Monday, March 03, 2014

Know Your Enemy- @ Kentucky Wildcats + more

We are probably getting an ANGRY Wildcat squad that has lost 2 in a row to teams they have no business losing to on their worst day. They lost @ home to Arkansas 71-67 (OT) and then to lowly SC Lite 72-67 on Saturday. The current group of one and dones @ Kentucky still haven't gelled... and I suspect when they hit the NCAAT they'll be gone in the first week.

Anyways, if there was an example of a bad matchup for us this is it. Julius Randle if motivated will eat our lunch inside. He might out-rebound the entire team. He is dropping 15.5/10.4 a game. Many say he's a SEC POY candidate, but I don't see him being more important than at least 3 others in contention (Releford being one of them).

The Harrison twins are also averaging double digits in scoring, but digging into the season stats you can see neither is what we thought they'd be (both under 42% FG), but Andrew is hitting 36% from beyond the arc which is a team best for those that actually take more than 1 a game.

James Young is scoring 14.6/game which is 2nd best, but again... sub-par FG percentage (40.7%).
Willie Cauley-Stein comes off the bench scoring 7.6, but his physical presence (7'0") again is something we don't have an answer for unless big Carl Engstrom does his best Mark Eaton impression.

Alex Poythress seems to have regressed as a sophomore... or the current crop of one and dones don't mesh with him. He's another hugely talented player that for whatever reason hasn't played well this season.

The problem with the players above will come down to match-ups. We don't have an answer for Randle, the Harrison twins probably get a steady diet of Cooper and Randolph, while Young sees a rotating presence between all of our other undersized guards.

Season stats

Big one: + 10.2 rebounding margin.

Prediction: It's a road game and this probably won't end well. It is senior night (the 2 honored barely see the court) so this will be the final home sendoff for the current one and dones.

Tip-off is 3/4 @ 9PM EST on ESPN.

SEC bubble teams
- Arkansas: I say if they win their last 2 and don't embarrass themselves in the SECT they are in... by the skin of their teeth. I don't think they will since we will beat them on Saturday.
- Tennessee- gotta win @ the Barn before the big game vs Mizzou means something
- Missouri- @ Tennessee makes or breaks them Saturday

Could end up with just Florida and Kentucky in the NCAAT assuming no shenanigans happen next week in Atlanta (a tourney I'm going to have to skip attending due to other obligations).

Trevor Releford
We all know how important he is to this team, but when you look at the stats it paints an even greater picture:
- #1 in scoring (18.8), assist (3.1), steals (2.3), FT (.869), minutes played (34.8), and 3PT FGs (.399).
- without him I suspect we lose another 5 games to an already miserable season

I know I am biased, but that is SEC POY numbers IMO.


Alex said...

We probably need a 20 point game from Releford and 15 or so from Randolph and Hale both to have a chance in this one. I'm interested in seeing if Taylor can have another good game on defense without fouling. Really I don't think we have a good chance at all of winning this game but we have been playing better as of late and if we just happen to peak around SEC tourney time you never know what could happen. Our 4 games against top 4 competition have all been within 10 points.

crimsontider said...

We are 13 point underdogs. I don't think we win, but i do think we will cover the spread, (for entertainment purposes only) and the game will be close throughout.

GEE said...

be nice if we could pull this off and sing rammer jammer to the kentucky fans tonite

RichTide said...

This game has blow out written all over it. Every time it appears this Bama team is turning the corner, they crap the bed: losses to Auburn, A&M, USCe. Hope for the players sake they can pull a W out - they deserve at least one good thing to happen to them this year. And nothing better than shutting up the Big Blue nation in the Rupp crib. And since Grant is clearly coming back due to a ridiculous contract gift we may as well support him and hope he figures it out in the offseason. He hasn't shown it thus far but with a guillotine over his head maybe Billy Donovan will bail him out and agree to be his assistant.

For the CM Newton's of the world who think 5 years isn't enough time for Grant to put "his stamp" on the program or get "his" players...explain what Mike Anderson is doing at Arkansas. An example of a UF assistant who ran a good program into the ground and within 2 years of a new coach they are relevant. There are FAR more examples of coaches turning around programs in 1-2 years then 5-yr coaches, languishing in mediocrity, turning their programs into powerhouses.

crimsontider said...

CAG's inability to recruit a big men, and piss poor roster management certainly shined through tonight.

crimsontider said...

And yes, CM's ego is hurting our program from what I understand. I appreciate what he did for us, but I really wish he would just go away.

RichTide said...

Watched the first 2 min and last 2 min of tonight's game (had to go to the Y). Rather than blunt statements about Grant not being the answer, here's my opinion of why he shouldn't be retained. Not sure what happened the rest of the game but here's my 4 min quick observation:

Bama wins the tip. Rather than drive to the hoop (and he had only one defender even near the paint), Randolph held the ball, waited for the rest of the team, team passed the ball around the perimeter, Taylor jacked up a 15-foot shot with 4 sec left on the shot clock.

With 2 min left and down 7, next two possessions are a sloppy drive and shot put at the basket (no arc) and a 3-pointer, both by the master brick layer of the season - Rodney Cooper.

99.9% of coaches in the country would have done something to convey to the team that only Releford takes shots the rest of the game and in an emergency...Hale. If Arkansas could figure out how to get Rotnei Clarke space to jack up 15 3's a game, then surely Bama can scheme something to give Relly some space. The screens for Clarke bordered on the absurd but they were effective. Similar to Ole Piss with Henderson.

Our last 2 min of offensive were either ignorant, or ineffective, coaching. Grant is a great defensive asst, class act, and honorable mentor. He's an inept head coach. I've never seen the basketball program less promoted, less energized.

Does anyone believe holding Ky to 55 in Rupp wouldn't result in a W for Gottfried? And that's saying something.

Grant may be back but this program has the look and feel of a program led by Dead Man Walking. Any casual fan knows the key to success in D1 is an experienced PG. Even with a top recruiting class coming in, the record will be about the same as this year and the apologists will say "young team, inexperienced PG. Next year..."

crimsontider said...

I actually like the game plan we came out with tonight. I thought we could have won this game, but our lack of inside play. The peak of CAG's tenure was when he was gifted some really good big men from the previous regime. His inability to recruit a big man to replace them is a fireable offense alone. Losing William Lee to UAB is unacceptable.

RichTide said...

I want Newton to explain how the women's coach has turned an absolute dumpster fire of a program with ZERO talent and depth into a respectable team in less than a year. She beat two top 10 on the road. Grant hasn't beaten one top 10 5 years. It's called top-notch coaching. Kristy Curry is a great promoter of the program, relentless recruiter, and masterful in-game coach. I've watched more women's games this year than men's. The difference in coaching is night and day. Curry coaches both ends of the court.

crimsontider said...

No excuse for Grant to have the UA's worst athletic program. Alabama has lost 19 games in a single season once in their entire history. This will be number two. Alabama just simply does not have seasons like this, and for them to put up with it for another year is a slap in the face to the fan base and the entire history of the program.

RichTide said...

Didn't see 36 min of the game so glad to hear the game plan was solid. Thought the 1-1-3 looked effective but in the 4 min I saw, didn't see any offensive scheme or deliberate plays.

RichTide said...

Yup. But doesn't sound like the boosters have the stomach for a $5M buyout of the basketball coach.

crimsontider said...

I also don't think the AD want's to go through the trouble of a coaching search. The "it's just basketball" mentality will win out again in Tuscaloosa.