Saturday, January 16, 2021

Petty all-time 3pt leader. Tide trashes Hogs 90-59

Box score

The only negative I can come up with is we played a little loose with the basketball the final 10 minutes. I had to stretch to find something to criticize.

Solid defensive effort, great 3 ball shooting, continued success getting it to the rim... this team is all of a sudden a scary match up for many teams in the country.

Last I checked we were a 5 seed in Bracketology. I expect top 4 come Monday.

Go ahead and book those tickets to Indy...

Friday, January 15, 2021

Game Preview: Alabama vs Arkansas

  Alabama will meet the Arkansas Razorbacks having come off of two straight road wins at Auburn and Kentucky. The win streak is at 6 overall and the Tide finds itself alone at the top of the SEC standings. Tip is set for tomorrow at 2:30 CT. 

The Opponent:  Arkansas comes into the contest with the same record as Alabama at 10-3. The Hogs were undefeated in preseason play but their non-conference schedule was lackluster at best. Things have been very different for Arkansas during SEC play as the team stands at 2-3 coming off a dismantling at the hands of LSU. A loss that Coach Oats laments as he expects Arkansas to lock back in after the loss. Eric Musselman’s squad is expected to be without the services of Justin Smith. Smith leads the team in rebounds at 7 per game. Alabama could have a chance to steal a few extra second chance points if it continues to bring the energy on the boards.  Arkansas averages 87 PPG while only allowing 69

 Players to Watch: In regards to Arkansas, it’s hard to ignore the literal elephant in the room-Conor Vanover. At 7’3 Vanover is just as much a shooting threat as he is in the interior. It’s Moses Moody that leads the Hogs in scoring at 18 PPG and he can score in bursts

 With the absence of Jordan Bruner, Alabama will be depending on Alex Reese and James Rojas to continue their solid play while getting some extra minutes. Either of the 2 could find themselves on Vanover so both will also need to defend without fouling. 

My Thoughts: While Arkansas will be missing Smith, Alabama could be without more than just Bruner. Coach Oats has stated that both Jahvon Quinerly and Herb Jones can play in an “as needed” role. My feeling is that both will be needed-especially if the game is close in the closing minutes. I disagree with Coach Oats in his opinion of catching Arkansas at the wrong time. Something is not clicking right now and the absence of Smith doesn’t help the Hogs. John Petty and Jaden Shackleford are getting locked in. I think it continues tomorrow

Prediction: Alabama 79 Arkansas 70

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Bruner, Herb, Quinerly Injury Update

  The Tide completely obliterated Kentucky Tuesday night at Rupp ( did I really just type that?) by a score of 85-65. Check out DJC’s recap if you haven’t yet. Alabama’s first victory at Rupp since 06 didn’t come without a price, however. The team lost it’s hard hat leader Herb Jones about halfway through the first half and later lost Jordan Bruner to a knee issue in the second half. 

 All is not lost, however. In a press release Wednesday afternoon Coach Oats updated Jones’ injury as a dislocated finger. Jones is listed as day to day and there is hope that he could play Saturday vs Arkansas. Herb has been playing lights out on both sides of the ball this season and Bama fans will be thankful that his injury isn’t more severe. 

 Bruner’s situation is a bit more dire, but there is still light at the end of the tunnel. The Tide’s leader in blocks (20) and steals (16) suffered a torn meniscus and had an operation Wednesday that is likely to keep him out for a month or so.That’s not the end of the world considering Bruner will likely be back before the end of the regular season. 

 Alabama’s only true PG Jahvon Quinerly has missed the last 3 games due to an unspecified medical condition. He’s listed as day to day as well but Coach Oats sounds as though he expects Quinerly to play this weekend. Jones, Primo, Shackleford and Petty have performed admirably on the ball in Quinerly’s absence but he’s a vital member of the backcourt and the Tide will need his contributions in order to maintain its current level of play...and FIRST PLACE IN THE SEC.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

5-0... Tide trounces Wildcats 85-65

Box score

A dominating performance in which we never trailed. Put this up for comments... which should be all positive on the court.

Probably add more thought later.

More thoughts:
- 3 pt shooting was ON
- I lost count of how many times we penetrated to the rim for an easy layup
- Defense kept the Wildcats at bay. Very few uncontested shots
- Only 11 TOs... and most of those were when the game was already decided

Injuries to Herb and Bruner are troubling... 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Alabama ranked for the 1st time during conference play in a long, long time


Note- we have been ranked a few times in the first half of the season (Dec 2011, Nov 2017), but other than that we have been MIA from the top 25... until this week.

Last time we were ranked during SEC play was the week of Feb 19, 2007... so unless I am missing something that is almost 14 years since we were part of the top 25 in the second half of the season.

At Kentucky this week is going to be a slugfest as the Wildcats seem to have come together as a team. Did I mention this game is for solo possession of 1st place? WOW!

Got to give credit to Nate Oats... in year 2 we are ahead of schedule. Let's hope what we have seen the past 3 weeks is indicative of the rest of the season.

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Bama burns the barn... 94-90 for 4-0 start

Box score

A win is a win... especially a road one at the Barn. 

Bruner and Herb played great with 20 and 19 points each (Primo had 22, but waaaay too many bad non-threes for my liking). I say both of them set the pace for the game.

Shack and Primo did not shoot the ball well, but contributed in other ways (driving to the basket, opening up the outside, rebounding) to guide this team to victory even with BAD Petty showing up today (we usually lose when that version shows up)

IMO too many 3s were taken today, but LET'S GIVE A SHOUTOUT FOR OUTSTANDING FT SHOOTING!

Defensively... you normally can't say GREAT D when you surrender 90 points, but we did hold them to under 30% from beyond the arc.

4-0 in the SEC... right now we are in the play-in game according to Lunardi (and others) and as the Jeffersons said in their theme song... WE'RE A MOVIN' ON UP!

This song may be relevant right now... for NCAA hopes:

Friday, January 08, 2021

Game Preview: Alabama at Auburn

  The Crimson Tide travel to Lee County on an impressive 4 game winning streak that includes the highest rated win according to KenPom (at Tennessee). Tip is set for 11:00 Saturday on ESPN. 

 The Opponent: The hated Tigers come into this Iron Bowl of Hoops heavily relying on freshman as they provide nearly half of Auburn’s offense. One of those players DNP in Auburn’s last contest-a loss at Ole Miss. It seems that Powell will be good to go for tomorrow’s contest, however. Bruce Pearl and staff are well aware that Alabama has been playing well. His club will need to bring a level of intensity on the defensive end that it frankly hasn’t shown outside of the outstanding effort against Troy. Look for Pearl to instill more zone as Alabama has simply been unstoppable when it’s been able to create one on one matchups while driving. Auburn will likely try to force the Tide to shoot over the zone quite a bit. Expect more of the same from Auburn offensively as they lead the SEC in 3s made per game at about 10.5.

 Players to watch: Auburn’s Allen Flanigan has been incredibly impressive in my opinion. The Little Rock product is connecting at nearly 40% from 3 and is likely the Tiger’s best defender

 The Tide will once again be without Jahvon Quinerly so it will again be PG by committee between Jones, Ellis, Petty and Primo. All four were able to  drive the ball at will against both Tennessee and Florida. As I mentioned earlier, I expect Auburn to incorporate some zone and press to potentially add some pressure to the decision making of ball handlers. Herbert Jones will be tasked with defending without fouling on defense as well as protecting the ball on offense. The Tide has assisted on 46% of its FGs during this 4 game win streak

My Thoughts: Auburn is winless in SEC play and Alabama sits alone at the top of the standings. Expect a very motivated home team tomorrow. Having said that-Alabama is simply the better team and SHOULD win the game. Auburn is always capable of getting hot from behind the arc and beating anyone, however. I believe these Bama players truly want to beat Auburn on the road-a task it hasn’t accomplished in over 5 years. Bama is playing too well right now and I look for the solid play to continue. Tide tames “The Jungle.” 

Prediction: Alabama 86, Auburn 76

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Who is this team? Bama beats down Gators 86-71

Box score

I did a lot more watching and less notetaking so here is what I thought were the keys to victory:

- Shack and Herb getting to the basket almost at will (marked change from my complaints 3 weeks ago)
- Only 20 3s taken (and made 8)
- DEFENSE! 40% Opposing FG, 6 blocks, 10 steals

The 2nd half was a beatdown... Gators at no point threatened us after the 15 minute mark. We probably could have won by 25, but who cares... WE WON!

I don't think even the most RAH RAH Bama fan could have predicted a 3-0 start to the conference schedule with the caliber of teams we have played. I said we'd be lucky to go 2-4 in our first 6... as the kids say... totes wrong (or something like that).

RIGHT NOW, we are a scary matchup for EVERY SEC team. Smothering D, shooting the ball better, driving to the basket... credit Coach Oats for whatever adjustments were made after the WKU game. This is not remotely the same team.

I'll take some credit as well as I pointed out we needed to shoot fewer 3s and get the ball to the basket more... :)

Next up, @ Auburn... where all of a sudden this is a 50/50 game.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Defense too much for Vols... Bama bashes Barnes 71-63

Easily our best defensive effort of the season... and a road win at a top 10 (#8) team. Very proud of the effort.

Box score

Let's start off with the bad... our FT shooting kept us from being a blowout. 9-17 from the charity stripe is rec league bad.

Got that out of the way... now all the goodness:

- We drove the ball AT WILL vs the Viles. Consistently beating the man off the dribble and getting good inside looks which...
- Opened up the 3 ball in the 2nd half. We hit 5 in a row and after that the game was never really in question. UTK might have gotten within 6 once after we expanded the lead to 12. 2/9 1st half, 8/11 2nd.
- Quinerly might have missed a bunch of shots (5-14), but his dribble drive allowed for us to get rebounds which turned into points.
- Tonight we got GOOD Petty. Only missed one shot, played good D, and led the way with 17 pts. Him and Primo accounted for 7 of the 10 made 3s.

Great effort, great win... let's hope the last 2 games is what this team is over what we saw in the WKU and Furman games.