Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Bama's Season Takes a Step Back in Loss to Flyers

I once tried to explain to a friend of mine just how difficult it is to be an Alabama basketball fan. The best I could do was compare the Alabama basketball program to the girl you meet who appears to be great on the surface. You go out a few times, things get off to a great start, but then, without warning, things go awry and you simply want it to end as quickly and painlessly as possible.

I have no desire to attempt an insightful recap of the game tonight. It was a horrible performance by Alabama, end of story. Yet another poor offensive performance punctuated by a defensive performance that allowed Dayton to shoot just under 50% (42% from 3-pt), sent the Flyers to the charity stripe 27 times, where they made 21. Dayton also out-rebounded our guys and routinely beat them up and down the floor. Horrible effort by the team.

And to add injury to insult, Moussa Gueye left the game in the second half with a leg injury. No word on the severity of the injury yet, but it looked like a knee injury. If Moussa and now Carl miss time, Alabama suddenly becomes much smaller. 

This loss may come back to haunt Alabama in March. The non-conference schedule was already light on heavyweights, and in case you haven't noticed, the SEC, outside of Florida, has been stinking it up. Alabama can not count on the SEC for many quality wins, at least not in the conference's present state. Bottom line: the December 15th game at VCU is suddenly looking like a must-win. And this team, for the love of James Brown, must avoid any further "bad" losses.

And I would count this loss as bad. Dayton has been far from a great team so far this season. At best, they may only prove to be a middle-of-the-pack A-10 team when all is said and done. This is one that I'm sure Alabama would like to have back when March rolls around.

If depth becomes a concern, Grant's decision to sign only one player in the offseason suddenly becomes a questionable one. The team has ten days to rest up and get its mind right for what should be a difficult affair at VCU. Hopefully they can get back on track.


bamalib said...

This team looks EXHAUSTED ! They looked exhausted even in the first 60 seconds after tip-off. It was as if the hard-fought Cincinnati game was only 10 hours ago. We were slow. We were undisciplined. We were lackadaisical. We were without willpower. We were error-prone. We were unfocused on defense and allowed too many wide-open shots, too many entry-passes into the lane, too many turnovers as a result of pure carelessness, and too many offensive charges committed also.
What's going on with this team? Its fate in this game was revealed in the VERY FIRST MINUTE of this game.

I trust all this is just situational and won't be a pattern or a characteristic of the team. Although the amount of offense was ridiculously low, I'm pleased that it was "balanced", as ALMOST FIVE Bama players scored in double-figures, but much of their points were not so much from field-goals, but rather from free-throws, which they did an excellent job with (freethrows around 80% or 90%).

How desperately we need an steady offensive threat in the paint, but there's no existence of it yet.

finebammer said...

our greatest Alabama basketball coach, Wimp Sanderson, said it many moons ago:

good teams defend home court.

offense comes and goes. your defensive intensity is under your direct control. how you play defense is up to you.

i'll take partial responsibility for this loss. i bragged on them after the cincy game. bad juju.

but going back a few seasons, this team seems to have the same problem our football team does: they play better away from coleman.

the football program can overcome that. 'bama b'ball can't. this is a program that needs fans. fans aren't going to show up and watch 2nd and 3rd rate performance. (especially on week nites)

the injuries can be devastating. if gueye and engstrom are out for a long stretch, it's not gonna be pretty.

(funny to hear those who belittled gueye and engstrom's play last year fret over their absence now)

but that doesn't excuse lack of effort. you've got to go out there and play your ass off every game.


and grant's challenge is to get that effort. and to be honest, he doesn't have a very good track record in that area during his tenure in tuscaloosa.

MSmilie said...

Finebammer: Okay, I blame you for the loss last night. I can live with that.

Who belittled Gueye and Engstrom's play a year ago? Furthermore, what does any opinion regarding those two players last year have anything to do with those players this year?

Gueye played sparingly last season due to injury and Engstrom was simply unable to deal with athletic post players. While Engstrom has improved, Gueye has simply not brought much to the table in my opinion. Nevertheless, with no other big men and Nick Jacob's struggles so far, Gueye and Engstrom are needed.

I agree with the rest of your post. Effort has nothing to do with talent. And while Anthony Grant has been able to get maximum effort from our guys most nights, there have been a few games in which the team played so poorly it's bewildering. I can deal with a loss as long as our guys bring the maximum effort as they did at Cincinnati.

This game reminded me of the Vandy game a year ago. That was another home game that you felt the team should win, but a piss poor effort resulted in an ugly loss. If Grant is truly going to move this program forward, they have got to stop losing games like this.

Do I think the team can rebound from this performance? Sure. My concern is that there still doesn't seem to be a leader on the floor. A guy who will get in someone's face and bring a little energy when the team is flat. A scrapper, a glue guy. If you want to be a great team, you have to have a guy like that. Bama really hasn't had someone like that since Chris Hines. As a result the team has lacked toughness at times.

Anonymous said...

First time post...BAMA's Post players should never be out near the three point line EVER.
Moussa Gueye was injured guarding a player near the three point line...where are the coaches?

The offense runs a three man weave on top of the key with no screens
to speak of and drive into the middle of the paint, out of control, with no plan then kick it out and jack-up a three point shot.
BTW, you can run a motion offense against against a zone. Smart coaches do!

crimsontider said...

Its kinda like deja vu from last year, last second loss to a really good big east team, and then laying an egg against Dayton. A win against VCU would make up for this but hard to be optimistic, Anthony Grant's teams at Alabama seem to always regress with each loss. Great article on being an Alabama Basketball fan, its very furustrating. Hope things change.

finebammer said...

M: "A guy who will get in someone's face and bring a little energy when the team is flat. A scrapper, a glue guy."


first time anon: "BAMA's Post players should never be out near the three point line EVER.
Moussa Gueye was injured guarding a player near the three point line...where are the coaches?"

many injuries occur due to failure to focus and half-assed effort.

LickCreek said...

This loss didnt have anything to do with not having our post players. We are better off playing our guards and small forwards most of the time anyway because our bigs have proven to be a liability. The problem this game was our guards werent cutting anyone off and werent playing the type of defense they have been all year. I honestly think losing Steele hurts worse than Carl. Look at Steeles numbers compared to Carl, and not to mention his leadership on the floor. Jacobs should be starting in the post anyway, even though he hasnt played that well this year. He at least has basketball instincts that the other two do not have.

Anonymous said...

This is why I hate blogs, lets try again.

Moussa Gueye has little mobility and should NEVER be out at the three point line playing defense.
This is a coaching issue.
Doesn't matter who is in the game.
Post players should not be playing defense at the three point line.

I'm talking about coaching.

Crimsontider said...

This team is good, what they need is a leader, I agree with one of the commentators above. Bama needs a "Pettway" in the worse way, a guy who will rally the troops when we're down, and If we get one watch out.

Anonymous said...

Ya know, players take after their coach. CAG is the Lovie Smith of college basketball - virtually no emotion. If HE can't rally the team, how can you expect a player to do it?