Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tide Tackles Texas Aggies, 50-49.

Trevor Releford returned from his injury and played 31 minutes off the bench to lead all scorers with 15 points.  If he was healthy enough to do that, I question why he was not starting.  I have theorized that the plethora of starting lineup combinations that we have used may be a contributing factor to our slow starts this season.  I don't know if there is anything to it or not, but once again we used an odd lineup of Lacey, Steele, Randolph, Cooper, and Gueye.  If Releford was healthy enough play, as he obviously was, he should have been starting at PG, and I also believe Nick Jacobs earned a starting spot with his career high double-double against State ahead of Moussa Gueye.

Lacey started the game by knocking down a 3, but 10 minutes would pass before we scored again.  At that point, we were on pace to score 12 points for the game.  Thankfully we played good enough defense to keep it to a manageable 15-3 margin.  There are a couple of ways of looking at this:  On the one hand, it's fairly remarkable to be able to overcome a scoring drought that lasts a quarter of the game and still win.  On the other hand, only bad teams go 10 minutes without scoring a single point.  It's great that we can keep fighting and overcome adversity, but it's also concerning that we can't play a 40 minute game.   As with most things, I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle.

We were very tentative on offense in the first half.  The mid-range game that sparked us in the last couple of wins was non-existent, and we were back to shooting exclusively from 3 point range or from the low post.  Our missed shots were preventing us from setting up the press, so the defense was not able to force any turnovers to create any offense either.  We went into the half down 26-15.

Our substitution patterns did not make much sense to me this game.  Nick Jacobs scored to break the long drought and he was promptly taken out at the next dead ball.  Lacey was also taken out at one point when he had the hot hand.  Nick Jacobs played 23 minutes to Moussa's 17.  I would like to see this split move more in the direction of 28/12 for Jacobs.  I know Jacobs is a liability on defense, but he seems to be improving in that area.  Gueye brings absolutely nothing to the table on offense.   I think this is a perfect example of Coach Grant putting a little too much emphasis on defense at the expense of offensive production.

Coach Grant must have delivered the best halftime speech of all time, because we looked like a completely different team to start the second half.  We had a focus, intensity, and mental sharpness that simply wasn't there in the first half.  Again, Lacey got us started with a 3, and then the defense turned up the press, forced some turnovers, and we aggressively attacked the basket on offense.  By the first media timeout, the Aggie lead was gone and the gym was rocking.  The Aggies answered  with a run of their own to take a 5 point lead, but Coach Grant called a timeout and we were able to answer.

I think we did an excellent job of clock management at the end of the game.  It was a back and forth game, and Coach Grant used his timeouts at the right time and made solid offense/defense substitutions down the stretch.  We trailed by 1 with 19 seconds left, and Coach Grant called timeout and drew up a play that gave Lacey a good matchup.  Trevor created his own shot and made it with 8 seconds remaining, then Releford was able to come up with a loose ball as we forced a turnover in the back court to put the game away.

I think the announced attendance of 13,000+ was pretty accurate.  It was a good crowd, but with the number of people in town for the BCS celebration it should have been a sell out.  I spoke to a number of people earlier at the parade and they had no idea there was a basketball game even being played.  It would have been very easy for Eli Gold to make a brief mention of the basketball game during the BCS Championship celebration.  Our marketing of this basketball program is beyond pathetic.

Up next, the defending National Champion Kentucky Wildcats come in for an 8pm tipoff Tuesday night at Coleman Coliseum.  This is an opportunity for another solid RPI win at home.  If you can't make it to Ttown, the game will be televised on ESPN.


Rocky Mountain High Tide said...

I was about as pissed at Bama basketball in the first half as I've ever been. It was painful to watch. But we won and I move on. I can just see this team winning 13-14 conference games, getting squarely on the bubble, and then not getting in because of that lost December.

I saw a couple of posts on another Bama site that referred to Saban giving the basketball team a speech at halftime. Anyone know if this was true or not? I could see Saban being at the game and getting pissed off enough to show up in the locker room.

Alex said...

I know that Jacobs had annoyed Grant during the offseason because he put on alot of bad pounds and didn't adhere to his summer workouts. Also Releford was mysteriously not starting at the beginning of the year so it makes me think maybe those two are in the coaches dog house. I've noticed in nearly every single press conference coach Grant has Randolph and Steele talking to the media. Maybe there are some discipline issues on the team.

DJC said...

Alex, I could see that with regards to Releford, also keep in mind he spent his summer in Kansas City rather than Tuscaloosa. Not sure if that has any significance but it's worth noting.

I disagree regarding Jacobs though. Coach Grant specifically mentioned his "hard work in the off season" at the preseason Tide Pride practice, and he actually LOST 15 lbs in the offseason. I agree he was disappointing early in the season, and his defense still has a ways to go, but he's been playing a lot better the last few games.

Rocky Mountain, I did not hear that regarding Saban, but if true...if things don't work out with Coach Grant, I would be okay with letting Coach Saban take over and coach both football and basketball. It's been done in the past, and he could hire an assistant to handle the X's and O's of basketball, while he focuses on recruiting, organization, and motivation.

Crimsontider said...

If Alabama beats Kentucky, you have to like our NCAA tournament chances. We currently have an RPI of 59 and a SOS of 47, which is not bad. Unfortunately our weak SEC schedule will likely drive those numbers down.

DJC said...

Crimsontider, it's going to take a lot more than beating a down UK team with a 50+ RPI at home before I will "like our chances." We could go 14-4 in the conference, and unless one of those wins is @ Florida (which isn't happening) we are probably going to be on the wrong side of the bubble. Our RPI is about to take a big hit with 8 100-150ish teams in a row on the schedule coming up. We need to go 15-3 without losing to any of the aforementioned bad teams or win the SEC tournament.

That being said, if we can beat UK it's definitely a start. Win the next two, and we are in position to at least play our way back onto the bubble.

finebammer said...

reality check:

ncaa tourney??

win: regular season champ.

sec tournament champ.

that's it guys.

i dont think this team or this coach has that in them.

Anonymous said...

a more experienced mature team next year will, however, especially if another great recruit can be added.

DJC said...

Florida will be SEC regular season champions. I'm going to go ahead and crown their asses.

The tournament should be wide open this year. We have as good of a shot as anybody.