Saturday, December 15, 2012

VCU Dominates Alabama

Actually, dominate may be too nice a word for what VCU did to Alabama today in a 73-54 defeat that wasn't as close as the final score. VCU physically abused Alabama from the start of the game to the finish. Even late in the game when the contest was well and truly decided, VCU continued to press Alabama and force them into turnovers and bad shots. The VCU defense was so stifling, Alabama couldn't even set up its less than stellar half court offense. It was as thorough an ass whipping as I've seen in a while.

While I thought Alabama came out with better energy on the defensive end than what we saw against Dayton, it didn't last very long as VCU overwhelmed them and, to quote another Alabama head coach, "made their ass quit". There's no way to tie a bow on this one, folks. Alabama was punched, kicked, trampled, spit on and the bullying was so effective that VCU didn't even feel the need to take Bama's wallet.

I have been a Grant supporter since day one and I still believe this team can turn it around, but he has to instill some toughness in these guys. They got pushed around today and did little to push back. Say what you want to about JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell's offcourt antics, but those guys played with a chip on their shoulders on the court, something this team sorely needs right now.

The only real bright spot today was the play of Devonta Pollard who played hard from start to finish, subsequently putting together one of his better games. He finished with 13 pts on 5-7 shooting (3-4 FT) and added 8 rebounds. With the continuing struggles inside, Pollard may find himself back in the starting line-up.

Carl Engstrom may not have been the second coming of Patrick Ewing, but he was the most productive big man we had up to this point. His injury looms large now because Moussa and Nick are simply bringing nothing to the table. Nick Jacobs in particular has been a train wreck so far this season after putting together a solid freshman season. I'm not sure if he's just not healthy or just not involved, but he has to find himself quickly or risk losing minutes as Pollard develops and the new guys come in next season.

And I think Dakota Slaughter deserves more minutes. As a walk-on he values his minutes and plays hard when he's in the game. As bad as Bama has been in the paint this season, it can't hurt to give the guy more minutes. Not to mention, it's the best name on the team.

It's hard to know what to expect of this Alabama team moving forward, but it's officially gut check time for these guys Another bad loss or two prior to conference play could officially put a cap on the season before it even really gets rolling. People love to say that the college basketball regular season is largely meaningless, but what you do in November and December determines where you play in March. If Alabama can't figure things out quickly, it could turn out to be a very long season.


Anonymous said...

I like Coach Grant but I believe we are witnessing the beginning of the end.... I hope I'm wrong.
Wait, I can help.
Here are some fundamental suggestions that will make a difference:

1. Stop picking up your dribble so much on offense.
2. To break a press...get the ball in before the defense sets up...pass first, then dribble. This leads to layups on the other end.
3. If a team overplays you on defense...take it to the hoop.
4. Have preset out of bounds plays!

At times it looked like a high school team in disarray. Maybe things will get better.

crimsontider said...

you can't tell me Anthony Grant sitting there with his hands to his face, cluelessly, and bored did not bother you. I like Grant to, but this team has no fundementals or leadership, and that's coaching. There is not much to be optimistic about this problem.

crimsontider said...

Also, What did this team do for the past 10 days? come on coach Grant.

Anonymous said...

So here is what can be done right now.
Mal Moore can contract someone like Bill Walton to come in and work with the post players. Alabama has the money to do this.
That way you are not making coaching changes in the middle of the season. Something has to be done right now. The inside
game is non-existent.
Don't broadcast it to the public...just do it!!!!

MSmilie said...

Crimsontider: In Grant's defense, there wasn't much coaching that could be done at that point in the game. Maybe at some point our guys will get tired of picking their asses up off the floor and they will hit back in one of these games.

I do think he's concerned about this team though. This is a team devoid of toughness or leadership right now and I see nothing on the horizon to suggest that will change. The team was able to overcome similar circumstances a year ago when things looked grim. I just hope they can do it again. As always, I'll keep pulling for them to turn it around.

As far as the ten day break, the guys came out okay, but VCU was so physically dominant that they took any and everything Bama wanted to do off the table. There was simply nothing our guys could do. I have to give VCU some credit. I haven't seen a team play that kind of defense since Nolan Richardson's best teams. They would have been a load for a lot of teams today.

finebammer said...

"And I think Dakota Slaughter deserves more minutes. As a walk-on he values his minutes and plays hard when he's in the game."

agreed. (think i just felt a little earth tremor) this is the same thing i said last year about gueye and engstrom. let the guys that show they want to be out there play. they may not be the best players.

i choose 'want to' over talent any day. motivate with your bench. i'll accept the losses.

crimsontider said...

Bottom line: This team quit, this team has no toughness, my problem is that Anthony Grant's teams always regress after each loss, the problem with this team is coaching. You can't spin this one, im sorry no excuses, this was a complete embarassement, and something has to change or else......

crimsontider said...

"I haven't seen that kind of defense since some of Nolan Richardson's best teams" You could say that about half the teams that get the privelage of playing Bama's inept half court offense

MSmilie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The big-man coach is definitely needed. So are a million other things.
Grant is in over his head. Next time, I want a proven head coach.

Crimsontider said...

The problem with this team is coaching, it is really not that hard to see.

MSmilie said...

Guys, can we wait until the season is over before it's concluded that Grant is "in over his head"? My god, overreact much? Everyone thought the season was lost a year ago after the suspensions, but he was able to rally the troops then. Let's just see how this plays out. Geez.

I'm starting to think a majority of Alabama fans don't or can't understand how difficult the Alabama basketball gig is. The resources and support are nothing like what the better programs in the country receive. I know you guys don't want to hear that, but it's the truth. I would argue that when you take into account the difficulties of trying to build a program with minimal support and a largely apathetic fanbase that Grant has done a pretty solid job so far in two postseason appearances in three years. The team is struggling right now, no doubt, but let's just chill and see what happens. If the season goes down the toilet, you have my blessing to criticize to your heart's content.

Crimsontider said...

I am fully aware that Alabama is not Kentucky, but we have been a proud program, and can't continue to accept mediocrity. If we do not make the tournament this year, some people have to start losing their jobs

LickCreek said...

Did Coach Grant even watch film on VCU? We had 10 days off and still couldnt prepare to break a press?? They werent even setting screens to get each other open and once they got the ball inbound they looked like they didnt know what to do. Also, this is Grants 4th year and he has not recruited a single big man that is worth a flip.
We really need to win out the rest of the non-conference games. The only good news is the SEC isnt looking to stout.

bamalib said...

Personally, I don't think the best coach in the world could do much with this roster dominated by young sophomores/freshmen and injury-prone upperclassmen and imbalanced personnel.

Yes, it's hard, and painful, and frustrating and discouraging right now, but really I believe that these players' games are going to blossom. Right now they are committing multiple errors with ball-handling and movement, and these things can be overcome to certain extent. Alabama already has earned 6 victories out of nine games this season by doing something right, so I have no reason to doubt they can return to form, especially as they realize they are getting closer and closer to going over the Cliff for invitations to the March Madness Party.

LickCreek said...

bamalib, i agree it wouldnt have mattered who our coach was Saturday, but I was most dissapointed that our boys didnt look prepared for the game. It looked like they didnt have a clue that VCU was going to play that style of game. I just felt like the effort wasnt there overall. These are the type of teams you are going to run into in March. We do have a junior point guard with a lot of playing experience, and these sophomores have a lot of experience, and are no different than all the other sophomores that are playing at a high level for other colleges around the nation. In these days of college basketball sophomore have to play at a high level.