Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tide Tramples Top 50 Tigers, Bama 80-Mizzou 73

Welcome back Levi Randolph!  This is why I've been saying all year that he should be more aggressive and shoot the ball.  I'm not saying he's going to give us 33 points every night, but he can certainly be a 15-20 ppg guy that this team so desperately needs.

We actually scored first in this game, which was a refreshing change.  Both teams ran a lot of zone, and as expected Mizzou initially focused their defensive efforts on stopping Releford.  Levi was able to find some soft spots both through the backdoor and in transition to get a couple of dunks in the first half that seemed to build his confidence.  At halftime, Levi had 19 points and we held a 42-35 lead.  Mizzou was able to make enough jump shots over our zone to keep it close.

Levi got us started in the second half with another 3 right off the bat, and Bama stretched the lead to 11 within the first 4 minutes of the second half.  We went through a stretch where we made some poor decisions with the basketball on offense.  A couple of plays that really stick out in my mind: Algie drove in and the lane collapsed leaving a wide open Levi on the wing, and Algie threw up a desperation off balance shot, then a couple of possessions later, Retin drove to the basket and tried a drop pass to Carl in traffic, predictably resulting in a turnover.  Meanwhile, Mizzou had one guy who was able to burn our zone for 3s, but otherwise was able to attack the basket and get to the free throw line where they were 22 of 29.

I feared if we ever relinquished the lead, we would not be able to come back.  Mizzou had cut the margin to around 2 with about 4 minutes left, when Levi once again stepped up and knocked down an open 3.  This prompted the Mizzou defense to shift their focus to Randolph, double-teaming him, which left Relly open for a 3 on the next possession.  The 2 point lead quickly grew to 8, and that was pretty much the game.

While the story of this game was Levi's career high 33 points, it was a great team effort.  The defense was not great, and I thought we should have played a bit more man when Earnest Ross was torching us from the line, we made the stops and got the rebounds when we had to down the stretch.  Everybody who played, saw double-digit minutes, and with the exception of Carl, everybody scored.

I think a lot of us watched the aTm game and thought this team had quit.  It's great to see them battle back and get a win against a quality team.  We put a big dent in Mizzou's tourney hopes, and hopefully this will be a springboard to clawing out of the bottom 4 of the SEC standings and making a run in the SEC tournament.

The crowd was one of the most sparse of the year, I would estimate about 2,500 in the house, including about 300 Mizzou fans scattered throughout.  That being said, those who did show up were loud, energetic, and into the game, and the players and coaches seemed to appreciate the support.

Up next, we go to Oxford, MS for the rematch with the Ole Miss Rebels Wednesday night at 7 pm.  As far as I know, the game will only be televised on ESPN3.  I think it is imperative for us to get a road win before the tournament in order to build some confidence, and this is our last semi-realistic chance to do so.  


DJC said...

Also, I should mention, congrats to our women for pulling yet another big upset and getting their first win at Vandy (we all know what a pain in the ass it is to win in Memorial gym). Furthermore, the baseball team won 2 out of 3 at home this weekend (which is why I was so late in getting this recap posted), all in all, a great weekend for UA.

crimsontider said...

You mean there are basketball teams at the University of Alabama that can win road games, and beat top 25 teams? Seems like a novel concept.

Msmilie said...

I'd like to give Coop some props as well. He had a nice all-around game of 9 pts, 6 rebs, 4 assts. It just proves my point that if the juniors (Levi, Coop and Nick) had been more consistent this season, things would have been a lot different. It will be interesting to see how Levi responds on Wednesday. Can he build on this performance? As you wrote, no one is expecting 33 points a night, but he's certainly capable of being a consistent scorer.

Msmilie said...

Might as well go with the road games and top 25 teams argument now that you can no longer use the top 50 one. CT, you make eye rolling fun.

Murray NA said...

Yes, if Coop would put a little air under his shot it would make a dramatic difference in his accuracy. It appears he's pushing the ball in a straight line. If he steps his game up another we can think about making a run in the SEC T.

Drifter said...

A nice win. Really good effort.
Someone said Paul Bryant Jr. was at the game. Don't know if that's good or bad.

crimsontider said...

Can't be good for CAG.

crimsontider said...

Yes, congrats to Coach Anthony Grant on his first win against a top 50 opponent since November of 2011. I would also like to congratulate coach on his 10th career win over a top 50 opponent. Only took him eight years. This also pulls his record against top 50 teams at Alabama to a stellar 7-33. And, if your best win in three years is a home game against a bubble team, in a game in which you were actually favored, then hey, how can you not get behind this genius? I think he deserves another extension. Hell, why not rename Coleman after him?

Msmilie said...

CT: The pulse of UA athletics!

Msmilie said...

For what it's worth:ESPN's Andy Katz on Grant.

Rocky Mountain High Tide said...

Well something is going on with CAG with the recent media blitz starting with CM and now Andy Katz saying he's not going anywhere. Either CAG made the first marketing move of his tenure at Bama and has people rallying for him or somebody in the AD wants to end the speculation right now. But it's interesting that Cecil hasn't printed anything lately so I'd guess the decision has not been made, or at least I hope not. I just can't see any reasons to keep CAG around for another year. He's just a terrible fit for our program. Even CM pointed out his failure to promote.

All season long I've quietly been a Jacobs fan but it's really frustrating. The guy can be a great player when motivated. We've seen it against the likes of UK and UT, even on the defensive end. Most people are going to blame Jacobs for not being motivated but CAG has got to have some fault too and that's confirmed by the endless train of players leaving the program. By the way this blog's fearless leader's favorite ex Bama player was recently suspended in Laramie. I was really hoping that a new coach would motivate Jacobs and I think the right person really could.

Keep this in mind too, Grant's calling card, his D, is terrible this year and the main reason our record is terrible. I suspected before the season that calling the games tighter would hurt us more than most teams but I didn't think it would be this bad. He's had all season to adjust and it hasn't happened. Why does anything think with a great D player graduating and adding 2 transfers and 3 freshmen that will be any better on D next year? Under Grant if we suck on D we suck period. And I think he's so inflexible in everything he does that he'll never adjust and our dead program will suffer the consequences.

finebammer said...

here's the deal, Battle doesn't want to deal with it. he doesn't want to fire Grant. he doesn't want to look for a replacement. it's basketball for christ's sake, who cares???

all Grant has to do next season is make "a" tournament. NIT. NCAA. doesn't matter. doesn't matter if he wins a game. 'hey, he made a tournament, he's showing improvement.'

meanwhile, on the recruiting trail, 'hey, you don't want to play with him, they're gonna can him next season.' and if you don't think that's happening right now, you're a naive fool.

"Someone said Paul Bryant Jr. was at the game." if you ain't got video, it didn't happen, 'cause let me tell you what I KNOW: PBJ doesn't give two shits about basketball.

so Grant is back next season. deal with it. he makes "a" tournament. he steps over the bar laid on the floor for him.

and those of us who watch Duke/Syracuse, who after watching Alabama play are shocked to see what real college basketball looks like, who remember playing teams like Indiana (i saw a blurb on Indiana's undefeated season last nite. i remember Alabama playing them the toughest game of the tourney that year. i remember Bob Knight saying so) and thinking before the game Alabama had a realistic chance to win, well, you're just fucked.

i know this is gonna come as a shock to some, but to get a situation handled at work this week, i had to be an asshole. the boss is out of pocket, the customer has an expectation of something happening, nobody wants to make a call. scared. they're all scared to do something. all scared to think outside their little boxes and make something happen. i had to be the asshole and prod everybody into doing THE RIGHT THING, something to satisfy the customer. and that's EXACTLY what's going on here.

if somebody takes the bull by the horns, they might get their hands dirty. and NOBODY wants to do that, DO THEY? why? it's JUST basketball. who cares??

and if you DO care, well, fuck you.

crimsontider said...

If they wanted to just end the speculation, why wouldn't they come out and say "He'll be back next year." Battle has to ask himself two questions. Are we getting a respectable return on our two million dollar a year investment? and Do we have the best coach we can possibly have? The answers to both of those questions are unquestionably no.

Alex said...

I think it has more to do with his contract than anything else. If he had 2 years left on it he would be gone after this year. Battle is a businessman before anything else, like it or not.

finebammer said...

wow, if a preview to the 'bama/olepiss game at the tad pad isn't written, did the beating really happen??