Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Quinerly unstoppable... Bama blows out Black Bears 82-64

Box score

Last night defense was the key... Ole Miss hit 1 three (out of 13) and overall hit just over a third of their total shots. Never gonna win shooting like that. We did not fare much better (43/32%), but in comparison we were Steph Curry.

What impressed me the most last night was Q getting to the basket. I believe that opened up a lot of our offense. Despite a not so good shooting night, the defense kept us comfortably ahead throughout the 2nd half. Ole Miss I don't believe ever made a serious run at us (getting within 2 scores).

This is the type of game we need to play more of (minus the overabundance of bad three ball shooting) if we are to be a serious contender in the SEC. Time will tell if this game was an abomination or what we should expect going forward.

We have a really tough next 6 games coming up. Going 2-4 in those IMO would be a victory.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Predicting the SEC schedule

This team can go anywhere from 12-6 to 6-12.. so I'm going to predict 9-9 based on what I have seen so far this year.
The Oklahoma game sandwiched in between... also a L.
Would need some sort of run in the SECT (assuming that goes as planned) to make the NCAAT.
Dec 29 Ole Miss- W
Jan 2 @Tennessee- L
Jan 5 Florida- L
Jan 9 @Auburn- L
Jan 12 @Kentucky- L
Jan 16 Arkansas- L
Jan 19 @LSU- W
Jan 23 Mississippi State- W
Jan 26 Kentucky- W
Feb 3 LSU- W
Feb 6 @Missouri- L
Feb 9 @South Carolina- W
Feb 13 Georgia- W
Feb 17 @Texas A&M- L
Feb 20 Vanderbilt- W
Feb 24 @Arkansas- L
Feb 27 @Mississippi State- L
Mar 2 Auburn- W

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Game Preview: Alabama vs ETSU

  The sun did actually rise after the gut-wrenching loss to WKU . I won’t go into everything that went wrong in that game, but I do invite you to take a look at Bobby’s recap...if your stomach can bare it. Alabama will have to process and overcome, however as it welcomes Jason Shay’s ETSU team in tonight at 6:30. SEC+ will provide the coverage with Trevor Releford on the call. 

The Opponent : ETSU had a brutal start to it’s 20-21 campaign but have since won 3 of it’s last 4 with the help of a new defensive identity. That’s quite the departure from last season’s 30-4 team that put up some truly gaudy numbers at times for a SoCon team. Coach Shay is currently in the middle of a rebuilding project of sorts as ETSU lost over 90% of it’s scoring from last season and then some. I’m not saying there isn’t talent on this roster...but Alabama absolutely has to take care of business tonight. Pure and simple.

Players to Watch : As tempted as I am to place eyes on the entire offense due to the the Tide shooting a paltry 40% from the field and a disgusting 29% from 3...I won’t. We’ve seen some positive play from the likes of Herbert Jones, Jahvon Quinerly and Josh Primo but Alabama simply hasn’t put together a solid offensive effort. A long look in the mirror is required to determine whether Bama wants to continue to live and (mostly) die by the 3 or maybe try a different approach. Most will disagree with me here, but I think the team has to keep shooting. It starts with John Petty. He has essentially been non-existent in the first half of games. That has to stop. Especially against teams that Alabama should handle at home. To his credit, John continues to bring it on D and the boards every night whether he’s shooting well or not. He simply needs to find some confidence with the shooting stroke. When that happens, I think Alabama will finally reach its full offensive potential. As great as he’s been, Alabama can’t be great with Jones being its “go to guy.”Like it or not, I don’t think this can team can be great without the 3. I ALSO CAN NOT BELIEVE IM SAYING THIS ABOUT A ROSTER THAT CARRIES FOUR POTENTIAL NBA PLAYERS. 

 Thankfully, ETSU isn’t strong at all in the frontcourt but they do have some talented guards. Ledarrius Brewer leads the team with 15 PPG and David Sloan adds 9 PPG while bringing good vision to the court. Alabama will have to close out on the perimeter and block out as the ETSU guards follow their shots well. 

My Thoughts: I don’t think there is much need in adding much else to what is written above. The offensive production we’ve seen thus far from Alabama is unacceptable...and the coaches and players would be the first to tell you the same. Alabama has one last non-conference opportunity to iron out the kinks and find some confidence before conference play. On a roster loaded with NBA level talent, struggling with mid-majors at home simply can’t continue. Maybe tonight is the night that the lid comes off the rim and JP and Shack light up the scoring column. 

Prediction: Alabama 85, ETSU 68

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Toppers top Tide 73-71... and it's time to panic

Box score

I am not going to get into what I think is wrong with the team as that might become a manifesto so I'll point out some stats that make you scratch your head:

WKU- 3/11 from 3, 17 TOs, +3 rebounds

Above sounds like we should have won comfortably except...

Bama- 7/26 from 3, 19 TOs, 22/56 FG

For the season here is a sample of why I scratch my head at our approach to the game:

3PT FG- 61/208
FG- 181/445

Take those #s... and subtract our 3PT shooting and you're at 50%
Oats is supposedly an analytics guy so looking at that you would think shooting FEWER 3s might be something to look at.

This team dies by the 3... not lives and dies, but DIES by the 3.
If I told you only Herbert Jones and Joshua Primo shoots better than 33% from beyond the arc does that make you rethink the fascination of shooting 3s altogether?

Next up... the fighting Kenny Chesneys of East Tennessee State 12/22 @ 6:30PM CST

Friday, December 18, 2020

Game Preview: Alabama vs Western Kentucky

  Ugh...Rick Stansbury is coming back to Tuscaloosa. He’ll be bringing a talented team into Coleman tomorrow. Tip is set for 1:00 CT on ESPNU. 

 The Opponent : Western Kentucky comes into this matchup with a 5-2 record but they already have a couple of quality wins on the docket over Northern Iowa and Memphis. The aforementioned Rick Stansbury has “recruited “ well for the Hilltoppers and even managed to land the nation’s top recruit in 2018. More on him later. More importantly, his team plays hard for him more often than not. WKU comes into the matchup as #80 in KenPom. This will be yet another quality mid-major opponent for Alabama. 

 The Hilltoppers are strong in the paint and they rebound well. Having said that, it’s perplexing as to why they attempt so many threes. As a team, WKU barely scratches the 30% mark from behind the arc. Falling in love with the 3 has been WKU’s downfall in their losses. Let’s hope that trend continues. 

Players to watch: For WKU, there is no doubt about who the focus will be on. 6’10 C Charles Bassey has been a walking double double for Rick Stansbury and The Tide has had trouble defending the post at times. If Jordan Bruner were to end up in foul trouble, Bassey could feast tomorrow. On the other hand, Bruner could make Bassey chase him on the perimeter some and maybe keep Bassey winded while perhaps drawing some fouls on him to limit his minutes. 

 For the Tide, one could look towards numerous players that helped the team squeak out a close W over Furman. Juwan Gary played some big minutes and even reached double figures in the scoring column. Herbert Jones has straight up developed into a pro and the team doesn’t win without the heroic efforts of James Rojas (combined with Mouncy fouling out). I’m gonna go with Jahvon Quinerly though. The Jersey native probably had his worst game of the season Tuesday night with Herbert Jones taking the majority of minutes at the point.  Even to the point of having been called out to the media by the new mouth of the south-Nate Oats. I’m interested to see how JQ responds to the public criticism. The young man is no stranger to adversity and I expect Jahvon to have a big game if Bassey gets in some foul trouble and the driving lanes open up some. 

 My thoughts : Coach Oats stated in his press conference that he expected the Clemson game would be a wake up call for the team in terms of effort and energy, but it didn’t work out that way. His hope was that the first half of the Furman game was finally what was needed to drive the message home. I agree with Oats this time. I expect a complete performance from Alabama this weekend. I expect the Tide to have several runs that will be fueled by the 3. The pressure will then be placed on WKU to attempt to match Bama’s fast paced style...and that will be their downfall. 

Prediction: Alabama 75, Western Kentucky 59

Monday, December 14, 2020

Game Preview: Alabama vs Furman

  Before we get started with this upcoming game I’d like to share that the other upcoming matchup with #6 Houston has been canceled. Alabama and Western Kentucky have come to an agreement to play instead. Tip for that one is set for 1:00 Saturday. 

 As expected, Alabama ran into a defensive buzzsaw against Clemson Saturday. The Tide couldn’t shoot well enough to win and it also failed to match Clemson’s effort in the first half. Most disappointing was how the team fought to take a late lead only to follow the all too familiar script of falling apart late in big games. The task doesn’t get much easier as the Paladins of Furman will come into Tuscaloosa Tuesday  playing well. Tip is set for 8:00 on SEC Network. 

The Opponent : Furman comes into the 20-21 season as the consensus preseason pick to win the SoCon and they’ve fit the Bill so far. The team returns 4 starters and 3 of them were selected for preseason all conference honors. Furman is 5-1 and are outscoring opponents by nearly 25 PPG so far. They’re shooting an impressive 50% from the field at this point in the season. Alabama will need to lower that number in tomorrow night’s matchup and then rebound the misses. Simple, right?

Players to Watch: Furman returns 4 of 5 starters (as previously mentioned) from last year’s team that finished 25-7. F Jalen Slawson is an athletic big that is averaging about 11 PPG and 6 RPG. He shoots a high percentage so Jordan Bruner and Alex Reese will once again be tasked with defending a talented post player. The motor for the Paladins has to be Mike Bothwell, however. Bothwell leads Furman with 18 PPG, 4 APG and 2 SPG. Slowing Bothwell down will go a long way in helping Alabama earn a home W. 

 For Bama the choice has to be Jaden Shackleford. I can’t remember seeing the stoic sophomore being more frustrated than he was against Clemson. Shackleford was particularly disappointing in the final 5 minutes of the game when he missed some crucial shots that would’ve extended the Alabama lead or kept the game  closer. Nobody on the team works harder than Shack, however. I expect a big night from the California kid tomorrow. 

 My Thoughts : This is NOT going to be easy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the betting line of this game set within a single possession. Effort and energy have to be at a maximum early and often. The Tide will need to find the 3 point stroke again and I think it will. It won’t be fun. It’ll probably be a nail biter...but I think home court pulls Bama through...barely. 

Prediction : Alabama 82, Furman 77

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Game Preview: Alabama vs Clemson

 It’s been a while since the last time we saw the Crimson Tide on the hardwood. A tough task will welcome the team back in the Holiday Hoopsgiving event as a very good Clemson team rolls into Atlanta on a hot streak. Tip is set for 7:00 on CTSN radio.

The Opponent: Clemson comes in to this matchup as KenPom’s 6th ranked defensive team and the film confirms that ranking. The Tigers will apply relentless ball pressure at times. They’ll also do the same off the ball which disrupts screening and cutting. Driving lanes will be few and far between for Bama as Clemson will pack the paint as one of the best “helping” teams that I’ve seen so far. This should create some opportunities for Alabama to knock down some kick out 3’s and perhaps loosen the Clemson D, however. Having said that, if The Tide doesn’t shoot well from behind the could be a Stanford-esque evening. 

   Players to Watch: Clemson comes into this game with one of the more underrated big men that I’ve seen so far in this early season. As a true stretch 5, Aamir Sims fills up the stat sheet in every imaginable way. He’s shooting 40% from 3 and is particularly problematic as a screener as he is athletic enough to roll to the basket and finish with authority and also perfectly capable of popping out and knocking down the jumper. 

 The task of defending Sims will fall upon Jordan Bruner for Alabama so he will have to defend well without putting himself into foul trouble. Alabama will also need similar offensive production from Bruner as Clemson will expect from Sims. If Bruner can rebound, finish easy opportunities in the paint and maybe  step out and knock down a 3 or two, he could loosen up that Clemson defense and allow some driving lanes for the Bama guards. If Bruner does find himself in foul trouble, the task will fall to Alex Reese who played himself a great game against Providence and was perhaps Alabama’s best defender in the paint. 

 My thoughts : Having had a week off, I’m afraid Alabama will take some time getting back into rhythm. Clemson is one of the best teams I’ve seen so far this season and they come in with momentum. Hopefully the Tide comes out hot from 3 and puts some pressure on Clemson early. Quinerly and Bruner have to stay out of foul trouble as Bama is a little thin at the 1 and the 5. Clemson knows this. Bama will keep it close, but Clemson is playing well right now. Coach Oats may have to prepare himself for questions about two non-conference losses from those that wish to give him some grief about his Coach K comments earlier in the week. 

Prediction : Clemson 76, Alabama 71

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...