (formerly Livingston St for hose keeping score at home) 1st game of the season so there's not a lot out there about the team. They are preseason 4th in the Gulf South Conference with 1 first place vote in a conference of 8 teams. Steven Samuels is preseason 1st team.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bama beats bunnies at buzzer

I neglected to bring my computer ttown this weekend, and am posting this from my phone so I apologize in advance for any typos.

Early in the game we were awful against the zone.  Lacey started at the pont again, leading me to believe Releford must be in the dog house.  We were down 13 late in the first half, but was able to turn the game around by forcing turnovers in the back court and attacking the  asket against the zone.  At the end of the game we finally went 2 for 1 and it paix off with Lacey hitting the game winner.

Up next, West Alabama tomorrow at 4pm.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Alabama 76 Stillman 68 in Exhibition

First of all, I apologize for the delay in posting the recap.  Other obligations have been keeping me busy.  Hopefully Bobbyjack won't fire me, as I don't know how I would handle the loss of income.

It's hard to tell anything by these exhibition games, as we generally use them to experiment while our opponents play very determined basketball.  UAH has taken us down to the wire the last couple of years, and frankly, even though they may have beaten us, I wish we would have played them this year instead of Stillman.  Their style would have better prepared us for the Jackrabbits coming in tomorrow night.

Game 1- South Dakota St Jackrabbits

You'd think we'd ease into the regular season with a pansy... OH NO WE DIDN'T! The Jackrabbits made the NCAA Tournament last year and feel momentum. So much momentum that they unveiled new uniforms! It's obviously the reason they are picked to win the Summit (close to unanimous).

A poll of Summit League coaches, sports information directors and media selected South Dakota State as the overwhelming favorite to win the 2012-13 Summit League Championship according to the preseason poll released on Tuesday.

The Jackrabbits received 30-of-31 first-place votes (coaches may not vote for their own team) after claiming the 2012 Summit League Tournament title and representing the league in the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Scott Nagy returns four starters and 8-of-10 letterwinners from last season's squad that finished 27-8 overall and 15-3 in Summit League play. 

Rest of the article from their official website. 

Click title link to read the rest.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Tide Overcomes Stillman in Exhibition

I did not have a way to watch this game tonight so I'm going off of the Gametracker numbers. I'm sure one of our esteemed writers attended the game and will provide a full recap.

First and foremost: Alabama wins the game, 76-68. By all accounts, Alabama played very poorly in the first half, had a solid second half run, but then stunk it up again towards the end. Nick Jacobs was the leading scorer with 16 points and 5 rebounds. Devonta Pollard had a solid first outing, stats wise, finishing with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Obviously the competition will step up in the coming days, but nonetheless a nice first game for the freshman. Lacey and Moussa Gueye also posted double digits with 13 and 14 points.

Engstrom, Steele, and, surprisingly, Obasohan did not play tonight. Engstrom and Steele was expected as Grant announced they were dealing with injuries in his last press conference. Grant mentioned in the postgame that Obasohan did not play due to a finger injury that required stitches. The time table for his return is unknown.

Trevor Releford had a very poor start to his junior season. He finished with 8 points on 2-9 shooting. It also appears he did not start the game. Instead, Lacey started the game at point. Rodney Cooper also struggled a bit, finishing with 6 points on 3-7 shooting.

They say stats don't lie. If that's the case, shooting remains a problem. It's only one game, but it's difficult to feel confident when you look at a stat line of 1-8 3-pt shooting and 15-23 FT shooting. Stillman only posted a 60% FT number or this game could have been closer in the last minute. Alabama also turned the ball over 17 times! (say that in your Ed Rooney voice) Again, it's early and there is plenty of time to improve, but Bama must make some major improvements on offense before South Dakota State visits on Friday or they're looking at an 0-1 start.

The defensive numbers look good, as expected. Stillman only shot a little over 37% (25% 3-pt), but did hold their own with Bama on the boards, only losing the rebounding battle by 7. Bama did force 17 turnovers, but their own 17 turnovers washes that out.

Final thoughts: We say it every year, but Bama has to improve their three-point shooting. Period. Moussa Gueye dropping 14 points is encouraging, but can he do it against legitimate competition? If he does, the front court play should be fine along with Jacobs and Pollard. Dakota Slaughter played eight minutes and shot the ball five times, making one. Keon Blackledge also logged one minute of game time, but did not score.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Preseason game- vs Stillman 11/6

Game is 8PM EST (7PM CST). You can watch it on (subscription), listen to it on the radio (in AL), or find an internet feed to listen to.

Quick notes on Stillman:
- ended last season 17-11
- one player taller than 6'7"
- 3 of their top 4 scorers return this year
- Damian Ford is the only outside threat (.387 from 3)

Prediction: we should beat them by 24. unless their incoming freshman bring something new to the table, they can't take advantage of any of our weaknesses. I hope we use this 'scrimmage' to work inside with Jacobs/Gueye/Engstrom/Pollard, get a few good open 3 looks for Lacey and Cooper, and have Releford get back to driving the lane (which disappeared towards the end of last season).