Saturday, December 27, 2014

Fresh Meat- UCLA 12/28 in Tuscaloosa 6:30PM EST (5:30 CST)

One of the premiere basketball programs of all-time visits Tuscaloosa in the return trip from last year's disappointing close loss in Pauley Pavilion. This isn't the same UCLA squad from last year... as they lost 3 to early defections to the NBA draft (all 1st round draft picks). UCLA has a pattern so far this year.. win 4, lose 2, win 4, lose 2... the pattern says they win. We shall see. Note that is is UCLA's first and ONLY true OOC road game this season.

4 losses have been to ranked teams... Kentucky, North Carolina, Gonzaga, and Oklahoma.

UCLA write-up.
Season stats

UCLA is essentially a 5 man team. Four average over 30 minutes a game with the 5th logging 24. Their starting 5 scores 69 of the 77.8 points a game they average led by the coach's son Bryce Alford at 17.6 PPG (also dropping 6 assists per contest). Norman Powell is their best 3pt shooter while Kevon Looney leads the team in rebounds at over 10 a game. Tony Parker (not that one) is 2nd in boards and the only player shooting better than 50% from the field.

Some numbers:
- +5.9 rebound margin
- 66% FT
- 44% FG
- 7.3 steals

If we are to entertain ANY thoughts of a NCAAT resume we MUST win tomorrow. Granted, UCLA is down, but this is a name team that will probably finish in the top half of the PAC-12 and probably makes the NCAAT. Lose this one... go ahead with writing this season off minus an improbable SECT title.

Game is on ESPNU.


Msmilie said...

It was an ugly win. Far from a great performance. This is not a vintage UCLA team. That said, it's a win and I'll always take the win. UCLA is probably not a tournament team when the dust settles, but this is still a game Alabama had to win. They did. The resume is still light on quality wins, but at least the team, up to this point, has been able to avoid "bad losses".

One thing that concerns you is the lack of urgency in this team since the Wichita State game. While all three games following that one have been wins (Stillman, Appalachian State and UCLA), the level of play has not been the best and will need to improve significantly with conference play just over a week away.

One thing that did stand out in the game was Jimmie's play down the stretch. He had four fouls, but he never picked up the fifth, grabbed some huge rebounds, had an offensive board and put-back to keep UCLA at arm's length (it was key that UCLA never took the lead) and made a huge hustle play that resulted in the ball going off UCLA for a change of possession. He also seriously affected Tony Parker when he was in the game. I believe most of Parker's points came when Jimmie was out of the game.

A tricky game coming up on Friday. A game sandwiched between UCLA and the first conference game. An opponent that Bama beat by 30 last season. Screams trap game to me. North Florida has already won at Purdue, and they gave Iowa a tussle before falling late. Our guys better be ready to play.

Alex said...

Good win. I thought we would get crushed on the glass but we managed to kind of shut down their leading rebounder. I was surprised how bad UCLAs RPI was considering all their losses have been to quality teams. They clock in at a lowly 112 while we somehow are a respectable 42. We are their worst loss of the season, all their other losses are 34 or higher in the RPI. Sadly, they are currently our best win, and having no wins over any top 100 teams is an issue. Hopefully we can best some teams in conference that we aren't supposed to. We will have plenty of chances as we have 11 top 100 RPI conference games. The SEC is very deep this year. Go ahead and count up the "easy wins" there aren't many. Miss State is probably the worst team in the league but we only play them once, Mizzou is also pretty bad but again we play them just once. The schedule gods were not kind to us this year in the league. Playing Kentucky twice sucks, they may go undefeated. If we can beat UNF on Friday and make it out of the non conference at 10-3 then making the tournament is attainable for this team but it will be extremely difficult. The first conference game against A&M is a must win. We then need to split the back to back road games at SCAR and Tennessee before coming home and losing to Kentucky. The road trip at Arkansas is probably a loss but the next two games at home vs the barn and Florida look winnable. Then we go lose at Kentucky. The next game against Mizzou at home is very winnable which is followed by back to back road games at LSU and State. We cannot lose at state. They are terrible. LSU on the other hand is very good. They are big and strong and will probably thrash us. I'm not looking forward to that one. Thankfully we only play them once. The two things that are immediately obvious when I look at the SEC this year is the amount of quality depth and the lack of respect it is getting nationally. There are probably 8 teams which could make it to the NCAA tournament, and everyone outside of Mizzou and State has at least one win over a quality opponent. Hell, even the barn beat Xavier. SCAR who has been a bottom dweller in the SEC has two 20+ point wins against power 5 conference teams. However, the voters can't seem to see past Big Blue and thus the conference has no other ranked teams. The way I see it though, this is the deepest the SEC has been in years. We should get alot of teams in this year, in reality the number will probably be around 4. For Alabama to make it into the NCAAs we probably need to go 11-7 or 10-8 in the conference and then win 1-2 more games in the SEC tournament. That would put us squarely on the bubble but I think thats more than anyone hoped for at the beginning of the season. That being said, having a winning conference record this year will be extremely difficult and I don't know if we have the depth especially inside to hold up all year, Even one injury would be devastating. But for now, I'll take 9-3 and it's nice to still have everything ahead of you at this point in the season instead of knowing it's already over like last year.