Saturday, February 08, 2014

Florida Flushes Tide, 78-69

After being outscored by 40-something before getting out first points in the last 5 games, Coach Grant decided to change things up and go with his 12th different starting lineup this year.  This one consisted of 1. Relly, 2. Key, 3. Hale, 4. Coop, and 5. Jacobs.  It didn't work, as the Gators jumped out on us 8-0.  I didn't mind the starting lineup so much as the decision to open the game in a man to man defense.  Last time we played these guys, we were pretty much able to keep it close with them the whole game running zone.  Generally speaking, when the other team is better/more athletic than you at every position on the floor, it's normally not a good idea to play man.  When we switched to the 1-3-1 with soft trapping we had our most success and were able to come back and take the lead.

It was tied at halftime, but Florida got hot from 3 point range against our 2-3 zone and we had a number of turnovers allowing Florida to run out to a 15 point lead.  Give the team credit for continuing to battle and actually getting the margin back down to a somewhat manageable and respectable 7 points at one point.

Releford had another great game, but he had absolutely no help.  Relly scored 25 points, and nobody else was in double figures.  Jimmie Taylor played his best game so far, and I don't understand why we didn't go to his jump hook in the post after he went 3 for 3 in the first half.  Nick Jacobs did not take advantage of his start, he was poor on defense as usual and only scored 5 points with 2 rebounds.  Carl Engstrom has went from starting to only playing 3 minutes today.

A couple of key plays stick out in my mind.  We were only down 3 with around 17 minutes to go in the game, and Cooper missed a wide open 3 from the corner, Florida immediately made a 3 at the other end to double their lead.  That started the run that Florida would eventually make a 15 point margin.  Late in the game, we had cut it to 7 with 1:40 left and got a defensive stop and had Releford open on a run out that would have quickly cut the lead to 5, but Retin made a bad pass leading to a turnover.  That pretty much ended any hope of a comeback.

Algie Key really needs to make better decisions with the basketball.  His 6 turnovers were horrible, including screwing up a 4 on 1 fast break opportunity.  While it was the right call, I hate the rule that led to his intentional foul call early in the game.  Basically, any contact with the elbows to the head is to be called an intentional foul.  I understand the concern about concussions, etc, but I think it gives the defense an unfair advantage when they can get so close to you once you pick up your dribble that a natural passing motion is impossible without picking up a foul.  Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I actually played basketball, we were taught to "chin and spin it" on rebounds, and to "clear out" with the elbows if a defender was reaching or crowding if you picked up your dribble.  The game has changed, and I'm not sure it's for the better.

Watching games on TV can be frustrating at times.  There were 2 occasions where the whistle blew, but they didn't show the officials nor did the announcers let us know what was going on.  At one point when we were making our comeback, after we scored there was a whistle, and Florida made a substitution, but there was no explanation as to why play was stopped.  I see in the box score that we were given a bench warning at some point, so I suspect that was the cause.  One time when we were down 8, I think, we had a good trap in the back court and Florida appeared to turn the ball over, but the whistle blew and Florida was awarded possession, again no explanation of the call.  I'm still in the dark over that one, play resumed too quickly for there to have been a foul called.

Also, Duke Vitale needs to shut his pie hole.  To hear him tell it, Coach Grant would have us in the elite 8 if only Lacey and Pollard were still on the team.  We could use Lacey's shot and we would be better, but there was certainly no guarantee that Pollard would even start for this team.  As is always the case with him, it's not enough for him to state his opinion once, he has to yell it ad nauseam the entire game.  He gave me a headache.

Up next, we return to the friendly confines of Coleman Coliseum to take on the Ole Miss Rebels and their Eminem wannabe at 8pm Tuesday night.  The game will be televised on ESPNU.


crimsontider said...

Vitale seems to have quite the man crush on CAG. I especially loved the part where he ripped Alabama fans for expecting "Instant gratification." I guess in his opinion, if you were hoping to get some production out of this overpaid hack after five years, your expectations were too high. Unfortunately, Bill Battle seems to feel the same way. Did anyone read his latest "Battle Plan" on

Msmilie said...

I read it. He wasn't defending Grant or the losing, he was imploring people to have patience and continue to support the student-athletes. I see nothing wrong with that approach.

Here's the thing. A lot of people inside the university/athletic department like this "overpaid hack" (really classy) and want to see him succeed. Therefore, he's probably going to be given another year to get things turned around despite the objections of those such as yourself. He had three good seasons prior to this year so that's another thing in his favor. So, you know, continue to leave the same goddamn comment here post after post after post after post.

crimsontider said...

What "Good seasons" are you referring to? Do you consider the NIT "Good?"

Msmilie said...

25, 21 and 23 win seasons are considered good seasons by rational folks. At least by people who hire/fire. Grant's probably coming back, CT. The sooner you accept that, the better your blood pressure will be.

crimsontider said...

The 20 win season you, and the other three remaining Grant fanboys constantly bring up, as a knee jerk defense, are a complete product of the weak schedules we have had in recent years. We had the weakest SEC schedule of any team in the conference, and played one or two good teams in non conference play. Last year we were 10-11 vs. winning teams. Do you know how many top 50 teams we beat last year? 0. Do you know how many we have beat this year? 0. Grant's career record vs. top 200 teams is 64-64.The stats point out that Grant has padded his career record with garbage opponents. There is a reason we didn't make the tournaments in those "Good" seasons, except for 2012. Because, we played weak schedules, and did not beat anybody,of note. You are seeing what happens when Alabama actually plays a quality schedule. The truth is, if you take out the extreme garbage we have played in his tenure, he is a 500 coach. But, hey let's continue to make excuse after excuse for a multi millionaire.

Msmilie said...

Again, your lack of reading comprehension is truly depressing. No one is making excuses, I am telling you how it is. When you become the AD, then you can set your little parameters for what constitutes success for the basketball program. AD's don't care who you played, when or where. They don't care about records against top 50 teams, top 100 teams. They care about wins and losses. By that rationale, like it or not, the three previous seasons will serve as feathers in Grant's cap.

All I'm telling you is what you seem unable to accept. That being, that Grant is respected in the athletic department, by his fellow coaches at the university and by his players. That alone is going to give him the benefit of the doubt at the end of season when Battle makes a decision about his future. My advice is you accept that reality.

crimsontider said...

Fair enough. My opinion is that if Grant is back, then Battle, and the university does not care at all about basketball.

Alex said...

I'm not sure that next year will be much better. Releford is an amazing player how are we going to be able to replace that? Hale shows promise and Taylor should be a contributor next year if he can stop fouling but we aren't talking about lottery picks.

Ronald Steele said...

I thought the above analysis pretty much spot on. I was surprised how much both teams really struggled with the press considering its the same press. We zoned them the entire game last game, so I'm pretty sure that coach Grant's thinking was that they would be prepared for the zone and wanted to show a different look. I thought they adjusted fairly well with zone overloading it and getting some point blank shots at the rim which can't happen in man or zone. Taylor is our only rim protector and if I'm not mistaken it didnt happen when he was in the game.

I thought overall we played well because we were able to spread the floor and attack the rim off the dribble. We got many penetrates and kicks from 3 in the first half, which is a much higher percentage shot than contested 2s or swing the ball around the perimeter and then shooting the 3. Anytime you are able to get in the paint via post or penetration and kick out for 3's the percentages go way up and we were able to do that. They were reluctant to help in the second half which allowed the lanes to open up even more, letting us live at the free throw line.

I would also like to see less pick and rolls and more just direct attacks from our perimeter players. Contrary to popular opinion the pick and roll is less about the ball handler and more about the other 4 players on the floor. You are wanting to put 2 players on the ball and create a 4on3 situation with the rest of the players. The ball handler must make a good decision and the rest of the players must be threats from the perimeter. Not being critical of Alabama but the game today in general is over saturated with pick and rolls from NBA to NCAA. We have some great slashers. Retin, Cooper, Levi, Trever, Key etc.... I would like to see us give them space and let them continue to try to attack until the defense breaks down. Its kind of couter intuitive to bring another defender up with Releford by setting the high screen bc nobody respects our big guys to finish. This is why the offense looks passive. Grant encourages them to attack but by design there is not much space to attack. The exception would be pick and pops with Hale because he is a threat to shoot and if you switch then you have a bigger slower player on releford allowing him to attack and create a shot for himself or a teammate.

If you watch Florida {who coach Grant has borrowed a lot of his offensive philosophy from] they play a lot of pick and rolls and its very effective. Well the players they recruit are good shooters, but they dont have many guys whose strength is to attack the rim. They play the pick and roll to find their shooters, and put the defense in close out situations, which if you can shoot is impossible to stay in front of. The pick and roll creates advantages for the rest of the team.

Not to bring up football, but its similar to the spread concept. You want to put your athletes in space and find the favorable matchups. Our bigs arent offensive players so I think they serve us better running the floor hard, staying on the baseline and finishing plays created by penetration and put backs on offensive rebounds.

Just my two cents.

DJC said...

Thanks Ron, and great point about the pick n roll. It would make more sense if we had an athletic big who could catch the ball off the roll and score, but we don't so it just results in Relly getting double-teamed with no viable options to pass to.