Tennessee State came in with an RPI ranking of #342 out of 343 Div. 1 teams in the country. We beat them by 9.
As Bobbyjack mentioned, Ron Steele did not start. I thought he must have been hurt, but he was the first off the bench and played a lot. I have no idea why he did not start, but if it was due to a "disagreement with the head coach" as Bobby mentioned, then I would bet money that Ron Steele was on the right side of that argument.
At any rate, Hollinger got the start at point guard. I like Hollinger, and he did a decent job, but we've been through this before. Gottfried said himself that Hollinger is more of a 2 guard. Torrance or Brock would have been better options at point, if he was hell bent on not starting Ron.
Ron came off the bench and played good, but inconsistent. He looked for his own shot a little more in the first half, and made some big ones. He also showed great hustle and made a couple of good saves. At times he looked like the Ron Steele who carried us into the tournament his sophomore season. At other times, he seemed to press things and made some bad decisions.
JaMychael Green is great offensively when he is on the floor. The problem is, he continues to committ stupid fouls. He plays defense with his hands instead of his feet, and has a bad habit of grabbing his opponent's jerseys. These are freshmen mistakes that should be fairly easily corrected with a little coaching. He's also had a lot of problems with injuries. I think the trainer has had to give him medications or work on him at some point during every game. Last night, he had to go to he locker room at one point with back spasms.
Justin Knox also found himself in foul trouble, but this openned the door for Yamene Coleman. He played great defense, and was fundamentally sound on both ends of the floor. Ya got himself a double-double, with 14 points and 14 boards. Yamene is a good post player, he's always in position to make plays, but sometimes he has trouble catching and holding onto the ball. His hands did not betray him last night. We will need him to continue to play well, especially if Green continues to get into foul trouble.
We gained a 17 point lead in the first half, and while the game was never seriously in doubt, we do not have that killer instinct to put the game away. Defensively, we gave up way too many open shots. We were outscored in the second half. Even though the game was over, it would have been nice to finish strong. Instead, TSU continued to press and play hard, while we commited 3 or 4 turnovers in the final minute and looked mostly disinterested.
Free throw shooting continues to be atrocious. Gee even shot an air ball from the charity stripe. Otherwise, Alonzo played a good game. He shot the ball well, but more importantly, we actually put him in some good situations to attack the basket. He has a quick first step that we do not take advantage of enough.
A crowd of about 800 showed up, slightly larger than the crowd for the Louisiana-Lafayette game. At one point in the first half, Tony Giles announced on the PA, "If you see a better seat, come on down! Feel free to sit as close to the court as you like, but please be respectful if someone with a ticket for that seat shows up." On the one hand, I like this, may as well get the few people we have closer to the court. On the other hand, when a bunch of annoying little brats whose parents fail to make them mind come down and crash my row, it's not so good.
A couple of nonbasketball related rants...
To the parents of the obnoxious kids sitting around me, I know those little darlings are the center of your universe, but the rest of us don't think they are all that adorable. In fact, in our eyes, they are just another annoying brat. Don't bother athletic department employees, who are there working, to ask them to get the camera man to put your kids on the jumbotron. It's rude, that's not their job, and they aren't going to do it. They were a lot more polite with you than I would have been. Besides, they had already been on the damned thing 3 times. My right ear drum is still throbbing from the hysteria that ensued, right by my ear. Also, even when a player is on the bench, he is supposed to be closely watching the game to look for things he can take advantage of if/when he gets into the game. He should be discussing things with his coaches and teammates. Do not scream his name dozens of times (while the ball is in play, mind you) in an attempt to get him to turn around and pose for a picture that your kid is wanting to take. Not only is it annoying to your neighbors, but more importantly it is likely distracting to that player.
Change of subject, but Birmingham drivers cannot drive in the rain. On an average day, you know where the traffic problems will be at rush hour, 280 south, I65 south, and a little bit around the junction. When it rains, the whole city becomes a major cluster-you-know-what. It normally takes me 45 minutes to an hour to get from the Southside to campus. Yesterday it took me nearly an hour and a half.
If any of you were thinking about Andy Kennedy as a possible replacement, you can scratch him off your list. He may get fired from old piss today. Apparently, he was arrested for assault in Cincinatti. Reports are that he got into a fight with an arabic cab drive and called him a sand n_____. Of course, this probably just makes him more popular with the old piss fan base.
Up next, the Chattanooga Mocs come to town for a 6pm tip off Monday night. This game kind of scares me. They've only won one game, but they've played a pretty tough schedule, losing to Memphis by 12, Davidson by 5, and being blown out by USC.