Thursday, December 03, 2020

Good finish to Not in Maui Invitational- Bama crushes 88-71

Box score

I thought the 2nd half was the best ball we played all season. 3s were shot in rhythm, crisp passing to find the open man... just a much better flow to the game than the previous 2 outings.

Five guys with double digits scoring... I like that! Even with Petty having an off-day.

Better summaries in previous post in comments...

Just like in 2009, after getting embarrassed by a PAC-12 team in the first game we win the remaining to finish in 5th place. 

Next up... long layoff 'til Clemson on Dec 12th. 

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Petty's 22 too much for Runnin' Rebels- Tide win 86-74

Box score

The better team won last night... but made it much tougher than it needed to be.

We started off strong with 3 straight 3s and built an early lead, but UNLV came back with a bunch of 3s to get back into it and we were all tied at 38 at the half. 2nd half saw us open up with 2 quick 3s to open up a lead that we pretty much maintained the rest of the game.
We shot much better in the 2nd half and even got the ball inside the arc a few times... more on that later. Defensively we did enough to keep them at 42% inside the arc for the night. Also, 21 assists and only 11 turnovers... BRAVO!

Last night we got good Petty... hope that happens 67% of the time or better.

Being honest I don't care for the barrage of 3s we seem intent on chucking up. I know it's a math game, but man does it detract from the actual game of basketball. 

Next up- Providence

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Bama barraged by bad bounces. Stanford crushes 82-64

I suck at alliteration so that is the best I can do.
Anyways... we were competitive for 15 minutes then the wheels fell off and the better team won handily.
I thought the offense played too much one on one ball and when you suck at 3s (like we have so far this year) you are in a world of crap.


The only positive I can find is we caused 22 turnovers. Didn't do much with them, but got to find something positive.
Next up... UNLV.

Funny thing... in 2009 we played Oregon in Maui and got blown out. 11 years later another PAC-12 team does the same thing.
Maybe we squeeze out 2 non-factor wins like we did in 2009... 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Game Preview: #25 Alabama vs Stanford

  Alabama comes into the Maui Invitational having picked up a win over JSU to start the season 1-0. As expected in the first game of the season, there were positives and negatives. Jahvon Quinerly was a major positive. The Villanova transfer basically got to the rim at will and exhibited solid vision. Herb Jones was Herb Jones. His defense and hard hat mentality is still worthy of praise...but he still missed a ton of POINT BLANK opportunities at the rim. He did bury a step back three, however. If Herb can do that at a consistent clip it only makes the Alabama offense that much more dynamic (while also improving his draft stock). 

 While Yale transfer Jordan Bruner was clearly able to alter shots at the rim, he wasn’t quite the rebounding machine that Alabama needs as JSU got multiple second and third opportunities with offensive rebounds. Having said that, it’s clear that his motor is as advertised and I think that will pay off. Moving on.

 The Opponent: Stanford will be making their debut after their first scheduled game was cancelled due to Covid concerns. Head Coach Jerod Haase will bring an experienced and talented squad that is certain to give Alabama a tough test. Stanford shot 37% from 3 last year while leading the PAC 12 in FGE percentage. Alabama will get a nauseating dose of ball screens so defensive discipline will be key. 

 Players to Watch: There is no question that the Stanford seniors will make an impact. Oscar Da Silva and Daejon Davis will likely be the keys that turn the engine. It’s the big time freshman Ziaire Williams that most everyone is excited to get their first glimpse of, however. Williams was a consensus 5 star recruit for Haase. Herb Jones will likely draw the assignment against Williams so we can assume that will be a key match up. It’ll also be interesting to see how John Petty performs after coming off a relatively off night for him against JSU. Bama will need to be more efficient from 3 in order to knock of the Cardinal. 

  My Thoughts: These are two similar teams in terms of the mix of young talent and upper classmen providing leadership. Both will also want to play fast. I think the team that has fewer turnovers likely wins the game. Getting to the rim won’t be quite as easy for the Alabama guards in this one so it’s imperative that Bama shoots it well. This will be a 40 minute game and I think it helps Alabama already having a game under it’s belt, but Stanford will be eager and hungry. If the Cardinal shoot well, Alabama could be in trouble. This will be a good game between two teams that should ultimately find themselves in the NCAA Tournament. I’m afraid Stanford will make one more clutch shot than the good guys, unfortunately. 

Prediction: Stanford 78, Alabama 75

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Crimson Clocks Cocks in Covid era debut. Bama 81 Jacksonville State 57

 As a preliminary matter, I'm hoping someone will step up and take on the role over writing game recaps this season.  The main reason I was doing it was because I am usually able to attend more games than most, and I tried to bring a little bit of the in-person perspective to the conversation.  Unfortunately, I am not planning to go to many, if any, games this season due to the pandemic.  I would love to hear a first person account from someone who is attending these games.  

Despite the unusual and less than ideal circumstances, this is one of the most anticipated seasons in years, and I was excited to watch this game on my new television, even if I felt a little weird and sad about not being there.  

It was a relatively easy win against an inferior opponent, so I'm not sure how much you can read into this one game.  My biggest takeaways were:

-Jahvon Quinnerly looked great at point guard.  He's more than capable of replacing the first round pick we just lost at that position.  18 points, 3 assists, and only one turnover.  He has a good looking shot and makes good decisions with the ball.  His game is smooth, and I think he's going to thrive in Coach Oats system.

- I expected more out of Bruner.  We still appear to be thin in the post.  We gave up way too many offensive rebounds. 

-Rojas is a solid addition, giving us 7 rebounds and 8 points in 21 minutes.  He's undersized but can handle some contact and will fight for a board.

-We missed way too many layups and bunnies.  We're going to have to convert the easy baskets if the 3s aren't falling against a decent team.

-Alex Reese looked bad.  I'm talking about both his play and his hair.  

-Shack scored 18 despite only making one three and played solid defense.  He might be on the verge of taking his game to the next level.

-I've heard that Herb's really been working on his jump shot.  Hopefully that 3 in the second half will build his confidence.  He's one of the best defenders in the nation, and if he can add a decent 3 ball he will be a first round pick, but he also needs to work on finishing around the basket. 

Happy Thanksgiving, Stay Safe, and Roll Tide!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

My Two Cents: SEC Predictions

 Out of the quarantine and election fog steps yours truly with a glimmer of light in his eye in the hopes that a college basketball season will happen. While roughly 15% of the college basketball programs in D1 are shut down due to Covid-related issues, college basketball is moving forward. Fortunately, Alabama will be one those teams kicking off the season tonight. Who knows what the season looks like from week to week though. My opinion is it would have been better to go to a conference only schedule in a bubble somewhere, but what it is is what it is. 

I have hung up my hat where it concerns writing about this program on a regular basis here. However, Bobby has been kind enough to leave the light on for me and so I'd like to post my predictions for the SEC (assuming conditions allow a full conference slate). 

1. Kentucky - The Cats are even younger than normal, but John Calipari remains one of the safer bets in this league. Expect this young team to struggle at times, but Cal will likely figure things out by late January.

2. Florida - Talent and experience will not be an issue for the Gators, but can Mike White coach an overachiever for a change? The Gators likely would have made the tournament last season if it happened, which would have been their fourth straight under White. But Florida has faded somewhat in the national consciousness, and White is one bad season away from feeling some serious heat from the fanbase. Due to Covid issues, the Gators season debut is December 2.

3. Tennessee - The popular pick to win the league, and probably the smart pick. The Vols return most of their best players from last season, plus add Barnes' best recruiting class yet. But I like to go out on a limb so I'll pick them here. Due to Covid issues, Tennessee's season is delayed until December 12.

4. Alabama - Honestly, I believe that if everything clicks for our guys, they can win the league this season. The depth is there to do it. The biggest question is can our guys guard anybody? Defense was the biggest issue last season as Alabama finished 10th in the league in defensive efficiency. This team can shoot as many threes as they want to, and it won't matter if they don't guard.

5. Ole Miss - I'm drinking some of the Rebel kool-aid as they return some key guys while also having success on the transfer market. That said, they are a tough team to figure; they could finish here or 10th. I believe Kermit Davis is a good coach so I expect them to bounce back after a 13th-place finish last season. Due to Covid issues (are you sensing a pattern here?), the Rebels are delayed until December 12

6. LSU - The Tigers have the talent to win the league. They also have an NCAA investigation hanging over their heads. If you've been paying attention to what happened to Alabama and Auburn, it does appear that all programs caught under the FBI investigation are or will be facing varying degrees of penalties. Because Will Wade was a blabbermouth on a phone conversation that was being tapped by the feds, LSU will likely be one of the programs hit hardest. With the future job status of the coaches and the eligibility of players up in the air, all happening during a pandemic which has upset normalcy in the sport, how can this team not be distracted?

7. South Carolina - For people like myself that make predictions, the Gamecocks are like gnats on a camping trip. You predict they'll finish 12, they finish 8; you predict they'll finish 10, they finish 6; you predict they'll...well, you get the idea. Like gnats, very annoying. So expect them to finish somewhere between 3-5 based on this prediction.

8. Missouri - The Tigers will have the most experienced team in the league. If they can avoid the injuries that have decimated them the last three seasons, they should be very competitive. 

9. Arkansas - I love Muss. Long-time readers will remember I was floating his name for head coach in Tuscaloosa after the end of the Grant era. If Arkansas finishes higher, I won't be shocked. But they did lose their best two players early to the draft. Muss responded by restocking the roster with transfers, which has been a successful MO for him. I feel a little better about the teams in front of the Hawgs, but I'd take Muss as a coach over all but two (maybe three) of the coaches of the teams I've predicted ahead of Arkansas.

10. Texas A&M - Readers will also remember my respect for Buzz. He made quite the splash in his first season in College Station, taking a team that had no business finishing above 12th and leading them to a 7th place finish (five of their ten conference wins were on the road). But they also lost Josh Nebo, a player that I thought was one of the most important players to their team in the league. The kind you don't miss until he's gone (think Herb last season playing with one hand or missing games altogether). The future is very bright with Buzz on the bench, but this could be a temporary step back as he builds the program. 

11. Auburn - I was struggling with Auburn's placement on this list a few days ago. But then the school announced a postseason ban for this season. And then news began to surface that the player that could be Auburn's best player this season was exploring overseas options due to worries about his eligibility. So yeah, I feel better about this prediction.

12. Mississippi State - Ben Howland's tenure in Starkville has been a mixed bag, to put it nicely. I wouldn't be shocked if both parties are fine with moving in different directions as soon as this spring. With this team, Howland has some guys returning that could take another step, but this roster (with all due respect to Bama transfer Javian Davis) doesn't jump off the page at me. If they finish higher than this, props to Ben Howland.  

13. Georgia - They're probably better off without Anthony Edwards, but I don't sense much positive momentum in Athens right now. Fortunately for Tom Crean, there is no more apathetic fanbase when it comes to basketball in the SEC than Georgia. 

14. Vanderbilt - My gut feeling is that Vandy will finish higher than this. Between what they have coming back, plus a few new players, they could take a step forward this season. But my brain isn't ready to go out on a limb for a program that has won only nine conference games in the last three seasons.

Once again, thanks to Bobby for leaving the light on. It's great to see this lil' ol' blog continue its steady progression. Let's hope for the best this basketball season. Lord knows we could use a little escape these days. Take care, and Roll Tide!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Game Preview: #25 Alabama vs JSU

 FINALLY...it’s time to tip the 2020-21 season off for the Alabama Crimson Tide. This year’s iteration of the Tide will once again enter the season with optimism as it returns John Petty Jr, Jaden Shackleford and Herb Jones. Joining that experienced core will be highly touted transfer and former McDonald’s All American Jahvon Quinerly as well as a host of exciting newcomers. It isn’t just the fanbase that is high on the Tide, as Alabama was voted by the coaches as a top 25 team in the AP poll to begin the season. It all begins with a battle against the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State this Wednesday. Tip is set for 6:30. 

 The Opponent: JSU will come into Coleman Coliseum as a bit of an enigma this season as it will be replacing 3 of it’s 4 highest scorers from the shortened 2019-2020 season. Jakara Cross has graduated so JSU will need someone to step up in the scoring column for coach Ray Porter. 

 Players to watch: Starting with JSU, one has to expect a jump from Tulsa product Damaree King. King is a solid athlete and a streaky shooter that could give Alabama some trouble if the Tide has trouble closing out on D. JSU also expects an uptick in production from it’s 6’11 Slovakian C Maros Zeliznak. The big man only produced about 4 PPG last season but the word is that he’s improved his game over the summer. 

 One could make a case for the entire Bama roster being players to watch. There will be intrigue surrounding Josh Primo as an incoming 5 star recruit. The same could be said for Jordan Bruner, the exciting transfer from Yale, as well as fan favorites John Petty, Jaden Shackleford and Herb Jones. Basketball fans around the country, however, are excited for the Alabama debut of Jahvon Quinerly. He has big shoes to fill at this point after Kira Lewis Jr was drafted in the lottery by New Orleans just a few nights ago. Will he be more comfortable in a more fast paced style at Alabama as many expect he will be? We’re only a couple of days from finding out. 

 My take: Speaking of having big shoes to fill, I’m writing the first game preview for BAMAHOOPS.com that won’t be written by our good friend Mitchell Smilie in quite some time, so I hope everyone will still enjoy our previews as Mitch was one of the best to do it! 

 You have to make a statement to start the season, right? Alabama has returning seniors in 1st Team SEC John Petty and 2nd Team SEC Herb Jones. It has Jaden Shackleford that has proven himself to be a cold blooded sniper even at a young age. I could go on and on but you still have to lace them up and tip it off. It’ll be interesting to see if the Tide can rebound and maintain defensive intensity. Something it struggled with at times last season. Having said that, I think JP and Shack will simply be too much for JSU. The Gamecocks will score...but not nearly enough. 

Prediction: Alabama 91, JSU 76

Friday, November 20, 2020

Alabama on probation for 3 years... thanks Kobie

Lucky for us, basketball is back page news so we won't get the national wrath.
ESPN

Kobie Baker is the main culprit here... and TBH I was kind of expecting something like this to come down. It's not serious, but they are taking 5K and 1% of the budget (I assume basketball) which is about the spare change in my pocket (I kid... maybe).

You can connect the dots... 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Kira Lewis goes #13 to the NOLA Pelicans

Congrats to him and hope he gets PAID accordingly (by rookie cap regulations).

Of note 12 SEC players were drafted yesterday... so essentially 20% of the draft came from the conference.

Also... I saw Kenyon Martin Jr was drafted. Which made me realize I am getting old.

Friday, November 06, 2020

SEC Schedule out... Bama has a tough starting stretch

Link to our schedule:
Below is the SEC slate

Tue, Dec 29vs Ole MissTBD
Sat, Jan 2TennesseeTBD
Tue, Jan 5vs FloridaTBD
Sat, Jan 9AuburnTBD
Tue, Jan 12KentuckyTBD
Sat, Jan 16vs ArkansasTBD
Tue, Jan 19LSUTBD
Sat, Jan 23vs Mississippi StTBD
Tue, Jan 26vs KentuckyTBD
Sat, Jan 30OklahomaTBD
Wed, Feb 3vs LSUTBD
Sat, Feb 6MissouriTBD
Tue, Feb 9South CarolinaTBD
Sat, Feb 13vs GeorgiaTBD
Wed, Feb 17Texas A&MTBD
Sat, Feb 20vs VanderbiltTBD
Wed, Feb 24ArkansasTBD
Sat, Feb 27Mississippi StTBD
Tue, Mar 2vs AuburnTBD

No easy games... 

Monday, October 26, 2020

An omen for pre-season basketball tournaments?

ESPN decided to pull the bubble format in Orlando. This is kinda big as I assume this may filter down to other tournaments (Maui in Asheville).

Link

I actually hope they cancel the Maui in Asheville debacle and just push us (and the other 6 teams) to 2022.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Highly Ranked JUCO Prospect Commits to Bama

  Alabama added it’s 3rd commitment of the early period today with the addition of 4 star Wing Langston Wilson. Wilson is a 6’9 freakishly athletic F with huge upside.The addition of The nation’s 2nd ranked JUCO prospect moves Nate Oats’ first full recruiting class up to 13th in the country and there are still some major targets out there for the Tide. 

  Several aspects of Wilson’s game stand out on film. Outside of having an NBA ready physique, Wilson possesses a high basketball IQ and a relentless motor-two major factors that Oats and staff covet amongst recruits. Wilson joins Jusaun Holt and JD Davison as Tide pledges for 2021. When asked about his future teammates, Wilson stated that Davison had a major hand in recruiting him to Alabama and now both will make an effort to help add C Charles Bediako and G Caleb Houstan to an already stellar class. 

  The addition of Bediako or Houstan would take Alabama all the way inside the top 3 in class rankings. The addition of both elite prospects would place Bama at number one in most outlets.  

Friday, October 09, 2020

Gregg Marshall under scrutiny at Wichita State

I am sure some of us are doing a "HA-HA" right now about this... and you can't blame us. Marshall did use Bama for his pay hike (and a smart move at that) so there is to be some butthurt from our fanbase.

SI link

According to what is published ol' Gregg seems to have a bit of a temper. Note these are allegations, but generally speaking where there's smoke there's fire so I am inclined to think there is some truth to this. Probably not 100%, but enough to make WSU dig a bit deeper.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Nation’s Top PG Commits to Bama

  One short week after Alabama landed 4 star F Jusaun Holt, Coach Nate Oats has reeled in a crown jewel for the 2021 class with 5 star PG JD Davison. Davison is the top Point Guard prospect in the nation for many outlets and is the state’s top rated overall player. He’s been described as the state of Alabama’s best high school prospect since Demarcus Cousins. THIS IS A BIG DEAL. 

 Alabama was the first program in on Davison’s recruitment and Antoine Pettway’s efforts have paid dividends over a half of a decade later. Davison averaged 34 PPG and 12 RPG while leading Calhoun High School to the state championship last year. He also managed to hit the game winning 3 at the buzzer to earn the title in the championship game itself. An extremely athletic PG, Davison has garnered comparisons to the likes of Russel Westbrook, John Wall and others. He reminds me a bit of Ja Morant with the finishing ability of someone like Derrick Rose. He doesn’t quite have the initial explosiveness of Westbrook...yet. If his outside jumper remains consistent enough to make opposing defenses honor it, Davison will find himself getting to the rim early and often in Tuscaloosa. 

 The impact of landing JD Davison is huge for multiple reasons. His commitment gives the Tide the 25th ranked class for 2021 at the moment. There is the obvious talent he brings on the court, of course. The potential domino effect of his commitment is something to watch, however. Five stars tend to attract other five stars and Davison was quoted today as saying he hopes to play with Caleb Houston and Charles Bediako. This will be something to look out for, but Alabama has landed itself a good one already with Davison. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Jusaun Holt Chooses Bama

  Nate Oats and company picked up The Tide’s first commitment of the ‘21 class with 4 Star F Jusaun Holt out of Georgia today. Holt is a 6’7 Wing that should fit in well within Oats’ system in Tuscaloosa. The one thing that stands out about Holt’s game is his motor. He gives a high level of effort on both sides of the court, which is a characteristic that Oats and his staff covet as they continue to work to establish a new culture on the hardwood in Tuscaloosa. 

  Defensively, Holt will remind Bama fans of Herb Jones after he comes on campus and gets stronger under the guidance of Coach Snowden. He’s capable of guarding positions 1-4 and isn’t afraid to rebound. 

 Offensively, Holt will bring yet another lengthy shooter that will allow the Tide to spread the floor and create mismatches while playing fast. He can get hot from 3 quickly and features solid handles for a 6’7 Wing. A very solid foundation to what could be a stellar  ‘21 class. 

Thursday, September 03, 2020

UPDATED- More Maui Invitational news... pack your bags for Asheville (Cherokee)?

UPDATE- It's official
Cherokee Casino bubble

Per Jon Rothstein on the twitters. Was sent to me by MS (gracias as I don't use twitter).

I hope that the schools affected are booked for 2022 instead of getting a shirt that reads, "I played the Maui Invitational in a NC Casino!"

More than likely be a bubble so seems like the closest you can get is outside the casino watching on a monitor.

Monday, August 31, 2020

John Thompson- dead at the age of 78

They say this happens in 3s... former Georgetown coach John Thompson passed away.
Link

Thompson paved the way for many other black coaches getting a deserved shot at running a program.

My memories are from the opposition side as I was a St John's Redmen fan growing up... the rivalry between those 2 schools in the 80s was amazing especially when they met in the Big East Tournament.

In the 80s and early 90s if you were a big man you wanted to go through Georgetown as the chances of making it in the NBA (and thriving) were exponentially better if John Thompson coached you (Ewing, Mutombo, Mourning).

John Thompson like Lute Olsen put their schools on the college basketball map. 

We lost another piece of basketball past... rest well coach.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Lute Olsen- dead at the age of 85

From ESPN

I actually consider him one of the greatest coaches of all-time. He literally built a program in the desert and unlike UNLV, Tucson is FAR from a destination vacation. Having been there (3 years ago) I can say Tucson is the semi successful place it is today thanks to Lute Olsen. Without him being there, Tucson (and the University of Arizona) is community school level.

Unlike Jim Calhoun (who I have an unhealthy dislike for), Lute did not have the fertile talent pool to build from. Their stories are similar in regards to building a national program though.

He lived a long time... and his contributions to the school, city, and state will be remembered for the next 100 years. RIP Coach.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

LSU's Will Wade... about to be canceled

Not really shocking if you have followed this the past 3 years, but it is odd that a talent rich area like the NOLA area would need "encouragement."

The investigation involving LSU men's basketball coach Will Wade's alleged bribery of recruits may conclude within an independent group designed to handle complex NCAA infractions matters.

No notice of allegations has yet been sent to LSU. The notice could spell the end of Wade's successful but controversial three-year tenure coaching the Tigers. 

An independent panel could make that ultimate decision if LSU's case enters the Independent Accountability Resolution Process — a system formed in response to a Condoleezza Rice-led commission on college basketball.

Link

Don't think he survives this 2nd look... and he probably shouldn't, but maybe COVID might put up enough of a distraction for him to stay under the radar.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Update: Maui Invitational- I suggest opting out

LINK to the latest news (same as previous post link).

Let me summarize:

- 14 day quarantine through end of September.
- Don't expect to be able to leave your hotel... even less think about inter-island travel
- Good luck renting transportation
- Most beaches/bars closed

That does not sound like a fun time does it? Let me make it worser...

Schools scheduled to play from what I understand have been told to fill the gaps if they can. Meaning... the likelihood of this tournament happening on the Island is slim and none and slim left town.

I fully expect conferences to release limited schedules... in conference games only. Which isn't actually bad if the SEC goes to a 26 game schedule where everyone plays each other 2x... but I will miss the non-conference match ups we get in November and December.

Hawaii seems okay with bankrupting their state so if they are good with that... it is what it is.
When they open back up in 2022 (sarcasm... maybe) they might have to pay the airlines stipends to get people back.

I went ahead and canceled my flight there... while not refundable at least I get the full value back in my account to use elsewhere.

I feel bad for the tourism industry there... 


Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Maui Invitational update- from Hawaii tourism

Some of you might be looking to see us play in Maui. Right now... not sure if that happens.
Use this LINK for continued updates. I will summarize below as of 8/4/2020.

If you travel to Hawaii you are required to do a 14 day quarantine. Since this tourney is 3 days that will scare off most from going. Originally this was lifted in July with the requirement of a COVID negative test 72 hours before arriving, but due to rise in Rona numbers in the lower 48 it was extended to August 31st.

What does this mean? I'll bullet point some thoughts:
- Don't book a hotel or condo right now. Chances are you can't anyways
- Flights are dirt cheap there with no change fees. 
- Flight is not refundable, but the full cost will be credited to whatever airline you are flying with for a future trip.
- Assume flights you see now may not be the same as airlines are canceling flights like crazy. Which means you may be booked on a different flight than you purchased.

Any positives? 

From a financial standpoint Hawaii is bleeding money. Tourism is at a halt and they depend on tournaments like this to generate big revenue. They say the Maui Invitational generates over $25 million... and the Diamondhead Classic brings in similar #s. The tourney committees will do what they can to protect that... so they are holding out hope for full capacity.

My thoughts... we are around 3 months from this and right now I don't see how this happens. Hawaii is a little bit different than most states and while the economy needs the $, the state does not see it that way. I suspect in the next 6 weeks this tournament will be canceled and all 7 teams (plus host) will be rescheduled for 2022.

FWIW- if things somehow open up there I plan on being at the tournament. If not... guess I will have to vacation elsewhere.

Monday, August 03, 2020

John Petty Returns to Tide

 Coach Oats and staff were the recipients of some very good news today when Alabama SG John Petty Jr informed the team of his plans to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return for his senior season. The 6’6 “flamethrower” had been scouted as a potential late 2nd round pick but not necessarily a lock to be drafted. One has to think that this is the right decision if John is able to continue his trend of improving his game every season. It was just a season ago that Petty averaged over 14 PPG while also leading the team in rebounds as a guard. 

 The statistical improvements have been obvious but it’s also hard to ignore the intangibles that Petty brought to the team last season. One might argue that when Bama was at its best, it was Petty setting the example with vocal leadership and aggressive defense even when his shot wasn’t falling. Petty already has a year in Oats’ system and his experience will help improve the roster beyond the extra depth he provides. The Tide’s projected starting lineup will now raise a few eyebrows in the SEC as Petty’s NBA Level talent will likely join the likes of Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackleford in the backcourt, and fellow seniors Herbert Jones and Jordan Bruner in the frontcourt. If the Tide manages to find chemistry quickly...it could be a legitimate contender to win the SEC. 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Jaden Quinerly Joins Tide as a Walk On

 The Tide have added yet another addition to the 2020 roster in the form of 6’1, 170 lb. walk on PG Jaden Quinerly. Jaden is the younger brother of current Bama PG, Jahvon Quinerly. While Jaden doesn’t quite have the reputation of his older brother, he still managed to put up some very respectable numbers as a member of Ramsey High in New Jersey. The younger Quinerly averaged just over 13 PPG and 4 APG in his senior campaign while finishing in the top 5 in the state of New Jersey in recorded steals for the season. Jaden may not possess the offensive acumen of Jahvon but his game sports very little wasted effort and he has a relentless motor on defense. He had received some interest from high majors but never quite got the offer he was hoping for. He’s an intelligent kid, and a gym rat so don’t be surprised if he develops more offense to add to his motor and finds a way to contribute for the Tide at some point during his career in Tuscaloosa.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Tide Inks nations #9 Class

 With yesterday’s official signing of 6’11 French F Alex Tchikou, Alabama likely wraps up its 2020 class. Coach Oats and staff’s first recruiting class is one that will likely be remembered, especially if the program lives up to the lofty expectations that will inevitably come from signing such a class. Tchikou joins fellow lengthy Wings Keon Ambrose-Hylton and Darius Miles as well as Guards Joshua Primo and Keon Ellis. Stretch F Jordan Bruner rounds out the additions to the upcoming season as a transfer from Yale. One of Coach Oats’ goals is to have 5 guys that can stretch the floor at the same time. This class will likely fill that need and also improve the overall talent level of the program in general. Development is key, however, and while the excitement surrounding the class is justified...it’s hard not to remember that scary golden rule of Alabama basketball. Having said that, it certainly seems that the work ethic of this current staff is setting itself up to be a fail safe.

On another note, Ivy League representatives informed their schools today that the remainder of their sports are cancelled for 2020. This likely puts a hold on the series with Yale that was set to begin this season.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Drive by updates- schedule, Bracketology, etc.

Looks like we will play in Brooklyn for the NCAAT according to Joe Lunardi :)

Other notes:
- USA, USA... as South Alabama will play us this season in Tuscaloosa (and in 2022). We will make the trip there in 2021
- We open with Jax State on Nov 10th... assuming we have a season. Which IMO is 50/50.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Mo Williams to Bama.... State

Congrats to Mo... hopefully he can parlay this gig to bigger and better things down the road. Good hire for Alabama State.

Link

Monday, May 11, 2020

Updates- schedule becoming clearer, other news

It's official... Bama plays Clemson in Atlanta. In hoops.
This is part of the 8 team gathering of sorts at Philips... uh State Farm Arena on Dec 12th. Auburn, LSU, and Miss St slated for it as well.

Galin Smith is in transfer portal. Not unexpected... good luck to him.

Looks like Furman and Vermont are also on the schedule for 2020-21 according to Jon Rothstein. I don't do twitter, but I'll add his Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/Jon.Rothstein/) in case you want to keep up with that sort of thing. I'm not big into social media so most of these things fly by me....

If this season actually tips off we have a pretty solid non-conference slate... not too tough, not cupcake city either.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Updates- Kira still leaving, transfer destinations, etc.

Kira Lewis has decided to stick in the NBA Draft and is hiring an agent. Most project mid to late 1st round. Good luck.
John Petty is still eligible to return, but I doubt he will as he can get paid overseas.
Here is a link to a list of early entries across college basketball.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Buy or sell- SEC edition

I dabble in the stock market so I figured why not bring some of that lingo to all 14 SEC teams. I am going to rate them from Sell, Underperform, Hold, Overperform, and Buy going into next season... and give reasons why.

Alabama- Hold
  Mediocre describes the program. I don't see a trend either way yet.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Last 10 (this one is 11) years continued- SEC conference records by team

As we enjoy being confined to our living quarters for the most part until the end of April or later... here's some more stats you can use to make arguments with:

2009-10 through 2019-20 conference records:

Sunday, April 12, 2020

SEC hoops success: last 10 years

Since most of us are locked down due to coronamania, I found some time to some data digging. This "episode" highlights how many times each team has made the NCAA Tournament. I used a starting point of the 2010 NCAAT (2009-10 season) to make it 10 years.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Late to party... new commits

In the midst of coronamania, some good news I am sure most fans already know... Darius Miles is Bama bound!

Too small of a write up to snippet pieces so click the link and support the reporting arm of AL.com

Link here

MSmilie is more of the recruiting guru of this board, but he has decided to step away (we thank him for the many years of hard work and info) so myself and DJC will try to fill his big shoes the best we can.

Hopefully by the start of the season we can stop wearing masks in public...

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Al.com article- notes from conference call

Some of the stuff in here we kinda already knew, but being we are deprived of ALL SPORTS we should take ANYTHING and be happy about it. Snippets below... full link here

- Kira Lewis and John Petty will go through the NBA draft process, per Oats. They’ll go through workouts, get feedback and then make a final decision on whether to turn pro. “Based on feedback that they get, they both may leave," Oats said. “We’re planning on possibly not having either of them back."

— Oats is excited about having Jahvon Quinerly next season. “A lot of you saw Quinerly in practice and, shoot, he was really good,” Oats said. “Some days, he was the best player in practice.”

Click the link and read it all...

I was planning on seeing OUR Yankees in Milwaukee in a couple months, but coronamania messed that up! MLB season probably won't start until mid June so I'll be bored silly for the next few months (as many of you are already).

Take care and be safe.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Wrapping up a season that ended with no end. 2019-2020 Recap and State of the Program Manifesto

For many of us, this is the most wonderful time of the year.  Spring is upon us, the weather is warming up in cooler locales, the days are longer, the sun is shining, baseball is ramping up, and our favorite sport is in the midst of its championship season.  We put money in tournament pools, we take off work to watch games and compare brackets, and when Alabama is involved (which sadly has not been very often in recent years) we put our whole lives on hold to at least watch, if not travel to, those games on little notice.  It's fun and exciting.

Obviously, none of that is happening this year.  There is no NCAA tournament, or sports for that matter, as the world is facing much larger issues.  Most of us are working from home if we are fortunate enough to be working at all.  Instead of watching the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, we're all following the news and watching "infection curves" and "mortality rates."  I think there's some value to trying to maintain some sense of normalcy during chaotic times, so I'm stepping away from the news this afternoon to recap the season and give my thoughts on the current state of the Alabama basketball program, as I do at the end of each season.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

COV-19 Alabama-0- SEC Tournament Cancelled

All power 5 conferences have cancelled their tournaments.  It is very likely that the season is over.  I would not be surprised at all if the NCAA tournament is cancelled, and I will be shocked if the NIT happens.

I know a lot of people have strong feelings on this, and this is an area where there is some overlap between government policy, politics, and sports, but I will remind everyone to please adhere to Bobbyjack's "no political comments" rule. 

All I will say is that I encourage everyone to stay informed, follow CDC guidelines, and I hope everybody stays healthy and safe.  I'll try to post basketball related news as things are announced, and once the season is officially over I'll get to work on my annual end of season recap and state of the program manifesto.

Until then, Roll Tide.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

SEC Tournament Preview


Due to time constraints this week as well as a lack of emotional investment, I'm not going to do a full preview for the Tennessee game or any additional games Alabama may play in Nashville. Instead, I'm going to just write a quick preview of the tournament itself. At the end, I'll include some picks.

But first, it's a fair question to ask: will there be a tournament this week that fans can attend? Nashville has reported its first case of the corona virus, and with that report comes the possibility that the event (as well as other conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament itself) could limit the number of spectators at the event, if not bar fans completely. The SEC has stated that it's monitoring the situation. This coming on the heels of the tornado in the area is less than ideal. My gut feeling is that the tournament will go off without a hitch, but never underestimate the power that panic holds over large numbers of human beings.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Tide Throws in the Towel against Tigers, Mizzou 69 Bama 50

Alabama wrapped up the regular season with a 16-15 (8-10) record thanks to an ugly loss to Missouri.

Mizzou controlled the tempo from the start, and it was an ugly, slow-paced defensive battle.  I guess if you are looking for a bright side we played pretty good defense for the first 30 minutes.  We even played a fair amount of zone, and that was effective against a poor shooting Mizzou team, but we struggled to rebound out of it.   Neither team could go on a run and it was a close game with the Tigers leading by 1 at halftime.  It remained neck and neck until about the 10 minute mark, but Mizzou ran out to a 9 point lead and we had no response, as the Tigers just gradually pulled away for the rest of the game.

All of the issues we've been complaining about off and on all year showed up in this game.  We had 18 turnovers, were out-rebounded 42-27, and gave up 48 points in the second half.  We were only 4 of 25 from 3 point range.

It's fair to question if Oats has lost this team.  They certainly didn't respond well to having their effort called out after the Vandy loss.

Kira scored 18 but also had 7 turnovers.  Shack had a solid game, relatively speaking with 13 points and 5 boards.  Galin had 10 points and 4 boards.  Outside of those 3, we didn't get much effort from anybody else.

Up next, post-season eligibility is on the line in the SEC tournament.  We are the 9 seed and will play Tennessee in Nashville at noon.  You can watch it on the SEC Network.

 

SEC tournament predictions

DJC will probably put up a post game post on the Misery game so stay tuned.

My guesses on how the SECT will go. Bracket is here

Day 1
UGA over Ole Miss
Vanderbilt over Arkansas

Day 2
Tennessee over Alabama
UGA over Florida
aTm over Mizzou
SC Lite over Vanderbilt

Day 3
Kentucky over Tennessee
Miss St over UGA
Auburn over aTm
SC Lite over LSU

Day 4
Kentucky over Miss St
Auburn over SC Lite

Day 5
Auburn over Kentucky


I think with a run to the semis, SC Lite gets the SEC a 6th bid to the NCAAT. I also can see Miss St sneaking in.
Adding to this... I think the seeds will go like this:
Kentucky- 3
Auburn- 4
LSU- 7
Florida- 9
Miss St- 11
SC Lite- 12 (probably play in game)

Friday, March 06, 2020

Game Preview: at Missouri


If you're going to torpedo your NCAA at-large chances, you may as well do it with style. Alabama (16-14, 8-9; KenPom: 53; NET: 51) did that by losing at home to a Vanderbilt team that entered with just one conference win. It was Alabama's fourth home loss in the month of February/March, something that is becoming a Crimson Tide tradition. The final game of the regular season comes (mercifully?) on the road this Saturday when the team travels to play the Missouri Tigers (14-16, 6-11; KenPom: 104; NET: 94). Game time is 1:30 P.M. CT, and will be televised on the SEC Network.

My Two Cents: I don't believe Nate Oats took this job lightly when he was hired, but Tuesday night may have been the first time it dawned on him what an uphill battle he's in for to change the culture of this program. His frustration and disappointment during the game and after was palpable. Comments he made about players in his press conference needing to get into the gym to improve (as well as captured audio during the telecast) was a window into the state of things. Sure, we can critique some of the coaching decisions (and I will certainly share my opinions after the season wraps up), but it appears that the staff are going through the usual first year problems that arise when some guys buy in, and others do not. You throw in the additional struggles with injuries this season - more than any team in the league - and perhaps we shouldn't be surprised how this season has progressed.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Slamming the Door on Tournament Dreams, Vandy 87 Bama 79

First of all, my condolences to the tornado victims in Nashville, and congratulations to the Vanderbilt basketball team for staying focused, playing an awesome game, and getting a great win for their city.  You all know I've never been too fond of the Vandy basketball program, but I think we can all relate to what they are going through. 

The loss drops Alabama to 16-14 (8-9) and ends all hope for an NCAA at-large tournament bid.  We are now more realistically on the NIT bubble. 

We came out flat and Vandy set the tone, scoring on their first two possessions.  Beetle got hot in the first half, and we answered to take a 6 point lead about midway through the first.  It was an up-tempo game, and we did a fairly good job of protecting the basketball, but the defense was atrocious throughout, and Vanderbilt shot the lights out.  We went nearly 6 minutes without scoring from the field, and Vandy reclaimed the lead at 42-35 going into halftime.

We trailed by as many as 10 in the second half before Shack finally started scoring to get us back in the game.  We were never able to go  up by more than a single possession, and another nearly 5 minute drought from the field combined with more terrible defense allowed Vandy to put the game away in the final 3 minutes.

The scoring droughts on offense are going to happen from time to time, especially when you rely on the 3 so much.  It seems with our lack of depth and pace of play, we lost our legs late in the game and thus the 3s stopped falling.  At some point we have to make some defensive adjustments.  I know Petty being out presents some major matchup problems for us, but Herb should have been matched up with Lee much more than he was.  Kira and Shack could not guard him. When we finally did put Herb on Lee, they ran a simple high ball screen with their 5, and we inexplicably switched on it every time.  I get that he wasn't that great of a 3 point shooter coming into the game and maybe they were more concerned with the dribble drive, but after he's made 3 or 4 in a row, you need to defend him, and neither G nor JD are capable of doing so at the perimeter.  The third or fourth time in a row that happened was with about one minute remaining and pushed their lead from 4 back to 7 and essentially put the game away.  I admit, I may have had a little bit of a meltdown at that point, so if you were sitting within earshot (which is to say within about a 5 block radius of the arena) I apologize for the profanity.

Coach Oats was as angry as I've seen him all year.  During one timeout in the first half he slapped the seat of a chair, and while I couldn't make out what he was saying, we could clearly hear his voice over the music in the PA system.  He was mic'd up, and apparently the broadcast picked up him saying "soft as $h!t, that's what it is, you don't care about anybody but yourself."  Based on the positioning, I think that was directed at Alex.

Outside of Kira, Beetle, and Herb, we did not get the best effort from everybody while Vanderbilt played inspired basketball.  Alex is scheduled to have surgery on his hip after the surgery and I think the injury is bothering him more, as he has been noticeably slower over the last couple of weeks.  I was really disappointed in JD being a non-factor against much less competition after putting up a double-double in the last game.

On the positive side, Kira had 30 points, 8 assists, and only one turnover.  Beetle had 24 points on his senior night but had 5 turnovers.  Shack bounced back from a bad first half to end with 18 points.  Alex and Herb both had 8 rebounds. 

The crowd was disappointing considering it was an ideal tip-off time with a lot on the line.  I would guess there was no more than 6,000 there and they were mostly taken out of the game for much of the night.

If either Ole Miss beats Mizzou or LSU beats Arkansas tonight, we will avoid having to play on Wednesday of the SEC tournament.  If that's the case, I would rest Herb, Alex, and JP against Mizzou and focus on getting everyone rested and healthy for Nashville.  Assuming either Ole Miss or LSU wins tonight, it's probably in our best interest to lose Saturday and get the 10 seed in the SEC tournament.  An 8 or 9 seed will put us on the Kentucky side of the bracket.

Up next, we wrap up the regular season at Mizzou, game time is 1:30 pm Saturday on the SEC Network.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Game Preview: Vanderbilt


If I may cite a famous line from a not-so-popular film: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!" Alabama (16-13, 8-8; KenPom: 48; NET: 40) refused to close the book on this season by gutting out a 90-86 victory this past Saturday. With two games remaining in the regular season, can this team create some momentum for itself heading into Nashville? The first step to answering that question is defending home court on senior night when the Vanderbilt Commodores (9-20, 1-15; KenPom: 187; NET: 170) visit. Game time on Tuesday night is 7:30 P.M. CT, but get there early for the senior night festivities. Only one senior - James "Beetle" Bolden - will be honored on Tuesday night, but it could also be your final chance to see any players that may pursue professional opportunities after this season concludes. SEC Network will televise the game.

My Two Cents: As basketball fans, we've all had our share of frustrations with this program over the years. But one thing I've always felt proud of as a fan are the number of high-character players that have come through the program. That kind of character was on full display again on Saturday night. Per Bryan Passink (in case anyone doesn't know, a radio analyst for Crimson Tide Sports), Alabama starters/key reserves have missed a total of 94 games. The SEC Network showed a graphic of 73 on Saturday, but I don't recall if that was number of conference games missed. Whatever the number, Alabama leads the league by a wide margin in the number of players that have missed games this season due to injury or illness. And yet, the team still has a puncher's chance at making the NCAA Tournament because they have refused to wilt despite the adversity. That takes character, and character is easy to cheer for.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Bama Beats Cocks, Alabama 90 South Carolina 86

Next Man Up!  Alabama once again overcame numerous injuries to grind out a tough win at home against a very physical USCe squad.  The win puts the Tide at 16-13 (8-8) overall. Those slim NCAA tournament hopes are still alive.

It was another slow start as Carolina ran out to an early 12-1 lead.  Over five minutes ran off the clock before we made a basket.  Coach Oats argued relentlessly with the officials after Beetle was called for a block on a play where everyone in the gym saw it as a charge.  After several warnings, Oats was nailed with a "T." I think this was another instance of Coach actually wanting the technical foul.  The team looked flat to that point, and his technical certainly seemed to inject some energy both into the team and the fans in the arena.  Bama answered with a 7-0 run to get back into the game, and only trailed by 2 at halftime.

Davis hit a 3 to start the second half (I'm still not crazy about him shooting them), but South Carolina answered with a run to push the lead to 6.  Shack got  us back into the game with a 3, then a defensive stop and a Kira layup cut it to one, and from there the game pretty much went back and forth with neither team able to take over control.  Both teams were attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line, and our guys were doing a phenomenal job of holding their own on the glass.  Defensively, we struggled to get stops at times and even mixed in a zone for a couple of possessions.  We led by as many as 8, but when Carolina switched to a press late in the game, we struggled to inbound the basketball.  The Cocks cut the lead to two with just under two minutes when they committed a flagrant foul on Herb.

Herb proceeded to make both shots one handed, then drive down the lane and get a one-handed layup to push the lead back to 6.  We made just enough free throws to hang on from there, including Davis with the final dagger to make it a two possession game in the final seconds.

I'm really proud of the way this team pulls together and picks each other up.  With no John Petty against a bigger, more physical team, and us having a short bench, this looked like a bad matchup.  However, JD proved to be a huge asset with his first double-double.  A lot has been made of our weakness at the 5 spot, but if we can get anywhere near that kind of production from JD this is a totally different team.  People often forget that big men generally develop slower than wings/guards, and it's obvious Davis has improved over the course of the year.  Davis ended up with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Kira was the leading scorer with 25 points, 6 assists, and only two turnovers.  He had a couple of big 3s to get us going, and was excellent driving to the basket and maintaining control.  Shack had an "off" night and still scored 18 points despite having 3 turnovers and only going 3 of 7 from the line.  Coach was in his ear all game.  I've noticed Coach seems to ride Shack a bit harder than the others, for example Beetle makes a lot of the same mistakes, getting out of control, dribbling into traffic, etc, but he doesn't seem to catch as much grief for it as Shack does.

Herb had 10 points, 9 rebounds, and went 4 of 6 from the line while playing his usual lock-down defense.  Of course he won the hard hat again.  The man is an absolute warrior, and it's just amazing what he is doing right now despite playing with a cast. It's not just his physical play either, he's a leader and a coach on the floor.  On one possession, he recognized that USCe was about to switch to a zone, he signaled for Kira to hold up a second, called a different set, and the result was a slash for a layup.

Alex continued to struggle offensively, going only 2 for 7 from the field with a couple of turnovers.  I thought he did a good job with their bigs on the defensive end though, grabbing 10 rebounds.

It's encouraging that we've shown we can win multiple ways, despite our "live and die by the 3" reputation.  We were a respectable 9 of 24 from three point range, but we also attacked the basket and got to the line where we made 33 of 47.  That's about 70%, and while not great, it's respectable.  Carolina was only 17 of 26.  We actually out-rebounded them 44 to 39, and limited the turnovers to 11.

The crowd was actually much better than the last game.  I would estimate around 10,000 were there, and with the exception of the slow start and during the flurry of turnovers late, the fans were loud and into the game.  Signee Keon Ambrose-Hylton was there.

Up next, Vandy comes in for a 7:30 tip-off Tuesday night.  The Dores beat LSU and have been playing much better lately, so we will need another good crowd to cheer our guys on in another "must win" game.  If you can't make it to Coleman, you can catch it on SEC Network.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Game Preview: South Carolina


Before I start writing about this game, I want to take the time to congratulate Kristy Curry and the women's team for back-to-back wins against top 15 teams (at Mississippi State and at Texas A&M). That's the first time in program history they've done that. Those wins for the ladies suddenly put them on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament so I implore all of you that can make it to Coleman on Sunday for the ladies senior day vs Missouri to get out there and be loud.

Okay, let's turn to the other basketball bubble team in Tuscaloosa. After a loss in Starkville, Alabama (15-13, 7-8; KenPom: 46; NET: 39) is running out of opportunities to make a compelling case to the selection committee. I wouldn't say they're at the "win the conference tournament or else" stage, but they're getting close. Next up is a home game vs the South Carolina Gamecocks (17-11, 9-6; KenPom: 71; NET: 64). Game time on Saturday is 7:30 P.M. CT, and will be televised on the SEC Network.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Bullies Bust Bama's Bubble, Miss $tate 80 Alabama 73

Bama dropped a hard fought game in Starkville to fall to 15-13 (7-8).  The Tide will need to win their last three games now to have any chance at getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

The big story from this game is John Petty's injury.  He left the game with a wrist injury late in the first half and did not return.  We should be hearing X-Ray and/or MRI results at some point today.

Prior to JP's injury it was a back and forth game, with an up-tempo pace to Alabama's liking.  We had a nice inside-out game going in the first and shot the ball well from the perimeter.  Unfortunately, we had no answer for $tate's bigs all night.  JD and Galin did little to slow them down, Alex struggled on both ends, and when JP went down we were severely out-manned defensively.

We only trailed by 2 at the half, but after shooting 8 of 17 from 3 point range in the first half, we missed our first 12 threes in the second.  That, combined with our inability to slow down the Bulldogs post game, allowed $tate to build a modest lead.  We had a couple of chances to get back in the game late, but we couldn't make a free throw and $tate finally put it away.

Nobody can question the effort of this team.  We were even in rebounding despite being terribly undersized and left with a short bench.  We limited the turnovers to 11, but the woeful 8 of 15 free throw shooting and lack of defense was too much to overcome. 

Kira was the leading scorer with 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists to 3 turnovers.  Shack scored 17 points despite only making 2 of 7 threes, and was the leading rebounder with 9.  Beetle had 11 points including a couple of big 3s in the first half.  I feel like he wore himself out and was maybe a bit tired in the second half and his shots stopped falling.  He played 34 minutes due to JP's injury, and that is a lot for a super-high energy guy like Beetle.  Herb fouled out in 23 minutes but was the only bright spot on defense when he was in the game. 

Alex only had 5 points in 24 minutes and had four turnovers.  He was making some really head-scratching decisions.  If the defender does not fall for his head fake, he needs to pass it off or try to shoot over him, anything but put it on the floor, he's not going to beat any properly positioned defender on the dribble.  Several times he seemed to have his mind made up instead of reading the defense and dribbled into traffic.

I did not attend this game, (I'm getting too old to do 2+ hr drives for weeknight games that start at 8 pm), but I talked to a friend who went and said we had a good crowd there including about 100 students.  The place looked empty on TV, which I thought was a little surprising given this game was hyped as a battle of two bubble teams. 

Up next, a very good South Carolina team will come to Tuscaloosa for a 7:30 pm tipoff Saturday evening.  The true "must win" games start now, and we'll need a big crowd to help the guys get back on track.  It will be televised on SEC Network.