Friday, February 29, 2008

Ole Miss stats pack II

Maybe writing this cures my newfound insomnia....

Stats pack for the slumping Ole Miss Rebels.

This game is for 3rd place in the miserable SEC West. Yeah, whoever wins will have 3rd place all to themselves. Amazing huh.

The stats (SEC play):
- 71.8 PPG
- 41.6% FG
- 34.1% 3PT FG
- 61.6% FT (what's with just about all the SEC schools sucking at the line?)
- Rebound margin +3.6
- 13 turnovers per game

Other stats that stood out:
- Chris Warren is shooting 37% in conference play.
- Chris Warren is shooting better from 3 (37.5%) than inside the arc.
- Dewayne Curtis is averaging a double-double and is the only player on the team shooting better than 50% in conference play.

Normally I give you a recap of season stats, but Ole Miss' season took a turn for the worse in conference play so I thought those stats tell the true story about this team.

Prediction- Ole Miss is a terrible road team, but this game is in Oxford. Alabama is a terrible road team and since we've yet to taste victory on the road in the SEC there's no reason to think we're about to win one now. Ole Miss by 7.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bama barely beats bacon

It was an ugly, bizzare game, but a good win against a pretty good team at home. Arkansas may be the most talented and experienced team in the West, but Pelphrey did not get the most out of his guys tonight.

I owe Demetrius Jemison an apology. I have stated several times that I think he should not be starting, and have expressed a desire to see his playing time cut to 10 minutes per game with the remainder going to Knox and Hillman, but I was wrong. Tonight, he proved why he is a starter. He was outworking the hog's bigger forwards for rebounds on both ends, and he was making his midrange jumper. He also did a good job of helping out on defense. If he can bring this game every night, we will have one of the best front courts in the nation.

Rico has found his way back into the starting lineup at PG. While he made some freshman mistakes, and I believe he had 3 turnovers, overall I thought he played a pretty good game. He made some key baskets and clutch free throws, and did a fairly good job of managing the game. I liked the fact that he was aggressive on both ends, even if he did make a few mistakes. He was the best option at PG tonight, as Torrance did not play well at all.

While we looked lathargic and sloppy at times on offense, the defensive effort was incredible. Perimeter defense has been a concern, and Arkansas has some shooters, but we played a very good man to man defense tonight and shut them down. Hendrix more than handled his own against Steven Hill inside. This was the best we have looked on defense all season, we switched on screens, and hedged appropriately to prevent them from getting open 3's. Jemison and Hendrix did a great job of clogging the lane and stopping their athletes from penetrating. Hillmam, Rico, and Hendrix all had outstanding defensive games, and forced some turnovers at crucial points in the game.

The energy on defense is refreshing to see considering the current record this season. Jemison said in the post game show that they are still working on accomplishing the team goal for the season, making the big dance. While that may sound far fetched at this point, since we would have to win the SEC tournament which we haven't done in 10 years, it's still good to know that they are giving it their all. With a down SEC if we can get on a roll, who knows....

Just when I thought I saw everything with regards to our substitution pattern, on two occasions in the first half we subbed all 5 guys. You see that a lot in YMCA games where everybody has to play. I've also seen Tubby Smith do that as a motivational technique. However, the team was actually playing pretty good when we did it. In fact, we had the lead. I thought maybe we were going to start pressing and planned on using everybody available, but that was not the case. I think that contributed to our inability to get into rhythm on offense, but it also may have prevented Arkansas from finding their groove. While I did not necessarily agree with the move, I like the fact that we are thinking outside the box and experimenting some. Along those same lines, we also played a tight man to man most of the game and threw in an occasional press. This beats the heck out of staying back in a zone at key moments in the game.

When Arkansas made a run in the second half, erasing out 7 point lead, we immediately picked up the intensity and stretched the lead back to 5. Despite the fact that our free throw shooting sucked most of the game, we made the shots when needed with the game on the line.

With the win, we improve to 15-13. One more win will assure us of a winning regular season record, and thus make us eligible for an at large bid in a post season tournament. In that respect, we may be better off if we lose out and try to win the SEC tournament, as I really don't want to play in the NIT.

Whoever is in charge of the electronics at Coleman Coliseum should be fired. Between the 5 man substitutions and the PA announcer calling out "15" "10" "5" because the shot clock was not functioning, I thought I was watching a game at the local YMCA. I was really hoping someone would take the shot clock under 5 during this time to see how the situation would be handled. Would Tony Giles count it down and then immitate a buzzer sound? That would have been high comedy. Anyway, it was a pain in the butt not being able to see the shot clock from my seat in the second half since they brought in temporary clocks and set them up in the corners. At least the stat board worked tonight.

The atmosphere was about as dead as Coleman has ever been. I would estimate the crowd at somewhere around 4,000...although remarkably all the regulars in my row and immediate area were present. Even when we had some dunks and good hustle plays on defense, the crowd did not get very excited at all until the final minute or so of the game.

Up next, we travel to Oxford to take on Andy Kennedy's Ole Miss rebels Saturday. Tip off is set for 1pm from the Tad Pad, and will be televised on Raycom sports. After a great non conference start, Ole Miss has fallen apart and played themselves right out of the NCAA tournament. Hopefully we can continue their downward spiral.

Arkansas-Alabama recap...

... no stats pack due to the day job and internet access being down at the hotel. My bad.

It looks like a UAB football crowd at the game tonight. Wow.

Update- 49-46 Bama under 4:20 to go in the 2nd half. I think teams scored more before the shot clock.

Update 2- travel by Hillman (?). Hogs ball 3:37. Uncontested slam.... 49-48. Jemison jumper 51-48 under 3 to go.

Update 3- Big steal by Pickett and dunk. 53-48 Bama 2:13 to go. Jemison having the best game of his life.

Update 4- Townes with an 2 footer. 53-50. Pickett fouled... makes both- BIG. 55-50.

Update 5- turnover Hogs... 51.8 sec to go. Still 55-50.

Update 6- Hillman shooting 2... 37.7 to go. Made 1. 56-50.

Update 7- 57-54 11.7 to play. Bama ball.

Update 8- Jemison fouled... 9.6 to go. Jemison hits clutch FTs. Looks like we're actually going to win one! Jemison has 19 points and 11 boards. Who saw that coming?

FINAL SCORE 59-56 Bama.

The good:
- Defensively held the Hogs to 36% FG and 3-20 from 3.
- Hit FTs down the stretch.
- Jemison had the game of his life. Good for him.

The bad:
- Overall, still crappy FT shooting.
- That was a really bad basketball game.

It's good to get a win... it's been a while since we had one of those.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

2007-2008 Home losses by SEC teams

Lots of people put emphasis on winning on the road. Obviously it's important, but protecting your home court should be the first thing a team does.

Home losses by team as of February 26th, 2008:

Alabama- Belmont, Clemson, Florida, Mississippi State, Tennessee

Auburn- Xavier, Arkansas, LSU, Kentucky, Mississippi State

Arkansas- South Carolina

Florida- FSU, LSU

Georgia- Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee

Kentucky- Gardner Webb, UNC, San Diego, Louisville

LSU- Washington, Mississippi State, Auburn, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky

Mississippi- South Carolina, Auburn

Mississippi State- Clemson, Miami, Tennessee

South Carolina- USC, Baylor, UNC-Ashville, Tennessee, Florida, Vanderbilt,
Mississippi State

Tennessee- undefeated at home

Vanderbilt- undefeated at home

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's time.



You may be asking yourself, what is the point of this post? Is this DJC's political endorsement? Or is he stating his opinion on the Alabama basketball coaching situation?

For now, I'll leave that up to interpretation, but you probably are not wrong, whatever you guess.

SEC Rankings week 16

1) Tennessee- DUH... they're soon to be the #1 team in the country (until Vandy beats them Tuesday)
2) Mississippi State- unlike some other teams that struggled during non-conference play, the Dawgs have excelled in the SEC.
3) Vanderbilt- Let's see what they got against the mighty Vols.
4) Kentucky- at 9-3 in the conference the Cats have serious thoughts about making the NCAA tournament. What a recovery unlike a certain other SEC team.
5) Arkansas- tough loss at Kentucky. Still, I think this team makes some noise if they make the NCAAs.
6) Florida- considering most of their players are a year out of HS what they've accomplished so far is amazing.
7) Ole Miss- it's sad when 4-8 puts you in the middle.
8) UGA- most of their games have come down to the final minutes... and that's when they roll snake eyes.
9) South Carolina- took MSU to the wire. Still fighting for an NIT berth.
10) Auburn- how a bunch of midgets throttled us is a head scratcher. Nevermind... we played their game.
11) LSU- improving since the departure of John Brady... and the return of Chris Johnson.
12) Alabama- seriously... how can a team with this much talent be in LAST place in probably the worst the SEC has been in a decade? Easy... look towards the coach.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

If Our Team Were A Political Campaign This Would Be Their Button

I will be at the Vandy game to say goodbye to DJC. Bunk, Flash, Sid, WL and others. If you're there, please stop by to say hello. I don't intend to darken Coleman Coliseum again until we have a new coach.

Bobbyjack, I'm sorry I did not pull my weight on the blog this season. I really don't like saying bad things about our program, but there has not been much to say that was not bad this season.

Mark Gottfried is a good man who has done many good things for our players and for our program. Unfortunately, coaching our team is not one of them. Mal Moore may elect to keep him around next season. Or perhaps Coach Moore could not raise the money to buy out CMG's contract. But I see no way that our program can do anything but get worse while we have this man running it into the ground.

Somebody let me know when something in our basketball program changes. I can't stand to look at it any more. If it were one of my dogs I'd take it to the vet and have it put to sleep for its own sake. I'm getting sick just thinking about it now.

I'll be back when we have a new coach. Not before.

P.S. In anticipation of the few fans out there who will defend our coach on the grounds that "the players have to make the plays" or that "it's not his fault that so many players have been injured the past two seasons," I have one thing to say: Auburn has had less talent on its team these past two seasons than Le Flore High School and Gottfried has lost three of our last four games to them. At some point we have to acknowledge that the head coach is responsibile for which players are on our team and which of those will be on the court. This coach's decisions the past two seasons have been subpar even for him.

If our administration does not care enough about our basketball program to fix this problem then they certainly do not deserve my support. I'll see you guys at the A Day game, assuming there is not a good bicycle race being ridden that day.

AUful

We had a 10 point lead at one point in the first half. Of course, we got that lead by making 3's, and au was cold. There was only one way we could lose to that bunch, and that is get in a 3 point shooting contest with them, and that is exactly what we did. Inexplicably, we went to a zone in the first half and allowed them to get back into the game. When we played man, we were consistently beat off the dribble or caught out of position. That was one of the worst defensive efforts I have ever seen. Yes, auburn made some tough shots, but over half of their 3 pointers were good, open looks, with several wide open, uncontested shots being given up as well.

We had the only legitimate post player in the game. If we get the ball to Hendrix in the post, a simple lob pass would do the trick, he should be able to go straight up and over the auburn defense every time. Instead, we took 29 shots from behind the arc. To put that in perspective, auburn, who had to rely on the 3 just to stay in the game, took 30.

Auburn only has 7 players, and they were in foul trouble most of the game at that, yet we made little or no effort to go inside. When coaching against a thin team that relies on the perimeter shot, most coaches would want to make them run. They may make the shots early, but in theory their legs will give out and their shot will suffer down the stretch. Apparently our coaches do not believe in that theory, as we didn't press until we were down 15 with 2 minutes to go.

We have been competive in most of our losses, but this game was an embarassment. auburn sucks, and they blew us out of the gym. They out hustled us for loose balls and they had over 20 points off of our turnovers.

We missed a lot of easy layups and open shots. Hendrix was not particularly effective even when he did get the ball. Still, I would take my chances with Hendrix missing layups and at least wearing them down and picking up some fouls rather than keep jacking shots from the perimeter that we were making at a less than 25% clip.

Torrance didn't even see the court. Rico resurfaced after being buried on the bench for the past few games. We finally got Jemison out of the starting lineup in favor of Hillman, and Knox got some playing time, so that was good. Yet, Coleman never came off the bench. Justin Tubbs finally got back in a game and actually made a 3, so maybe his shot is starting to come back. Still, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to our substiution patterns. The biggest problem is we seem content to adjust and try to play our opponent's style of game rather than forcing them to adapt to us.

Free throw shooting sucked once again, but at least Hendrix was 4 of 5.

With that loss, we are now assured of a losing SEC regular season record. The rest of the regular season is pretty meaningless at this point, except for seding in the SEC tournament. Our only hope at the NCAA tournament is to win the SEC tournament.

Up next, the Arkansas Razorbakcs bring a talented, experienced team to Tuscaloosa Wednesday night. They got off to a slow start, but are playing much better now. Frankly, every team left on our schedule, including LSU, is playing better basketball than us right now.

Auburn annihilates Alabama

$.02 to Alias.

I'm putting this up with under a minute to go in the game, but the game has been decided for a while.

Yahoo box score.

Like DJC said in the comments of the stats pack... again we played to the strength of the opposition, trying to match them with 3s instead of pounding the ball to the best inside guy in the SEC. Riley kept us in the game offensively while playing defensive o-lay. Not to be outdone, Hollinger joined in on the defensive non-effort and Gee soon followed Hollinger's lead.

Watching Alabama play is like driving by a car wreck... you don't want to look, but have to just to see what's going on. What you see is what you expect... carnage.

I'm not going to bother with the good and bad as you can read any good/bad recaps from previous losses and paste it here.

This team MIGHT win one more game this year... at home vs the Hogs is probably the best chance.

Auburn stats pack II and thoughts on the UT-Memphis game

Beware of the fightin' Lebos. Stats pack.

They're a small team that'll shoot 3s to stay in the game. They have no answer for Hendrix.

The stats:
- Scoring margin: -.3
- 46.7% FG
- 34.3% 3PT FG
- rebound margin: -.3
- 65.8% FT
- 14.5 turnovers per game

This is an important game for both teams. Really, it is as the winner is one step closer to making it to the NIT. The winner also stays out of the SEC West basement where LSU resides (for now).

Prediction: Until we win one on the road I can't pick us to win. We should get the ball to Hendrix early, often, and heck... all the time, but I don't think we will. Auburn by 6.

The game is on CBS at 2PM EST (1PM CST).

#1 vs #2
What a game last night between the 2 best teams in the country! Memphis' poor FT shooting finally bit them in the ass and the Vols escape with a hard fought 66-62 win. Pearl had a great gameplan... let Memphis shoot from outside to win. It didn't work at first, but the Tigers came back to earth and Tennessee outhustled them to victory. IMO those 2 are the best teams in the country and I wouldn't be surprised if they met again in the Final Four.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Last 5+ years- SEC conference records

I would've put this up sooner, but I was kinda busy trying to escape Philadelphia to get back home. I ended up driving to DC to fly out as Philly flights were cancelled. Good times.

Anyways, here ya go. This is through 2/12/08.

Alabama: 47-44
07/08- 3-8
06/07- 7-9
05/06- 10-6
04/05- 12-4
03/04- 8-8
02/03- 7-9

Auburn: 31-60
07/08- 3-8
06/07- 7-9
05/06- 4-12
04/05- 4-12
03/04- 5-11
02/03- 8-8

Arkansas: 39-53
07/08- 8-4
06/07- 7-9
05/06- 10-6
04/05- 6-10
03/04- 4-12
02/03- 4-12

Florida: 63-29
07/08- 7-5
06/07- 13-3
05/06- 10-6
04/05- 12-4
03/04- 9-7
02/03- 12-4

Georgia: 36-55
07/08- 3-8
06/07- 8-8
05/06- 5-11
04/05- 2-14
03/04- 7-9
02/03- 11-5

Kentucky: 69-22
07/08- 8-3
06/07- 9-7
05/06- 9-7
04/05- 14-2
03/04- 13-3
02/03- 16-0

LSU: 49-42
07/08- 2-9
06/07- 5-11
05/06- 14-2
04/05- 12-4
03/04- 8-8
02/03- 8-8

Mississippi: 29-62
07/08- 4-7
06/07- 8-8
05/06- 4-12
04/05- 4-12
03/04- 5-11
02/03- 4-12

Mississippi State: 53-38
07/08- 8-3
06/07- 8-8
05/06- 5-11
04/05- 9-7
03/04- 14-2
02/03- 9-7

South Carolina: 37-54
07/08- 4-7
06/07- 4-12
05/06- 6-10
04/05- 7-9
03/04- 8-8
02/03- 8-8

Vanderbilt: 43-48
07/08- 7-4
06/07- 10-6
05/06- 7-9
04/05- 8-8
03/04- 8-8
02/03- 3-13

Tennessee: 55-37
07/08- 11-1
06/07- 10-6
05/06- 12-4
04/05- 6-10
03/04- 7-9
02/03- 9-7

Over the past 5+ years we're 6th best in the conference.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Last 5+ years- Nov/Dec record and last 10 regular season games

I pulled this up from rolltide.com. Let's get started.

2002/2003
Nov/Dec: 9-1
Last 10: 4-6
Final game: 1st round loss to Indiana in NCAAs.

2003/2004
Nov/Dec: 8-2
Last 10: 5-5
Final game: Elite 8 loss to eventual champ UConn.

2004/2005
Nov/Dec: 8-2
Last 10: 7-3
Final game: 1st round loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee in NCAAs.

2005/2006
Nov/Dec: 6-4
Last 10: 6-4
Final game: 2nd round loss to NCAA runner up UCLA.

2006/2007
Nov/Dec: 12-1
Last 10: 5-5
Final game: 1st round NIT loss to UMass.

2007/2008
Nov/Dec: 10-3
Last 10: (incomplete): 2-3
Final game: ??

With the exception of the 04/05 season we generally don't finish strong.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

IT'S STATS WEEK BABEE! First up, Alabama season stats

ESPN gives fancy names to weeks so I will too!

I'm going to give you links until you say uncle... ok maybe not.
Statsheet.com
Rolltide.com
NCAAsports.com (not a direct link... drill down for specifics).
SECsports.com

Things that jumped out at me (mix from links above):
Overall
- 2-10 vs the RPI top 100.
- We shoot 36.1% from 3 and allow 36.5%.
- 12.8 turnovers per game. You'd think it was more.
- #318 of 328 in FT%.
- #20 in assist to TO ratio.
- #38 in personal fouls per game. We were ranked high in this stat last season as well.

In conference
- Hendrix is shooting under 50% from the FT.
- Riley is our best FT shooter (86.7%).
- Dead last in FT% (60.7%).
- 9th in 3PT defense.
- 10th in FG%.
- 2nd in blocked shots (5.18 per).
- Rebound margin -.9 per game
- 32.7% 3PT FG.

No wonder we're 14-12.

Monday, February 18, 2008

ESPN Bracketology and bubble watch

It's not like we're in the discussion for either, but for those that are interested... links below.
Bracketology
Bubble watch

My take on bids by (major) conference :
ACC- 5 (Duke, UNC, Clemson, WF, Maryland)
Big East- 8 (Georgetown, Pitt, Marquette, ND, Syracuse, WVU, Louisville, UConn)
Big Ten- 5 (IU, MSU, Purdue, OSU, Wisconsin)
Big 12- 5 (Kansas, KSU, A&M, Baylor, Texas)
PAC 10- 5 (UCLA, USC, Stanford, WSU, ASU)
SEC- 4 (Tennessee, MSU, Arkansas, Vanderbilt)

That's 26 at large bids by my count for the big 6.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bama blows it, Cocks come away with win.

Another good effort, but once again we find a way to lose.

In the first half, and for most of the game for that matter, Riley and Hendrix kept us in the game. I think they were the only players we had to score for the first 8 minutes or so in the game. Our offense wasn't great, but Riley bailed us out with several incredible shots. He was the answer for South Carolina's #2 who also scorched the nets.

The key to the game was turnovers. South Carolina scored at least 10 points by intercepting a lazy, telegraphed pass to the wing and converting a layup on the resulting 2 on 1 break. They were extending their defense and overplaying that first pass. Not once did we clear out underneath the basket, fake the pass to the wing and burn them back door.

The Gamecocks were in control for most of the game, but we showed a lot of poise on the road and kept fighting back. It seemed like everytime they were on the verge of putting us away, Riley would make another huge 3 pointer. We took the lead late and had a golden opportunity to win the game.

Free throw shooting was not great, but it was not atrocious.

Carolina did a good job of fronting Hendrix and denying the entry pass. Torrance made a few bad decisions in the halfcourt trying to get him the ball which resulted in turnovers. Still, Hendrix made the most of his opportunities and had another great game.

Our point guard play was inconsistent at best. Both Hollinger and Torrance struggled at the point at times. I know Rico has struggled, but I would have at least gave him a shot in this game. In fact, with the season already being pretty well cemented in the sewer, I would make sure the freshmen get meaningful playing time in every game. It's time to start building for next year.

Speaking of substiution patterns or the lack thereof, where was Justin Knox? Jemison played 25 minutes, Coleman got a few minutes, and Knox never got off the bench. This after Knox had an outstanding game against Ole Miss. South Carolina's bigs like to play on the perimeter, and even Hendrix was forced out to contest a couple of 3 point shots, so maybe that is why the smaller Jemison got most of the playing time, but I still think you need to find a way to get Knox into this game. This is yet another example of how we are always forced to play our opponent's style of game.

I thought we played pretty good defense for most of this game. South Carolina's #2 just went off on us, but most of his shots were well contested.

Our coaching decisions at the end of both halves was puzzling. At the end of the first half we had the ball with the shot clock off and a chance to take the last shot. We call timeout and draw up a play that has Hendrix shooting with 10 seconds left. He was fouled, and South Carolina had plenty of time to get off a final shot. Thankfully, unlike everyone else who's taken the final shot of the half against us this year, the Gamecocks did not convert.

The last minute of the game was one of the most frustrating things I have ever witnessed. Multiple poor decisions by our players and coaches cost us the game. We have a one point lead, miss a shot, and Hendrix gets a rebound with 35 seconds left. Instead of backing it out and getting the ball to a better FT shooter, he tries to score, is fouled, and makes only 1 of 2 free throws. With the shot clock off and a 2 point lead, defending the perimeter should have been priority #1. Torrance inexplicably leaves his man to double the ball, when they pass it back to his man he has a wide open, albeit long, 3 point shot. Torrance overcompensates and fouls him long after the ball was released, resulting in a 4 play and a 2 point defecit with 10 seconds to play.

Now, I can understand not immediately calling timeout in this situation, God knows we've had a hard time scoring on inbounds plays out of timeouts. But when the clock is running down, and Torrance is dribbling with his head down being smothered 40 feet from the basket, with nobody open, no passing lanes, and no movement, the coach has got to recognize that nothing good is going to happen and call the timeout. At worst we should have stopped the clock with 3 seconds to play. Instead, SC deflects a pass out of bounds and THEN we decide to use our final timeout with .2 seconds to play. As if that weren't bad enough, we designed a play where Hollinger comes off a screen, catches it in the air and shoots. According to rule, you must have .4 seconds to completely possess the ball and shoot, anything less than that must be a tip in. Perhaps the coaching staff thought we were playing by "21 street ball rules" where you can "tip out" your opponent by making a shot off of a rebound without allowing your feet to touch the ground before releasing the ball. Hollinger's shot attempt was not a tip. We should have inbounded the ball toward the basket and instructed our bigs to try to slap it in.

I have now been to every arena in the SEC, and I must say South Carolina's Colonial Center is one of the nicest. I would rank it a close second behind Arkansas's Bud Walton arena. We were in the upper deck but still had a decent view of the action. It is not exactly on campus, but I understand the USC athletic dept. is the primary owner, along with the City of Columbia. It seats 18,000, but I would estimate a crowd of about 8,000 were on hand, only 60-80 of which were Bama fans. Thanks to the Gamecock fans we encountered for being gracious hosts.

Up next, we get some time off before travelling to the ugliest village on the plains next Sunday to take on Jeff Lebo's band of midgets. Tip-off is set for 1pm CST from auburn, and the game will be televised on CBS. The tigers are coming off a big road win in Oxford over the Ole Miss rebels, who continue to watch their season slip away. We have much more size and talent than auburn, but they run a system that has given us trouble in the past. Expect the Tigers to be fired up for this one, and if they are making their perimeter shots, this will be another tough game.

SEC Rankings week 15, former Bama players overseas, and an interesting read

SEC Rankings:

1) Tennessee- Easily the best of the SEC. Probably the only team that'll make it past week one of the NCAAs
2) Mississippi State- gritty win over the Hogs. Have control of the West.
3) Vanderbilt- first the beatdown of UK, then a close win over the Gators.
4) Arkansas- losers of 2 straight... to the east and west leaders.
5) Florida- losing to LSU at home was strange. No longer a safe bet to make the NCAAs.
6) Kentucky- recovered well from the Vandy trouncing to beat LSU in Baton Rouge.

From here it really doesn't matter as all of these teams suck.
7) UGA- almost beat the Vols.
8) South Carolina- squeaked a win out over us after getting handled by the Dawgs.
9) Auburn- That's 2 road wins. If they could defend their home turf they'd be a contender.
10) Ole Miss- talk about a team in freefall mode.
11) Alabama- still can't win on the road.
12) LSU- couldn't follow up an upset in Gainesville. Still, they seem to be playing with more fire.

Former Bama players overseas video link:

I found this site looking up the stats to this blog. The homepage is redelephants.wordpress.com. Nice find by them. I'll add this one to the Bama blog roll.

Telling stats of the 9 3/4 years under CMG:

I found this on the bamamag board and felt this needed to be linked. Credit goes to 'bamastudent' for the research. Read the entire post here. I snipped a portion of it... I HIGHLY suggest you click the link to read all of it.

After reading the report put out a couple weeks back by the UA SID, I thought it would be interesting to research the wins and losses for the previous 9.75 years of basketball and see how they break down in regards to where opponents ranked in the RPI.

Here is what I found:

Record vs. RPI top 25 teams: 19-52
Record vs. RPI 26-50 teams: 24-20
Record vs. RPI 51-100 teams: 40-22
Record vs RPI 101+ teams: 101-16

The Tour Of California Starts Today

Pro Tour Cycling can offer a welcome reprieve from a painful basketball season. Several big races already have been run this year, including Austrailia's Tour Down Under and The Tour of Qatar.

You can watch the action live of today's two mile prologue at about 2:30 P.M Central Daylight Savings Time at www.cycling.tv. They offer a free live feed, but the picture at that speed is not very good. If you enjoy what you see you can upgrade to a much better picture for an annual fee. Cable TV's Versus Channel also will provide summary coverage every day. They claim today's coverage will be live at about 4:00 Central (please check your local listings). Week night coverage is at 9 or 10 P.M. I prefer the live action to the summaries.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bama comes up short against Cocks....

... 67-65. We had the lead with under 35 seconds to play. Downey made a 3 and got fouled with under 15 to play. I'm trying to figure out why we didn't call a timeout to set the offense, but I guess that would make too much sense.

The good:
- Riley was awesome. Without him we wouldn't have been in the game.
- Hendrix (when they got him the ball) was dominating inside.
- Torrance played well at the point... minus 2 bad entry passes. 6 assists and 3 turnovers... that's what you want from your PG.
- Defense shut down South Carolina.
- 58% FG.

The bad:
- Transition defense continues to plague us.
- Turnovers... don't have a count (yet) but I'm sure it was close to 20.

Let me harp on something... why in the hell was a timeout not called after Downey made the FT or at the very least called when Torrance crossed midcourt? I put this one on the coaching staff... maybe we wouldn't have scored, but we would've had a better shot than what happenned.

We're now 3-8 in the conference. We have to win out just to sniff the NIT. Disgusting.

Side note- I like Eddie Fogler as a color analysis. He brings a lot to the broadcast. He's certainly as good as most of the "talent" that ESPN trots out.

South Carolina stats pack

You need adobe acrobat to view the stats. You might want to change the percentage to 100% to actually read it.

South Carolina hasn't been good at protecing the home turf with losses to Florida, Tennessee, and Vandy, but have won road games at Arkansas and Ole Miss. They've been in most of their SEC games and like us just can't seem to get over the hump. The Cocks are coming off a 82-64 loss in Athens.

Devan Downey lead the team in scoring and assists, Dominque Archie is the leading rebounder, and Zam Fredrick takes the most 3s per game. I've only seen the Cocks play a couple of times... probably not enough to give an actual gauge of them.

The stats:
- 45% FG
- 39% 3PT FG
- 71% FT
- Rebound margin of -4.5
- 11 turnovers per game
- 7.4 steals

Things to watch:
- South Carolina is 6-1 when scoring 80+ points, 1-6 when they give up more than 80.
- Brandis Raley Ross is shooting 57% from 3.
- The Cocks had problems defending UGA inside. Feed Hendrix (Coleman and Knox) early and often.

Prediction- 2 puzzling teams match up. Each team looks at this as a winnable game. One will be disappointed. My gut feeling... we haven't won on the road in the SEC and I don't think it starts today. Cocks by 3.

Tipoff is set for 7PM EST (6CST) on FSN.

Oh yeah... shameless self pat on the back. Somehow this site has hit 50,000+ hits in a little less than 2 years. A lot of traffic has come since 2007. The only downside is this blog seems to get the most traffic after a loss, but that's to be expected.

Obviously there's an interest in Alabama basketball. Thanks to all who linked, read, and contribute to this little place on DA IN-TUR-NET.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Asbury is returning to Pepperdine

Back to Malibu

This kind of surprises me, as I thought he was hanging it up for good due to family health issues. I hope all is well now, and I wish him the best of luck.

Bobby Knight resigns at Texas Tech. What's his legacy (Part 2)

I've been meaning to write the 2nd part for a week, but that day job kept getting in the way.

CBK's Indiana days:
In his 29 years in Bloomington, he won 662 games with a .739 winning percentage, won 20 games 22 times (a lot easier to win 20 games now than it was back then), won 11 Big Ten titles, was 42-21 in the NCAA tournament, made 5 Final Fours, and oh yeah... won 3 National Titles (undefeated 76, 81, 87).

If his career ended at Indiana in 1994, the accomplishments I just listed are remarkable. He didn't make it past the 1st weekend of the NCAAs after 94 and didn't win a single Big Ten title. I think his last "star" players at Indiana were Calbert Cheney (93?) and Alan Henderson (95)... neither panned out in the NBA. I can't think of another "name" that played there after Henderson... just thought of another one... Jared Jeffries (01), but he wasn't all that good. The reason I point this out is CBK's career at Indiana started to falter a bit when he couldn't (or didn't) get the best HS players to play for him. Considering he didn't have the most talented players in the nation playing for him once could say he did a hell of a job guiding IU to the NCAAs every year.

Indiana since Bobby Knight:
Mike Davis took over and guided them to an unlikely Finals appearance his 2nd year, losing to Gary "I sweat through my suits" Williams ans Maryland in 2002. The following year CMD led IU to the 2nd round of the NCAAs... then the wheels fell off the next 2 years with a 14-15 and 15-14 record in 2004 and 2005. Davis resigned in 2006 halfway through the season effective the end of the year. Indiana lost in the 2nd round to Gonzaga.

Enter Kelvin Sampson. What a trainwreck he's become. There were whispers of cheating from his OU days. IU hires him anyway... and I think weeks later he's implicated by the NCAA for impermissable phone calls to recruits and recruits parents. Most recently, Sampson is in NCAA hot water (again) for the same thing that got him into trouble at OU. He's probably going to lose his job over it.

So what's Bobby Knight's legacy? For his career he's the all-time winningest coach (until Coach K passes him in 4-5 years), godfather of the motion offense, holds 3 NCs, and is renouned as one of the greatest teachers of the game. Unfortunately, that's not the only way he's going to be remembered. His temper tantrums, bullying of a few players and coaches, and his relationship with the media tarnish his on the court accomplishments.

Saying that, if he wants to coach again (and I doubt he does) he'd have schools lining up for his services. If my kid plays basketball and CBK still coaching I'd have no problem sending him to play for him. At the very least he'd come out with an education and the skills to thrive in the workforce. Like I said in part 1 of this... the vast majority of kids that played for Bobby Knight have nothing but praise for the man. I could go on a tangent about how things have changed, but that's for another blog.

Another good kick in the nads....

Just something else to make you disgusted about our poor long distance shooting....

Press here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Red Tide Rocks Rebels

The bleeding has stopped, at least temporarily, after a good win at home over the Ole Miss Rebels last night. It wasn't always pretty, but the team played hard and controlled for most of the game.

The most encouraging aspect of the game was the play of freshman Justin Knox. He seems to be developing nicely. He played much better defense than he did in the Kentucky game, and he contributed a few points and rebounds as well. Being a freshman big man in the SEC, it's probably not reasonable to expect to be able to get performances like this out of him consistently, but he needs to play more. He's only going to get better with playing time. I really like him in the high post. He provides a big target for our guards to get him the ball at the elbow, and he has the size to see over the defense and make the correct decision once he has the ball. I would like to see Knox continue to take playing time away from Jemison. I like Jemison, he plays extremely hard and he had a pretty good game himself last night, but he just doesn't have the tools that Knox has, in my opinion.

For the second game in a row, Yamene contributed not only with his defense and rebounding, but he was able to provide some offense as well. His hands seem to be improving, so maybe he is finally starting to come around. He also took 3 charges at crucial times in the game. I really like the way he has played the last couple of games. It would be nice to be able to count on 10-15 solid minutes per game out of him without feeling like he's a huge liability on offense.

Riley had his best game in a long time. It's amazing how much better we are as a team when he is shooting the ball well. We did a good job of executing plays designed to get him open shots in the halfcourt offense. His defense was still not great, but better. He did lose his man a few times, but the rebels were unable to make us pay. He showed a lot of hustle and was able to come up with a few steals.

Hendrix was not his usual dominating self, but he still had a solid game. He was able to get Ole Miss' big man in early foul trouble in both the first and second half, which really hurt the rebels on offense. Fortunately, Hendrix did not have to dominate in the post because he actually had some help from Yamene and Knox. Our interior defense against the rebels halfcourt offense was very good.

We did a much better job against the press than we have in previous games. Ole Miss is not as aggressive in their trapping as Tennessee, and for the most part our guards were able to beat it on the dribble. Still, we made better decisions and did not panic against their 2-2-1.

With the exception of a few lazy passes early in the game, we took good care of the basketball. I still like Torrance better than Hollinger at the point, as I think Hollinger is better suited to play the 2 guard. Hollinger even said he prefers to play the 2 guard over the point on last week's Coach Gottfried show. Torrance was more efficient in the halfcourt offense than he has been all year. I do wish he would learn to not jump in the air when he doesn't know what he plans to do with the ball. We had at least one turnover, and a couple more near turnovers due to that fundamental mistake.

Rico did not play at all. Neither did Justin Tubbs, and Hillman only saw a couple of minutes. My only real beef with Gottfried this game is the lack of playing time, especially for Rico and Hillman. With the season pretty much down the toilet anyway, the young guys like Rico, Hillman, and Knox should be playing significant minutes every game.

Praise Jesus, we shot 75% from the free throw line! With the exception of Hendrix, everyone shot reasonably well, although Gee missed a few. Hopefully this is the start of a new trend.

The team played hard, but did not look very energetic in the first half. They seemed to pick it up a notch in the second half. They had a few chances to put Ole Miss away, going up by 14 at one point, but could not close the deal until the final minute. Give credit to the rebels for scrapping and finding a way to stay in the game.

Andy Kennedy made some questionable coaching decisions for them. The technical foul he got late in the game was crucial. If memory serves, Ole Miss had cut the lead to 4, and there was only a couple of minutes left. Hollinger was dribbling the ball up the court against the press, and was clearly blocked by an Ole Miss defender. Tons of contact, the Ole Miss player was out of position, Hollinger went down, and the ball rolled out of bounds. The ref pointed the wrong way, indicating it was our ball. Kennedy blew his lid, and had to be restrained by his assistant coaches. He made it several feet out onto the floor, and thus was hit with the T. I'm not sure how many people saw it, but he literally turned around and slapped his assistant who was trying to restrain him. I'm thinking if this game would have been on TV, Kennedy would be in some hot water for that one. If he could have kept his composure and allowed the refs to discuss the play, they would have had the ball, as they reversed the original call and ruled the ball out of bounds to Ole Miss. Of course, they missed the obvious blocking foul call, so I guess it all worked out.

Between Mi$$ $tate fans and old piss fans, I'm convinced that the average IQ in the state of Mississippi does not break triple-digits. Hell, it might not even break double digits. Admittedly, there were a lot of bad calls in that game, that went against both teams. There were a bunch of Ole Miss fans sitting behind us bitching and whining about EVERY call that went against Ole Miss. At one point in the second half, Hendrix jumps for a rebound and is clearly shoved in the back. He catches the ball, but of course lands well out of bounds. No foul call, it's ruled out of bounds, Ole Miss ball. Of course, I start yelling at the ref. Keep in mind I've been listening to these jackasses bitch about every call all night and refrained from arguing with them. Well, some douchebag Ole Miss fans yells at me, as if I asked for his opinion in the first place, "dude, he was 6 feet out of bounds." I said, "yeah, because he got shoved in the back." Knowing that he couldn't win that argument, he responds, "well, they haven't called it all night, yall just suck." So, I pointed out to them, that while we probably do suck, we were kicking their ass by 14 points at the time. He made some comment about us only being able to get 8,000 fans to a game, to which I responded that our small crowd of 8,000 would fill their crappy gym. At the end of the game, they blamed the refs for their loss.

In case any Ole Piss fans are reading this...you lost fair and square. The intentional foul calls were blatantly obvious and were the right call. You also lost the football game this year fair and square. The replay official made the right call. The big bad world out there is not a part of some huge conspiracy to screw poor little old piss. In fact, you guys are pretty much irrelevant to the rest of us. The sooner you accept the fact that you are a small step above Mi$$ $tate, but second rate to the rest of the world, the happier you'll be.

The announced attendance was over 9,000, the inbred ole miss fans estimated it at about 8,000, but in reality I think it was probably somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000. The student section looked as if it were a non-conference game in the middle of Christmas break. I know people are disgusted with the way the season has gone, and I understand some of the animosity toward the coaches. No doubt, with our talent, our record should be better. However, I don't feel we are in this situation due to a lack of effort. With the exception of the second half of the Clemson game, these guys have competed hard in EVERY game. For that reason, I'll continue to show my support at the home games, and I hope you will too.

Up next, we go to Columbia, SC Saturday to take on the Cocks and lame duck coach Dave Odom. Tip off is set for 6pm central time. USC is a hard team to figure, they've won a couple of surprising road games but have some perplexing losses at home. If we can continue to shoot the ball well, hopefully we can give them another one. This will be my last away game of the year, unless we make it to Saturday of the SEC tournament.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Balanced scoring attack leads Alabama to win over Ole Miss...

... 76-67. I only heard a couple minutes of the game so I can't really "break it down." Riley led with 22 points, Gee added 12, and Hendrix, Hollinger, and Torrance put up 10 apiece.

If I'm reading the box score right Yamene was the only one on the team to shoot better than 50% from the field. Strange. We did hit 75% from the charity stripe so obviously CMG is coaching them up now. (g)

Finally, a win over a decent opponent... although it seems that Ole Miss is slipping further and further to the NIT.

In other news, LSU won at Florida, Tennessee smacked down Arkansas, and UGA beat South Carolina in a battle of the worst in the SEC East.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Assistant coach Kobie Baker in car accident

From al.com. A concussion and some bruises.

Ole Miss stats pack

I miss the Rowdy Rebel....

The Rebels are looking for their 1st SEC road win of the season. Will it happen in Tuscaloosa? They've been oh so close in 3 of their 4 SEC road games.

This is the first of 2 meetings between teams that can't close the deal in conference play (for us that stretches to the entire season). Ole Miss stats. Note that the stats listed are only conference stats. This link (pdf) includes full season stats.

Led by freshman Chris Warren and Dwayne Curtis, Ole Miss is 11th in the nation in scoring, although they haven't put up 80 points since beating Florida last month. Still, besides the Miss State beatdown, they've been in every game. Warren leads the team in scoring and assists while Curtis leads in rebounds and is 2nd in FT percentage. Curtis is tied with our own Richard Hendrix with 12 double-doubles. Eniel Polynice averages 12 PPG and leads the team in steals. Trevor Gaskins is one of the guys to watch beyond the arc.

To read more about Ole Miss click here for their preview of the game tomorrow night. That's one heck of a writeup.

Stats:
- 46.6% FG
- 36.3% 3PT FG
- 64% FT
- Rebound margin of +6.5
- 12.8 turnovers per game

Prediction- Will Ole Miss finally win a close one on the road or will we finally beat a decent team at home? I say this is our most winnable home game left on the schedule being that Ole Miss has been mediocre in conference play. Bama by 4.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Latrell Sprewell wasn't lying...

... when he turned down a 3 year $21 million contract saying, "I've got a family to feed." I guess I'll never understand how someone could blow that much money.

From comcast.net sports.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kentucky Cats Kick Crimson's Caboose

I apologize for the delay in getting the recap up, but I've been on the road all weekend. Let me preface this by saying, my seats for this game were at center court, but about halfway up the massive upper deck in Rupp Arena, so I was probably a few hundred feet off the court, so my observations could be way off.

Honestly, it was not as bad as I expected it to be when I found out that Hendrix was not going to be able to play. I was hoping he would play through it and have a big game anyway, much like Michael Jordan in the NBA finals, but I don't think anyone will ever be able to repeat that performance under those conditions. I wonder why the entire team was not required to get flu shots.

Yamene Coleman and Justin Knox filled in about as well as could be expected. Situations like this is exactly why we should have got Knox more experience earlier in the season. Without a dominating post presence, I was hoping that we would go with a smaller lineup and a more uptempo pace, but it seems we did not alter our style or gameplan with Hendrix unavailable.

Even when we had an 8 point lead in the 1st half, I never thought we really had a chance to win the game. UK was missing wide open shots, and you knew that wouldn't happen all day in Rupp. You also knew that Knox and Coleman would not score consistently in the paint throughout the entire game. We made some perimeter shots in the first half, but once we went cold, it was game over.

It seems like every game we get off to a slow start in the second half. We only scored 5 points in the first 8 minutes of the second half. Our offense was atrocious. Give credit to Kentucky for playing very good defense, but we forced a lot of bad shots early in the shot clock, and resorted to a one on one game for much of the second half. With our depth and athleticism I do not understand why we don't press more, especially when the halfcourt offense bogs down as badly as it did Saturday, to try to get into a faster pace game.

Hollinger does not need to be running the point. He's about the only player we've got who is shooting halfway consistently, but he just doesn't have the size and strength to take care of the ball at the point. I like him coming in at the 2 position, but we need to run him through some screens and get him some open 3's. Why we continue to run plays designed to have him driving toward the basket is beyond me. Our best backcourt Saturday was Torrance at PG and Hollinger at SG, but I think they were only in the game together for a few minutes. I know Hendrix's absence complicated matters, but our substitution patterns were so bad and nonsensical that I don't even know where to start.

Justin Tubbs was a pretty good shooter last year, but I'm afraid he has lost all confidence sitting on the bench. When he does shoot the ball these days, he's not even coming close.

I was thinking one bright spot with Hendrix being out would be that our free throw shooting would be better, but we sucked balls at the line as usual.

With the exception of Riley giving up his usual 2 or 3 uncontested 3's, I thought we played pretty well on defense. They were able to do some damage in the paint when Coleman wasn't in the game, but for the most part we played pretty good defense. Kentucky is improving, and after Gillespie has a couple of years to recruit his players, I feel this was probably the weakest Kentucky team we will see in Rupp for many years. It's a shame we couldn't get the W.

One thing that concerns me is that we seem to find different ways to lose every game. One game we shoot well but don't defend the perimeter. The next game we play good defense, but get shut down on offense. The only consistency is poor free throw shooting, and a strong inside game from Hendrix. This tells me that we are allowing our opponents to dictate the style and pace of the games.

Enough about our 2-7 basketball team for now. If you have never been to Rupp Arena, I strongly advise you to go. This was my 3rd trip, and I've had a great time every time I've been. I always wear my UA gear, and in 3 trips I haven't heard a single negative comment from any of the UK fans. In fact, they've been more than gracious in both victory and defeat.

That atmosphere is what college basketball is all about. 20,000 + fans for every game, cheering loudly for their team, and it's not just the student section that gets into it. There is a mall type area attached to the arena, with shops, a food court, and a sports bar, and people arrive several hours early as they broadcast their radio pregame show from the common area. Inside, they don't even hang banners for the years that they do not make the final 4. With their tradition, there is no question that they are the bell cow for SEC basketball, and they are great ambassadors for the conference. UK and their fans are first class. When they make the NCAA tournament and we don't, I'll definitely be pulling for the Big Blue.

Up next, Andy Kennedy brings his Ole Miss rebels to Tuscaloosa Wednesday night. After a very impressive non-conference start which included a win over Clemson, the rebels have come back to earth with a 3-5 conference record. They are coming off a tough loss to Arkansas in a game that they battled back from behind but came up short in the end. We will be looking to tie the Rebels in the West division standings with 3 SEC wins. No TV, so if you want to see it, you'll have to come out to Coleman.

SEC Rankings week 14, random thoughts and what if scenerios

SEC Rankings

1) Tennessee- struggled to beat LSU, but any win on the road is a good win.
2) Arkansas- held off a game Ole Miss squad. Let's see what they got when they travel to Knoxville this Wednesday.
3) Florida- UGA gave them a game. Still, Donovan should be SEC Coach of the Year if they continue to win.
4) Mississippi State- got back on track beating us on Wednesday.
5) Vanderbilt- escaped South Carolina. I'm not sure about them anymore.
6) Kentucky- They keep on winning. I guess their non-conference schedule was much tougher than the SEC.
7) Ole Miss- at 3-5 in conference they're slipping out of the NCAA tournament. They can't seem to win the close ones in conference.
8) South Carolina- because everyone below them is worse.
9) Alabama- like Ole Miss... can't find a way to win the close games. Also, being 2-7 in conference doesn't help.
10) Georgia- The NIT is slipping away from them.
11) Auburn- They're AUful.
12) LSU- pulled the plug on Brady... and I suspect the rest of this season.

Random thoughts:

- Coach K might be doing the best coaching job of his career. Look at that Duke roster. There's no way they should've gone into Chapel Hill and dominate. How they only have one loss (OT to Pitt in NYC) is remarkable.

- The Big East is deep. At a minimum 8 teams are going to the big dance. None of the metro NY teams (St Johns, Rutgers, Seton Hall) will sniff the postseason. I don't know when (ior if) any of those team will be competitive again in the Big East.

-Staying with the Big East, 16 teams is waaaay too much. Expansion killed some of the good rivalries of the past.

- Drake is 22-1 and undefeated in the MVC. Their only loss was to St Mary's in their 2nd game of the season. Their only other loss might be to Butler for ESPN's bracket buster weekend.

What if... CMG is not retained for next season. I know the popular names to replace him are Anthony Grant at VCU and Gregg Marshall at Wichita State. I'd like to offer up names no one's talking about.

1) Steve Lavin- yes, the slightly annoying mafia looking guy on ESPN. He led UCLA to 5 Sweet Sixteens in 7 years. His record in the first week of the tournament is 10-1. He was fired in 2003 for a 10-19 season. Funny thing is if CMG didn't take the Murray State job he probably would've been the one to replace Jim Harrick at UCLA.

2) Scott Sutton (Oral Roberts)- he recently signed a 7 year extension, but I can't imagine his buyout is a whole lot (he's making 250K per). ORU has made back to back NCAA appearances and currently lead the Summit League with a 12-0 record.

3) Bob Knight/Nolan Richardson- either would cause a stir nationally and both would be upgrades over what we have now (especially crazy Nolan with the athletes we have). Truthfully, this is more for shock value although I wouldn't be opposed to either.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Someone Please Turn Out The Lights When The Season's Over

I'm not sure I can take it any more. This is just too painful to watch. In the words of Roberto Duran, "No mas!"

I will try to attend two of the last three home games, but this is just too painful to revisit for as long as is required to compose a reasonably intelligible post two times per week.

Pathetic 2nd half. Cats skin Tide 62-52.

The second half of the game set back college basketball 50 years. It wasn't like UK was on fire... they just didn't suck as bad.

Box score

The good:
- 1st half effort by Knox and Coleman.
- Riley scored and played well on D.

The bad:
- 52 total points (25 in the 2nd half... and had to rally to get that).
- Gee with another AUful game.
- didn't take advantage of the numerous UK turnovers.
- I sat through this trainwreck.

2-7 and counting. We're well on our way to 4-12 (or worse). Kentucky on the other hand might find their way to the big dance if they keep winning in the SEC (and I thin they will).

Kentucky stats pack

UPDATE: 1st half thoughts:

- Thanks to Tidedruid for linking the bad news about Hendrix not playing (in comments). I was busy chasing my kid around at the playground.
- Coleman and Knox are filling in for Hendrix quite nicely. I've been saying that Coleman should see the court more.
- Riley is shooting well and playing D.
- There's a Tubbs sighting on the court in Lexington.
- We can't guard Patterson inside.
- Someone tell CMG that Hollinger shouldn't play the point. BH found his niche as the backup 2 guard, yet he's been thrusted back to the point. IMO Torrance and Pickett are better options there.
- Why do we constantly give up last second shots to end the 1st half. I dare anyone to find a team that gives up more late 1st half buckets than us.
- Halftime score is 28-27 Cats. I know someone's going to complain that we should be up in the game, but considering the makeshift lineup I'm content. Hopefully we come out with the same intensity in the 2nd half.

The Wildcats have won 4 in a row and are 5-2 in conference play. Not bad for a team that came into conference play under .500. Here's your stats pack. Here's more stats from statsheet.com about them. I highly suggest you bookmark this site (main page). Finally, here's some good reading from aseaofblue (UK blog). Like everyone else, they're scratching their head at why we're 2-6 in the SEC.

Led by Ramel Bradley and freshman Patrick Patterson, it looks like Gillespie has finally got the Wildcats to buy into his system. They're playing some good basketball. Essentially they play 6 guys... 7 if you include the 4 minutes per that Mark Coury gets.

The stats:
- 47.9% FG
- 37.1% 3PT FG
- 75.7% FT (best in conference)
- 16.7 turnovers per game
- Rebound margin +3.1
- 7.3 steals per game

Prediction: We got 2 teams going in opposite directions so a Kentucky blowout would make sense... except Kentucky can't blow anyone out. I expect this to be a close game throughout. In the end, Bradley is going to get too many open 3s and we go down... again. Kentucky by 9.

Tipoff is 1PM EST on RAYCOM Sports. If you can't watch it on the tube you can watch it online here.

Friday, February 08, 2008

John Brady Fired!

http://www.wafb.com/global/story.asp?s=7842843
Edit- one more link (from rivals.com)

He's been at LSU for one year longer than Gottfried has been here. Brady only had 3 winning seasons in SEC play, and one Final Four appearance. Coach Gottfried has had 3 winning seasons in SEC play, and one Elite 8 appearance. In fairness, I do believe Gottfried has made more NCAA tournament appearances, and has a better overall record.

LSU fires John Brady!

From the Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Barely two years removed from a Final Four appearance but now sporting the worst record in the SEC, LSU has parted ways with head coach John Brady.

Brady's firing was first reported by several Baton Rouge media outlets on Friday morning and later confirmed by LSU spokesman Kent Lowe. Brady will be allowed to coach the Tigers on Saturday against No. 7 Tennessee before handing the reins to assistant Butch Pierre for the remainder of the season.

LSU has called a 2 p.m. ET news conference, at which time it said it would explain its decision to let Brady coach one more game.

The Tigers are 8-13 overall, 1-6 in the SEC West, and have lost 17 of their last 23 conference games.

Brady, 53, has been the coach at LSU since the 1997-1998 season. He won the SEC championship in 2006. Brady's record this season is 8-13.

Alabama midseason grades

If this was a real report card I suspect most of them would hide it from their parents.

1) Alonzo Gee- He's playing a lot harder than he did last year, but still makes silly mistakes in terms of shot selection and handling the ball. B-

2) Richard Hendrix- The team MVP. Where would we be without him. His game has improved in every facet except one... FT shooting. A

3) Rico Pickett- considering he's a freshman I can't hold it against him too much for shot selection and ball control. Overall I think he's done a decent job at the point. C+

4) Mykal Riley- his defense is AUful. He's either hot or cold shooting. We need more from on both sides of the court. D+

5) Demetrius Jemison- how he's regressed from last season. He seems lost on the offensive end, but you can never fault his hustle. We really need him to help Hendrix out inside. D

6) Brandon Hollinger- he's probably our best 3 point threat. He adjusted nicely to the backup 2 guard position only to be moved (inexplicably) to starting PG and his game has suffered a bit due to it. A-

7) Yamene Coleman- we need someone to work with him on the offensive side. He's still a project... and he shouldn't be. D

8) Senerio Hillman- he's the sparkplug off the bench. Has the shooting range of Evan Brock and like Brock he's a pretty good defender. It's good to see him getting more PT. For now, I grade him B-

9) Justin Tubbs- he makes guest appearances, but for the most part is buried on the bench. Strange as he's one of our best defenders and if given the chance could be one of our best outside threats. Saying that, to this point he can't throw the ball in the ocean. D+

10) Mikhail Torrance- it's no secret that I think he should get more PT. He's our best option at the point, makes good decisions with the ball and has proven of late to be a semi reliable threat from outside. Did I mention he's a decent defender. A-

11) Justin Knox- I'd like to see more from him, but that's a pipe dream this season. Incomplete.

12) Kyle Sellers/John Dill/Greg Cage- they keep the bench nice and warm and do an excellent job cheering the team on. C.

CMG- Still has questionable substitution patterns, not pulling some players for terrible shot selection or matador defense while yanking others for the same, and still can't draw up an inbounds play against the press that works. Oh yeah, this season has been a miserable failure so far. To his credit he has experimented on defense to mixed results. Grade- F+

Team grade- On offense we still stand around too much, not enough spacing. Defensively, it's been better, but still allow too many uncontested 3 and easy drives to the lane. D

In closing, this has been a horrific 1st half. I'm not sure it'll get better.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Another good effort, another close loss. MSU 73-66

Box score

Maybe I should copy and paste comments from the Tennessee and Arkansas games. I like how the team fought back from down 11 to get the deficit to 2, but it seems everytime we get within striking range the other team comes up with a big shot to push the lead to a 2 possession game.

The good:
- Riley and Hollinger kept us in the game in the 1st half.
- Another good defensive effort.
- Contained Gordon as much as we could.
- Five players scored in double digits.

The bad:
- FTs (recurring theme) suck.
- Gee had a horrible game.
- 38% from the field. That's not gonna win you many games.

More broken record musings:
- Am I the only one that thinks Torrance should get more PT? Why wait to get him the game late in the 1st half?
- Gee needs to drive more and take less outside shots. To his credit he's the only one that shot FTs worth a crap.

We're now 2-6 in conference and 13-10 overall. If someone would've told me we'd be this bad at the midpoint of conference season I would've had them committed. Damn.

MIssissippi State stats pack 2

(How would you like that look in your bedroom?)

For you and you and you and you. Stats pack. Here's a link to the 1st stats pack post.

Here's more reading material... the press release from the evil Bulldogs website. What the heck... one more link... this one from a Bulldogs blog that wonders if MSU makes the NCAA tournament.

After winning 9 in a row Mississippi State has dropped their last 2 to the Hogs in Fayetteville and at home to Tennessee. I imagine they're a pissed off bunch which does not bode well for us. The good news... maybe... is Ben Hansbrough has mono, didn't play last week, and probably won't play this week either nevermind as Ben is playing tonight. The bad news is Barry Stewart found his stroke against Tennessee and Gordon will put up points.

Stats:
- 46.5% FG
- 34% 3PT FG
- 60.5% FT
- +5.1 rebound margin
- average 72.6 PPG and allow 62.8 (SEC Best)
- 8.7 Blocks
- 6.6 Steals
- 15.8 turnovers per game

Prediction- State by a dozen. I saw some good things in the LSU game, but in the end we only beat them by 9. We have to be a heck of a lot better to stay in the game and given our road woes I can't see it happenning.

Tipoff is 8PM EST (7 CST) and is not on TV. Find a radio station or listen online via yahoo.com (pay) or somewhere else that streams live (free).

This is what I'm going to do. UConn and Syracuse play at 7PM EST on ESPN. I'll watch the 1st half of that (in HD), then find our game on the net, mute the TV, and listen to our game. At 9PM EST Duke-UNC play with Dukie V making his triumphant return to the broadcast booth. I will continue to mute the TV until our game is over. That way I can watch some really good hoops tonight and pray hope that we pull the upset in Starkville. I will also preserve my sanity by not hearing Dukie V spout his "catch phrases" like DIAPER DANDY, AWESOME WITH A CAPITAL A, etc.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bobby Knight resigns at Texas Tech. What's his legacy? (Part 1)

I was going to make this a long winded post, but being as I can't digest reading long dissertations online I thought it would be best to break it up.

I'd rather not link a bias piece (of crap) from ESPN's Pat Forde so here's a link to his sudden resignation. He says after 42 years he can't do it anymore. What I want to do is break this down into 3 segments: recent history, his off the court antics, and his Indiana days.

Recent History
Bobby Knight put Texas Tech on the map of college basketball, but never could get them to the next level. Sure he has a Sweet 16 under his belt, but for the most part his reign in Lubbock was middle of the pack level. Resigning midseason can be viewed 3 ways...
1) he's really tired and can't do this anymore.
2) a strong arm tactic to make sure Pat Knight would be the next HC.
3) He contradicts everything he supposedly represents.

- He's really tired and can't do this anymore
He's leaving on his own terms, no fanfare or goodbye tour. That's the way CBK has lived his coaching life. No one except Bobby Knight (and maybe his son) saw this coming. The questions that come up are why didn't he do this either before or after the season. If he did it before then he wouldn't look like he was cashing in on 900 wins and checking out. If he did it after the season it wouldn't seem like he pulled a Bobby Petrino. I'm of the belief he just got tired, but I understand the sentiment of the other 2 scenerios. Bobby Knight for the most part is an unlikable man.

- A strong arm tactic to make sure Pat Knight would be the next HC
I know that PK was designated to be the successor in 2005 (I think), but what if CBK left at the end of the season and Texas Tech decided to go another direction? I kind of think CBK resigned midseason in part to give his kid a chance. If true, it's both a strong arm tactic and a gift to his son. Can't blame him for it.

- He contradicts everything he supposedly represents
If CBK is not about individual accomplishments why did we wait until after his 900th win to resign? Why did he quit on his team when he preaches the total opposite?

Off the Court Antics
We know about the choking incident, the throwing the chair across the court, the way he handled Steve Alford at Iowa, and how much disdain he had for the media. With the exception of his disdain for the media, no sane person can give him a pass for what I listed.

- The choking incident
Obviously the first real sign that CBK has anger issues. There was no excuse for that. Here's the problem I have... if CBK is such a terrible man why haven't we heard more former players talking about the bad side of CBK? For the most part, you hear former IU players talk glowingly about CBK and how he molded them into men. Off hand I can't think of any former players under CBK that ended up on the wrong side of the news so he must've done something right.

- Throwing the Chair Across the Court
I liken this to John McEnroe when a call didn't go his way on the tennis court. Was it over the top... yeah, but in the end it didn't hurt anybody.

- Steve Alford
I remember watching an interview with the both of them where CBK didn't let CSA get a word in. It was quite uncomfortable to watch. It was obvious that CBK didn't like CSA at Iowa (or anywhere in the Big 10). For some reason CBK thought CSA was not loyal to him for taking that job. Years later, CBK vented his silent frustration at Mike Davis after CBK was uncerimoniously (sp?) fahred for "a pattern of unacceptable behavior." CMD had the audacity (sarcasm) to take the IU job instead of following CBK wherever he ended up as an assistant.

- His Disdain for the Media
I'm not sure he had true disdain for the media, but didn't take kindly to any criticism from them. For the most part I think he played them well. Still, the one interview I remember the most was when Jeremy Schaap interviewed him. Long story short, CBK started to belittle Jeremy telling him he was nothing like his father (Dick) when Jeremy asked his some tough questions about his antics at the end of his Indiana career.

I probably sound like a CBK hater, but I'm not. As a coach I think he's one of the best to ever coach the game... getting the most out of his players and more importantly molding young boys into productive men in society. Many want to brush his resignation off as "it's about time," but what just happenned is we witnessed the end of an era. It could've been a storybook ending, but CBK probably didn't want it that way.

I'll touch on his Indiana days in Part 2.

Monday, February 04, 2008

SEC Rankings Week 13

1) Tennessee- great win at Mississippi State.
2) Arkansas- it's about time, but they're finally playing like the 2nd best team in the conference. Back to back blowouts of Mississippi State and Florida were impressive.
3) Florida- Didn't see the Hogs beatdown coming.
4) Mississippi State- rallied late to scare the Vols, but fell short.
5) Ole Miss- bad loss to South Carolina at home.
6) Vanderbilt- struggled to be Auburn.
7) Kentucky- Gillespie has got his team on a roll.
8) South Carolina- a hard team to figure out. Road wins at Arkansas and Ole Miss, but puzzling losses at home.
9) Alabama- we're no longer in the bottom 3rd of the SEC.
10) Georgia- had a chance to beat Kentucky and failed. They're freefalling.
11) Auburn- 6 Scholarship players is starting to catch up.
12) LSU- the return of Chris Johnson should help them out a bit. They'll be a better team in the 2nd half.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bama Buys Breaks, Bests Bayou Bengals!

(Take that, DJC!)

In spite of all the problems this Bama squad has exhibited, they still could have won 3 or 4 of their conference games if they had been able to make key plays down the stretch when the game was on the line. Tonight they did just that.

Brandon Hollinger made two key baskets with the shot clock winding down to match LSU's scores. One of those was a three pointer he made after telling his teammates to clear the lane. When his defender backed away to defend the drive to the basket, Brandon took a half step back and drained the three. Hillman and Gee forced steals on the other end to preserve the lead.

Coach Gottfried had Hillman and Tubbs chase LSU's best scorer most of the night. Thorton scored 22 points but was held to 4 for 11 from three point range. Almost all 11 of those shots were open looks at the basket, his constant harrassment probably affected his shooting this afternoon. I hope our coaches remember that lesson for future games. Get in a shooter's head early before he can find his rythme.

Coach Gottfried was right when he said the team played hard today: "Let The Bodies Hit The Floor!" Bama had a long dry spell to start the second half, but the scorers woke up just in time to keep their poor free throw shooting from costing them the game.

Mark Gottfried's crimson jacket was the biggest loser today. He ripped it off when Hillman missed the 360 dunk mentioned in DJC's post. I sure hope Hillman rests up Sunday because I think he is going to need it at practice Monday.

LSU's Brady earned a technical foul that seemed to fire up his team. I don't blame Brady for arguing the call in question. His player obviously lost the ball out of bounds because a Bama player hacked his arm. But the zebras made plenty of bad calls today and LSU benefitted from about half of them.

It wasn't pretty but a win is a win and I'll take it (as though I had some sort of choice in the matter!). Now Alabama will have to steal two or three wins on the road to have a chance to play in the big dance. At least the team is playing a little bit better now and the coach has learned to keep some defensive players on the court.

Roll Tide!

Bama Beats Brady's Bunch

For the most part, this looked like a game between the two worst teams in the SEC. Thankfully, that honor goes to the Bayou Bengals.

We had a chance to blow them out in the first half. We played a tight man to man defense which gave LSU's less than stellar ball handlers a lot of trouble. We pounded the ball inside to Hendrix and got their top big man in early foul trouble. Hillman's missed dunk was a key play in allowing LSU to get back into the game.

Hillman was all alone on a break away, and instead of simply dunking the ball, he decided to attempt a 360. I would have no problem with that in a blowout game, but the lead was only 8 at the time if I recall correctly. Anyway, he clanked it off the back of the iron. Even worse, he seemed to sulk at both ends of the court for the next couple of possessions, and LSU took advantage by making some shots and getting back into the game. To Hillman's credit, he seemed to bounce back after the next timeout and played great defense for the rest of the game. He even made a 3 pointer, and if his shooting continues to improve, he will be an amazing 2 guard.

Riley and Gee shot the ball fairly well today, which was important because it got LSU out of the zone and allowed Hendrix to have another monster game. Early in the second half I don't think we made enough of an effort to feed the ball to Hendrix in the post, and LSU was able to make a game of it.

I think Hollinger did the best job of running point today, although he still makes me nervous at times. This was more of a halfcourt type of game, which is not well suited for Torrance's style. Given LSU's lack of depth and problems at the PG position, I would have liked to have seen us press them. Rico was adequate, but had a few silly turnovers in the first half.

Our substitution patterns continue to confuse me. Tubbs doesn't play for 2 months, and all of a sudden we get him in the game today. He played good defense on LSU's best scorer, and he made a 3 point shot. Hopefully he will start getting a few more minutes in the rotation. We are now seven games into the SEC schedule, yet we are still experimenting with our playing rotation. At one point in the first half, we had Torrance, Hollinger, Hillman, Jemison, and Coleman in the game. It was obvious there was no chemistry as these guys have not played together in a game situation all year.

One major positive in this game is that we actually made the plays down the stretch at crunch time to win the game. Hillman and Gee had some huge steals late in the game, and Hollinger made the dagger shot to stretch the lead from 5 to 8. It seems like we've choked in similar situations more often than not this year, so maybe this will give us some confidence in close games.

We shot 16 of 24 from the charity stripe today. Not great, not even good, but at least it's better. Hendrix sucked at the FT line as usual though.

Supposedly, this game was a sellout, but there were a lot of no shows. There were virutally no LSU fans, and our student section was mostly empty. The absence of both groups is probably attributable to this being Mardi Gras weekend. I would estimate the actual crowd of being somewhere between 8 and 9 thousand.

If we can spend $4 million per year on a football coach, $1 million per year on a basketball coach, and millions more on facilities, why can we not invest in a decent scoreboard in Coleman Coliseum? The stats boards showed the final stats from the Tennessee game for much of the 1st half, and they did not get them working properly until well into the second half. A few years ago the rumor was that the current setup would be replaced when the contracts with the advertisers expired, but I have not heard any more on this recently. Something needs to be done.

A couple of the Mark's Madness guys got kicked out. I have no clue why, but I did notice someone from the athletic dept. warn them about something, and then a few minutes later they were back over there with the fuzz escorting a couple of them out. I do know several years ago when we did the "Brady's an idiot" T-shirts, we received a fine from the SEC. I suspect the athletic dept. may have been a little trigger happy today, fearing that the idiot would go whine to the SEC office about something again.

Up next, we travel to $tarkville to take on $tansfield's (For our visitors unfamiliar with this rivalry, an m$u recruit who commited to $tate without even visiting the campus once remarked how he couldn't wait to play for "coach stansfield") m$u bulldogs. Tip off is set for 7pm Wednesday night at the dump. As they are still trying to get electricity in that part of Mississippi, the game will not be televised. Unfortunately, I will not be able to get off work in time to make the trip, so I'll be relying on Chris Stewart to keep me updated just like everybody else. As much as I would love for us to go over there and beat the hell out of those retarded jackasses, I really don't see any reason for optimisim.

Tide downs Bayou Bengals 81-72

I thought we played pretty solid defense throughout and moved the ball better than I've seen in a long time.

Box score

The Good:
- Hendrix with another double-double
- Gee played under control
- Defensively we held LSU to 37% from the field
- Balanced scoring

The bad:
- Never put LSU away when we had the chance. Credit them for not giving up, but we should've put the game away much earlier
- Hillman not converting that 360 dunk. That would've brought the house down. LSU made a mini-run on us after that miss.

I'm still perplexed by substitution patterns and not getting a certain player in the game until the 2nd half. I'll take the win and hope the improvements we saw today continue throughout the rest of the year.

LSU stats pack

For your reading pleasure. It's either that or a good way to cure insomnia.

LSU is coming off their 1st SEC win (at Auburn). Marcus Thornton put up 38 points including the game winning 3 to win at Auburn. That snapped a 15 game road losing streak.

With Chris Johnson out (I think he returns next week), Thornton and Anthony Randolph are the only scoring threats for the Bayou Bengals. They've been decimated with injuries. Still, they should be better and John Brady is probably on the hottest seat of any of the current SEC coaches.

Update- Chris Johnson is playing today... the game becomes harder to win.

The stats:
- 43% FG
- 32% 3PT FG
- 73% FT
- Rebound margin of -3.0
- 14 turnovers a game

Defensively:
- Allow 69.3 PPG
- 6.3 steals
- 14 turnovers per game

Prediction- Is this a let down game for us after the effort against the Vols? Can LSU sweep the road in Alabama. No... I fully expect us to win this game handily. Alabama led by Hendrix with another double-double by 15.

Gametime is 3PM EST on RAYCOM Sports (used to be LF Sports which used to be JP Sports). If you can't get to a TV then you can watch it on da in-ter-net for not $9.95, not even $5.95, but for FREE!

Wait, that's not all, you also get at no cost to you a way to cure insomnia by watching this game. That's a $49.95 value ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Perspective on Mark Gottfried... media release?

This is from the Bham News. "Interesting" to say the least. Below is a portion of the stats.

Nationally

Most Division I Victories (12 years or less)
Rank Coach (Current School) Div. 1 Years Wins
1. Tom Izzo (Michigan State) 12 278
2. Mark Gottfried (Alabama) 12 250
3. Mike Brey (Notre Dame) 12 241
4. Phil Martelli (St. Joseph's) 12 240
5. Tim Welsch (Providence) 12 215
Willis Wilson (Rice) 12 215

SEC Coaches
Average Wins Per Year (minimum 5 years)
Rank Coach (Current School) Div. 1 Years Wins Wins Per Year
1. Billy Donovan (Florida) 13 296 22.7
2. Bruce Pearl (Tennessee) 6 132 22.0
3. Mark Gottfried (Alabama) 12 250 20.8
4. Rick Stansbury (Miss. State) 9 185 20.5
5. Billy Gillispie (Kentucky) 5 100 20.0

Most Post-Season Appearances
Rank Coach (Current School) Div. 1 Years Appearances Breakdown
1. Dave Odom (South Carolina) 21 15 (9 NCAA, 6 NIT)
2. Mark Gottfried (Alabama) 12 11 (7 NCAA, 4 NIT)
3. Billy Donovan (Florida) 13 10 (9 NCAA, 1 NIT)
4. Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt) 13 9 (3 NCAA, 6 NIT)
5. Rick Stansbury (Miss. State) 9 7 (4 NCAA, 3 NIT)

NCAA Tournament Appearances
Rank Coach (Current School) Appearances Years as Head Coach
1. Dave Odom (South Carolina) 9 21
2. Billy Donovan (Florida) 9 13
3. Mark Gottfried (Alabama) 12 7
4. John Brady (LSU) 4 16
Rick Stansbury (Miss. State) 4 9
Bruce Pearl (Tennessee) 4


Take it for what it's worth. I don't place much value in it to be honest with you.