Sunday, November 30, 2008

this just in... the SEC sucks in basketball this year

As we approach December we got a total of one undefeated team left in the SEC. That's pretty damn sad. Let me list the bad losses:

Alabama- Mercer and Oregon
Arkansas- @ Missouri State
Auburn- Mercer (kings of the SEC?) and @ Dayton
Florida- Syracuse (probably not so bad, but were expected to win)
Georgia- Loyola, IL. When you have to add the location of the school you know it's a bad loss.
Kentucky- VMI
Mississippi St- Texas Tech
South Carolina- @ Charleston (probably not so bad being that the Cocks suck, but still)
Vanderbilt- Illinois (a middle of the road Little 11 team)

Tennessee lost to Gonzaga in the Old Spice Classic and LSU is undefeated (so far playing a ridiculous easy schedule).

At some point I'll post revised SEC predictions. There's a lot of crap to wade through in the conference.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hawaii recap... Maui Invitational and more

I'm going to go chronological from landing in Honolulu to flying out:

Honolulu- it is Detroit with a beach. I spent one day there and while I enjoyed Wakiki Beach, most of it was too commercial.

Taken from the 24th floor of the Marriott Wakiki Beach hotel.

Kona/the Big Island: my favorite part fo the trip. It was peaceful, not commercial and relaxing. We did the volcano tour, saw the lava flow to the ocean, and then circled the island.

That's as close as we can get to the lava flow.

Maui: North Kaanapali is too touristy for me, but we still had fun. The tournament was more of an afterthought to tell you the truth. BTW- if you have just a tint of a fear of flying I don't suggest you fly one of the local airlines between islands. You can get great photos, but the flight is bumpy to say the least.




The Maui Invitational is a nice tournament that gets its recognition by its location. IMO they should play the tournament at U of Hawai'i inside of a real gym. The Lahaina Civic Center reminded me of my HS gym... with 4 goals rolled up and all. It's outdated and while I'm all for history and tradition, it's not the best place to play basketball.

If you never been to Hawaii I suggest you do so if you can. I wish I could've stayed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bama 58 St. Joe's 48

Good win over a decent St. Joe's team. St. Joe's isn't great, they are undersized but they aren't awful. They beat the hell out of Indiana. It was a slow paced, half-court game. If we play with that kind of effort and intensity on defense every game, we will win more than our fair share. Despite the low score, our offense was not that bad. We got some good shots that just didn't go down, and as I mentioned, it was a very slow paced game.

With the win, we place 5th in the tournament. Up next, Alabama A&M comes to Tuscaloosa next week. For more on the St. Joe's game, read Mitchell's post in the comments to the stats pack below. I'm off to go snorkeling. Aloha!

St Joseph's stats pack

Here ya go.

Jameer Nelson is not walking in that door, but they probably don't need him to beat us. After pasting Indiana yesterday they look to end this tournament on a successful note.

The stats:
- 45% FG
- 33% 3PT FG
- 72% FT
- -3.5 rebound margin
- 8.5 steals

Prediction: Bama by 7. I figure we'll somehow win this thing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Update: Confusion regarding starting time of St. Joe's game

They announced it would start at 9 am Hawaii time at the arena today, and the official websites for both schools confirm that. However, I got the 5:30 start time listed below from a previously published bracket. Now I see this which indicates an 11:30 am local tipoff. I am officially confused.

78-56 over Chaminade

We actually fell behind early, but were too much for an overmatched Chaminade that plays in a lower division. Chaminade only had 8 players, and after playing an up tempo UNC team the day before, I'm sure they were winded. This win will not help us in the RPI. We went on a run late in the 1st half, and led 40-20 at halftime. So, that means we only won the second half by 2 points, against a tired division II team with 8 players. In fairness, we did empty the bench in the second half. The crowd was much more sparse today. I would estimate no more than 25 Bama fans in attendance, at least 25% of which were related to Coach Gottfried.

Up next, we play St. Joseph's and their arm-flapping mascot at 6:30 pm local time tomorrow (10:30 pm back in Bama) for the prestigious title of 5th place. I'm off to the beach.

Back on track... Bama blasts Chaminade

We're back to .500 and we're gonna make a run at the NCAA tournament. Ok, maybe not.
Box score

To be honest I watched the last 3 minutes of the game. The beach was calling my name. It will be calling my name tomorrow too when we play St Joseph's.

Mauled In Maui

I wake up at 4:30 pretty much every morning but I stayed up until midnight to watch the first half of that pitiful excuse of a game. One half was all I could take, but I was not surprised in the least when I saw the final score a few hours ago.

If anyone knows what our offense is supposed to look like, would you please tell our players because our coach obviously cannot or will not do so. Our post players and wing men could not slow down, much less prohibit, an entry pass within five feet of the basket. If nothing else, why doesn't CMG take that 14 (I guess she's now 15) year old girl who sat behind me in Coleman Coliseum last year to scream at our players which of their opponents is their hot three-point shooter? I think I saw one of the coach's children on the bench behind him. Why couldn't that kid have been given the job?

I had planned to drive up for our games against Texas A&M, Georgia Tech and Arkansas. I think I'll just go to the USA games those days instead. They might not have that much talent, but at least they have a coach.

I'm out!

Oregon squeaks by Bama... and the mood of this blog is about to change

Box score

A valiant effort by an over matched Crimson Tide team. It did my heart proud to see the effort exerted by the players and staff.

I want to list the things we did well in this game:
-
-
-
-
-

I've tried to keep this blog objective, but I can't do it anymore. I said to my friend when we get down double digits this team was going to fold like a tent. They did. I said to my friend that Gottfried would sit there when the game's out of reach and have that Shula look of disinterest... he did. I saw Ernie Kent coaching 40 minutes, Gottfried started biting his fingernails at the 6 minute mark of the 2nd half.

The good news is I was on TV a lot... not that I was looking to be, but since there were about 28 Bama fans in that HS gym I figured I get some airtime. More good news for me is I only bought a single game ticket so I will not have to spend a moment more in that HS gym watching HS level basketball. I'll watch on TV from my lanai instead... maybe. DJC will suffer on I guess.

I'll post some pictures later this week. I'm thoroughly disgusted. I've seen more organized basketball in the schoolyard.

For those that think things might turn around this year I applaud your optimism... and question your judgment.

Ducks Dominate Defenseless Bama, 92-69

Much like the team and coaching staff tonight, I will be completely incompetent with this recap. It was on ESPN, so if you weren't enough of a fan to stay up and watch it for yourselves, you don't deserve any more than my 1 or 2 sentence summary. Maybe Bobbyjack will edit this and link a box score if he's feeling generous, I'm not taking the time to find the link.

We suck. It was a typical road game (and the crowd consisted of 70% very loud, energetic Oregon fans, 15% quiet and subdued Bama fans, and 15% disinterested UNC fans). We started out good, let them get on a roll, and never regained momentum. Once we fell down double digits, it was game over. We've seen this time and again on the road. We didn't play halfway decent in a single phase of the game. Inside defense? sucked. Outside defense? Sucked. Rebounding? sucked. Ball handling? sucked. Free throw shooting? Sucked. You get the picture.

I keep telling myself 2 things tonight to make myself feel better about this: 1. I'm still in Maui. It's not like I'm in some place like Starkville where this crap usually happens.

2. Losses may be beneficial to the long term good of the program at this point.

Regarding #2, I hate to think that way. I like Coach Gottfried, he's one of us, and we all wanted him to be successful, but I am afraid the writing is on the wall. For the last 2 years we've heard, "If we only had Ron Steele," Well, we've got him, now what? You'll never convince me this team is worse than Mercer, or 23 points worse than a team that lost to Oakland.

To lighten the mood around here a little, here are some pics I took today. This is the only one I took from the game. It was taken courtside during warmups. It was literally a high school basketball gym. At least it is air conditioned now, I understand that was not the case a few years ago.




A couple more from around the Island:





Up next, Chaminade tomorrow at 11am local, 3pm Central. Boy, I can't wait for that one. If we play like we did tonight, they will get their 5th win ever in the tournament they host every year. For now, I think I hear a margarita on Front St. calling my name. Aloha.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oregon Ducks stats pack

This one's short and sweet as I'm kinda busy enjoying the Big Island.

Ducks stats

Prediction: both teams have ugly home losses, but ours is more "quality" so I say we win and become the sacrificial lamb on Tuesday. I'll try to take some decent photos and post it there when I get a chance.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tide Rolls over Rattlers

Box Score

This was pretty much complete domination from the get-go. The good news is we played much better. The bad news is, I'm not sure if FAMU could beat my old hoop-it-up team.

Justin Knox started ahead of Jemison. According to Knox's postgame comments, the coaches felt this would improve the rebounding situation that was such a problem against Mercer. Knox responded by having a very good game on the boards. Overall, we did a much better job of boxing out tonight. FAMU was even smaller than Mercer, so we had a huge size advantage.

Most importantly, we did not rely exclusively on the perimeter shot early in the game. Instead we attacked the basked and got into transition, mixing in the occasional 3, to build an 18-0 lead before the rattlers would score.

We played very good defense tonight. It's been a long time since we've held anybody to 0 for 20 shooting from 3 point range. They did miss a few open shots, but for the most part, we did a good job of defending the perimeter. As we have every game this year, we put a lot of pressure on the ball in our man to man defense and was able to force some turnovers to create offense.

Despite not scoring many points, Alonzo Gee played a good game, contributing in other ways. Ronald Steele was more aggressive offensively in the early going, and this openned things up for everybody else. Torrance played well, making his left handed teardrop shot in the lane and creating drive and dish opportunities for open shots. Andrew Steele got significant playing time, and played very well at times. I also thought Anthony Brock ran a very solid point coming in off the bench. We were able to rest our regulars most of the second half and get everybody some playing time. Everybody played and everybody scored, and the game was never in doubt. I would say we accomplished everything we needed to tonight.

The only guy who really had a rough night was Demetrius Jemison. First, he lost his starting job to Justin Knox. Then, he came in off the bench, but was taken out after taking an ill advised shot. Now, while it was a bad shot, it was not as bad as some of the shots he jacked up from the perimeter the last couple of games. Anyway, Coach Gottfried took him out immediately after the bad shot, and I could clearly hear Coach Gottfried say to him, among other things, "you have to pass that ball." Jemison replied (I couldn't hear what he said) and Gottfried yelled back at him, "YOU CAN SIT YOUR ASS ON THE BENCH!" That's exactly what Demetrius did, not getting back into the game until mop up duty late in the 2nd half. Coach Gottfried has been accused of "playing favorites" in the past, and some may point to the fact that Green and Coleman did not get similar treatment after taking the same type of shots as evidence of this. However, Green and Coleman haven't been jacking up 3's in previous games either. I'm assuming (hoping) Gottfried had a previous conversation with 'Meat about his shot selection, which prompted the agressive response. Regardless, it was good to see Coach showing some emotion and getting after a player during a game for a change. Everyone has a rough night from time to time, and I have no doubt Jemison will bounce back from this. He's a good player, and we're going to need him.

Intersting note, FAMU is coached by Eugene Harris. For those who don't remember, he was an assistant here under Coach Gottfried for a year or two after Orlando Early left. I understand he was a decent recruiter, but I was not impressed with his coaching (either here, or tonight with FAMU). He was also an assistant on those good auburn teams that featured Chris "Crackhead" Porter, Doc Robinson, and Mommadu "everybody" Nidjyu. Yes, I'm sure I just butchered Mommado's name, but I don't care enough about how to spell that idiot's name to bother looking it up. Also on Eugene Harris's staff at FAMU is Reggie Sharp. I will always hate Reggie Sharp for hitting a halfcourt shot at auburn to beat us in overtime. I was sitting in the auburn student section for that one, not fun.

As bad as the Mercer loss was, things could always be worse. As I type this, I am watching my Chicago Bulls lose to the Portland Trailblazers 109-64 with 3 mins left. Hopefully the win tonight will give us the confidence we need to have a good showing in Maui next week.

Up next, we play the Oregon Ducks in the first round of the Maui Invitational Monday night. Tip off is set for 11 pm Central time on ESPN. I will be making the trip, and will try to post an update at some point, although it probably won't be as in depth and long winded as usual. (Hey, I'll be in Maui, I'll have better things to do). Bobbyjack is also going, so we will have it well covered. RTR!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

First Half Fine Facing FAMU

An outmanned opponent evidently was just what the Vet ordered for this season's Tuscaloosa Tusk Toters. Alabama shot well over fifty percent from the field and was a perfect eleven for eleven from the free throw line in the first half. Alabama's defensed also rattled the Rattlers, holding them well below the three point percentages they had earned earlier during this and prior seasons.

Jemison hit one nice shot away from the basket. Torrence sounded like the player I remember from high school, contributing by driving, dishing and hitting from outside. Ron Steele was the Ron Steele of old; Coach Gottfried had to call a time out just to get Ron out of the game for a few minutes. Brandon Hollinger finally broke his scoring drought. Gee was inconsistent. Green sounds like he might be a real player. Andrew Steele played and contributed. So did the new Juco kid whose name I'm sure I will remember (but misspell) tomorrow.

I have to get up at 4:30 to ride tomorrow morning so I will miss the second half, but the first half sounded more like a first half early game is supposed to sound. Here's hoping the first game was more a case of nerves than of lack of preparation.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

FAMU stats pack

Being that their sports site is down ESPN is the best I can do for those that JUST GOTTA KNOW.

I know this... they suck... bad. Kansas State and Wichita State hammerred them and we should, but after the Mercer loss I have a hard time thinking we'll demolish anyone.

The stats:
- 35.5% FG
- 54% FT
- 25.6% 3pt FG
- 12 turnovers a game
- only 2 players taller than 6'6"

Prediction: Steele might go for a triple-double, but somehow we let them hang around before running away late. Bama by 12.

Gametime is 8PM 11/19 and it's on CSS (whatever that is... I have directv so I probably don't get that).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

UnBEARable, Mercer 72, Bama 69.

Well, this is right up there with the Belmont game last year, only this may be worse. Belmont turned out to be a pretty decent team and made the NCAA tournament. Best of luck to Mercer, but I don't see them pulling that off.

We fell behind 13-7 early, thanks to some awful shooting. I think we started out 1 for 9 from behind the arc. We rely on the 3 too much, and this was killing us. Mercer was a small team. Jemison was as tall as their tallest player. Our game plan should have been to work the ball into the post and take control of the game. I understand that the strength of our team is supposed to be our guard play, but this matchup dictated that we take advantage of our relative strength in the post. Finally we made the adjustment and starting working the ball in to Green and Jemison on the low block. Most of the time we either scored or drew a foul.

Unfortunately, our free throw shooting was not so great. JaMycheal Green has decent form for a big man, and has shot well from the charity stripe in the exhibition games, but he was off tonight. He did nearly everything else well tonight, but he struggled at the line. Let's hope it was just first game jitters.

We played pretty good defense for the most part. We forced a lot of turnovers and played an aggressive man to man defense for most the game. However, our full court press was woefully ineffective, which is hard to figure considering Mercer's poor ball handling ability.

Our effort on the boards was inexcusable. We should have dominated them on the glass, we are bigger and stronger. I could somewhat understand the rebounding woes if we played a zone, but as I mentioned, we were in the man to man most of the game. There were some funny bounces, but mostly we just did a piss poor job of blocking out. It seemed like their guards and wing men were able to get way more rebounds than they should have.

Mercer did a good job of slowing us down in the second half. Our half court offense is painful to watch. At some point in the last 5 minutes Ron Steele realized that we weren't going to be able to do anything offensively, so he took over and almost won the game by himself. However, there was no way anybody could shut down James Florence, Mercer's star guard, and single handedly provide the offense we would need to win. For the most part, Senario Hillman did an excellent job on Florence, but he got into foul trouble. Hollinger shut him down and should have got more playing time just to guard him.

They burned us about 3 or 4 times late in the game running Florence on a pick and roll. We finally adjusted to this by going to the zone, but then we gave up some open 3's.

We seem to lack a killer instinct, and this was a problem at times last year. For the most part, I don't think the loss was due to a lack of effort. The guys played hard and were more disappointed than any of us with the outcome. Everytime we took the lead, we got sloppy and let it slip back away.

This was not Gottfried's worst game as far as in-game coaching decisions go. He realized the outside shot was not there and made the adjustment to start going inside more, which paid off. As I mentioned, he also switched to the zone long enough to put a stop to their pick and roll. There were several instances when I thought we should have pressed after a made free throw when we had momentum, but as I mentioned, our press was not very effective when we did use it, so I can understand his decision in this regard. I do question why Hollinger did not spend more time guarding Florence. Also, Senario Hillman was on the bench with a 1:30 to play in a 1 point game. I know he had 4 fouls, but with his big play potential on both ends of the court, I think he needs to be in the game down the stretch. My biggest beef with him, is he watched our stagnant offense get shut down for 3 straight possessions as Mercer stretched their lead to 8 before calling a timeout. He should have stopped the bleeding when the lead was still only 4, or 6 at the latest. At the end of the day, when you lose to an inferior opponent at home, a lot of the blame has to go to the coaches.

There were a lot of questionable calls in this game. One in particular stands out, Hollinger should have forced the Mercer guard into a 5 second call, but instead was called for a ticky tack foul late in the shot clock, allowing Mercer to go to the line and secure the lead for good. Still, you shouldn't be in a position where something like that matters against a team like Mercer.

Even after Mercer went ahead for the last time with 13 seconds or so left, we had a great opportunity to get the lead back, as Gee was open on a break away. However, I believe it was Jemison's outlet pass was underthrown, resulting in a turnover. We still had one timeout left, and should have used it when we rebounded a missed a 3 with 2 seconds left, but instead we tried to throw it back out to Steele and didn't get another shot off.

Believe it or not, there were a few positives from this game. I complained in previous posts about our big men not going up strong with 2 hands in traffic around the basket. We were much improved in this area tonight, and as a result we scored more in the paint and got to the line more. It's the first game of the season, obviously there is a lot of basketball left to be played. (See Kentucky losing to Garnder-Webb last year, and VMI this year). The year we made it to the Elite 8, we lost to Athletes in Action before the start of the season. Mercer has a lot of upper classmen, and they did beat USC on the road last year. Still, it's hard to be very optimistic at this point.

Up next, the Florida A&M ratlers pay us a vist Wednesday night. I suspect the crowd will be even smaller than the 4,500 or so that showed up tonight.

We lost to F'n Mercer? WTH? 72-69 Bears...

I'm glad I was flying during this debacle. We'll have to rely on DJC or one of the other bloggers for a recap... all I can give you is a box score.

How on earth did we get outrebounded 49-32? And despite forcing 16 turnovers and turning it over 6 times we still lost? It looks like Steele and Green were the only ones that showed up to play.

Let the fire CMG chants begin... this is unacceptable... and I'm being kind at the moment. Like Mitchell said in the comments, one game in and any hope for the basketball season are already squashed.

Only Kentucky put up a more pitiful performance on opening week.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mercer Bears preview

Coming off a 11-19 campaign that went in the toilet right after we beat them in Macon, the mighty Mercer Bears return leading scorer James Florence and top rebounder Calvin Henry.

They beat Piedmont 89-63 to open the season, holding Piedmont to 8-27 shooting in the 2nd half to run away. Florence and Daniel Emerson led the way scoring 19 and 16 each. Emerson had a monster game on the boards pulling in 19.

Here's a preview from Mercer's website.

No player on the roster is taller than 6'8", don't seem to have a legitimate 3 point shooter outside of Florence, and struggle at the FT line. That's not good. They did lose to Georgia College and State (didn't know that was a real school) in their final exhibition game due to cold shooting in the 2nd half (7-21). Here's a box score of that game for those that need to know.

Prediction- Pain... and lots of it. While I don't know much about Mercer, losing to GA College and State makes it hard to take them seriously. While I'm aware of our shortcomings (and there's plenty of them) we should dominate Mercer like we did those hapless exhibition scrimmages the past 10 days. Alabama 88 Mercer 60 and Greg Cage scores 4 in mop up duty.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bama Bludgeons Belhaven...

($.02 to Alias)

... 97-43 in front of a see of crimson... seats. I watched the 2nd half... sort of... as the Jets-Patriots and Va Tech-Miami games split my interest. Here's the box score.

The good:
- Forced 31 turnovers and only had 12
- 21/26 from the charity stripe
- 11 players scored (poor Cage missed out, but did play).
- 26 assists

The bad:
- 1st half shooting was bad (34%)
- With the exception of Hillman, our guards didn't shoot the ball well.

Mercer is up next... we should maul them too.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bama-Belhaven tonight

The Tide will take on the Belhaven Blazers in the final exhibition game of the season tonight at 7pm. The Blazers come in 3-0, and have won all 3 games impressively. Belhaven is a Presbyterian College in Jackson, MS. They play in the Gulf Coast Athletic Confrence of the NAIA. You now know everything I know about Belhaven.

Edit- link to webcast (not sure if it's free or not)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bama ULL game moved to Dec. 7 at noon

Link

To accomodate the SEC football championship game, we have moved our game against ULL and will play a double header with the ladies on Sunday, Dec. 7. This is a good move, but again, I question the start times. It's going to be hard for a lot of people to make it back from Atlanta in time for a noon start on Sunday. Yet this weekend, we are starting at 6pm on Sunday, after everyone has left town. Also, why not let the ladies play first? Don't get me wrong, this is certainly better than nothing, and now I will get to go to a game that otherwise would have missed.

Random rant- the marketing of Alabama basketball

DJC alluded it to in one of his post below, but I had to comment on the lack of marketing of the basketball program.

Football is king and always will be king at the University of Alabama. That's the way it is, but it doesn't mean basketball can't be marketed in conjunction with football.

Let's look at the preseason basketball schedule... why is it that our opening day matchup with Mercer on 11/16 is on Sunday at 6PM? Wouldn't it make more sense to schedule that on Friday night before the Mississippi State home game? Fans are going to be here so why not take advantage of that and draw more than a crowd of 1000 to opening game? People are going to leave Tuscaloosa Sunday morning heading back home. It's mind boggling not to take advantage of the football crowd coming in. We've got to market the team outside of Tuscaloosa. The population of metro T-town isn't big enough to bring in the crowds for non-conference games.

An aside... prediction of our record going into December: 3-2. We'll learn a lot about the team in Maui.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tennessee's West ineligible this year

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Freshman point guard Daniel West has been determined academically ineligible to play for No. 14 Tennessee this season, coach Bruce Pearl announced Monday.

He had not practiced with the Vols since team workouts began Oct. 17 because of the eligibility clearance issue.

"The frustration is he passed many checks and balances and was in summer school and did very well," Pearl said. "To get the rug pulled out from underneath you is certainly disappointing."

Pearl said that he didn't originally expect West to have an academic issue and that the freshman had done well during summer school courses. He declined to speak more about the specific issue because of privacy concerns.

West, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound native of Saginaw, Mich., was expected to share time at the point with junior college transfer Bobby Maze and junior guard J.P. Prince.

Read the rest here.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Elephants Exterminate Eagles

I was a part of the crowd of about 1,000 (nearly half of which were Faulkner fans) to see us win the first exhibition game of the season last night over Joe Sanderson's Faulkner Eagles. Faulkner was so outmanned, it's difficult to tell how good we are. We got up and down the court, and shot a lot of 3's. We were hot early on, but cooled off some down the stretch. We mostly played man to man defense, and forced a lot of turnovers.

I was right on the starting backcourt, but way off on the front court. Steele and Hillman started at 1 and 2, with Gee at the 3, Jemison and the freshman Green starting down low. I thought Green would start at some point, but not this soon. I was surprised that Andrew Steele did not play at all.

Ron Steele played a good game, but at one point he dove into the scorer's table to save a ball, Faulkner recovered it, but Steele then hustled over on defense to get a steal. I like the effort and hustle, but with his injury history, I would rather him not going diving into the scorer's table in the second half of a 30 point blowout in an exhibition game. There was one other scary moment when Alonzo Gee was the victim of a very hard intentional foul and was slow to get up.

For what it's worth, this time last year we were struggling with Montevallo in an exhibition game. If memory serves, we were either trailing or it was very close at halftime. At least we took care of business in convincing fashion, although I do think Montevallo was much better last year than this Faulkner team. Up next, Belhaven comes in for the final meaningless game next Thursday before we start playing for real.

Bama beats Faulkner 99-53

I tried to watch it, but couldn't make it through the whole game. I can't watch a game on the PC.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team opened its exhibition slate with a convincing 99-53 victory over Faulkner at Coleman Coliseum Thursday night. All 12 Tide players scored in the contest with Alonzo Gee leading the way with a game-high 21 points.
Alabama's defense was a large part of the story, forcing 27 Eagle turnovers, including 18 steals, that led to 41 fast break points. Faulkner shot 28 percent from the field for the game compared to 45 percent for Alabama.

"I thought in the first half we played with great ball pressure," head coach Mark Gottfried said.

"We had active hands and feet. That was good. Our defense created a lot of offense for us which is something we need to do."

Four Tide players scored in double figures led by Gee's 21. Mikhail Torrance and Justin Knox gave the Tide production off the bench with 19 and 10 points respectively. Senario Hillman narrowly missed a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds. The eight boards tied for most on the team with Demetrius Jemison.

From rolltide.com

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election day update... on former SEC players in the NBA

I'm limiting this to guys that left college last season not drafted in the 1st round.

1) Richard Hendrix- looks like he made the Golden State roster. I'm not sure how he's going to fit in with them running up and down the court, but hey... he's got $442K for the year. I assume that's his for the year. Congrats.

2) Steven Hill (Arkansas)- was one of the final cuts in Portland. I went to their 1st exhibition game at the Rose Garden and saw his ugly mug on the bench. I was shocked. He's probably one of my favorite non-Alabama players the past 5 years.

3) Sonny Weems (Arkansas)- on the Denver Nuggets roster. I never thought he was all that good, but obviously someone thought different. Like Hendrix he gets to keep $442K.

4) Shan Foster (Vanderbilt)- Drafted by the Mavericks... ended up in the Italian League.

5) Joe Crawford (Kentucky)- Drafted by the Lakers... not sure where he is now since he was waived on Oct 22nd.

6) Walter Sharpe (UAB)- I had to add him in here even though he sort of finished up at UAB. He's part of the Detroit Pistons making the league minimum (like Hendrix and Weems).

Monday, November 03, 2008

Crimson 102 White 77

Box Score

I think it's difficult to tell a whole lot about a team by watching a scrimmage, because it's impossible to do well in certain areas without doing poorly in others. Also, remember Justin Jonus put up 30 something points in this game a couple of years, so lets keep some perspective.

That being said, the most encouraging aspect of this game was Senario Hillman's 3 point shot. I spoke to a friend of mine before the scrimmage who has been able to watch a couple of practices, and he told me that Senario has greatly improved his shot. That was evident in the game. More important than his effectiveness, his form appears much improved over last year. He has a good follow through with good rotation, and it's one fluid motion now. I still think he starts at the 2, but my friend said he thinks Hollinger will start at the 2. We shall see.

I posted after the earlier BBQ/practice that Ron Steele looked like the Steele of old. While he didn't appear hurt, he actually looked a little rusty during the scrimmage. Torrance played very well, driving in and creating offense. He's still a little inconsistent on his decision making at times. We have several guys who can and will shoot from the outside. Andrew and Ron Steele, Hillman, Hollinger, Gee, and Brock are all capable of getting hot. It was a very fast paced game with a lot of shots taken from the perimeter. While we shot the ball well, we didn't defend the perimeter at all, and that has been a concern in the past.

I was kind of disappointed in our big men. We missed a lot of shots from close range because nobody wanted to finish strong. Too much finesse on the block, taking shots while moving away from the basket, etc. On the positive side, Yamene actually caught the ball consistently.

Another positive is our free throw shooting. Most of you remember how awful we were in this area last year, but I think we made 41 of 49. In particular, Green has a very nice looking free throw for a big man, so he should be much more effective at the line than Hendrix was last year. We shot a lot of free throws because we committed a lot of fouls. We had 3 players with at least 5 fouls, so this is another area we will need to improve on defensively.

I know it's nitpicking, but one thing that bothered me is that when our guards shoot the ball from the corner, they tend to stand and watch their shot. If the defense gets a rebound, there's a good chance they will have a fast break the other way because our guard is now at the farthest point on the floor from the other basket. If we are in a crash the boards situation, they should follow their shot, otherwise, they need to get back on defense.

Again, it's hard to tell much, but it looks like we will try to get up and down the court more, and shoot more 3's. If everyone has an off night shooting, we could be in trouble, and I fear this could cause us problems on the road.

It's time for my annual rant about the poor marketing of our men's basketball team. Other schools have a midnight madness which creates excitement and is a lot of fun for the students. I recall when Coach Gottfried first came here, he spent a lot of time talking to students in dorms, etc, to convince them to come out and support the team. In previous years we've held several open practices, which allow people in the community to come out and see how hard the guys work and develop an appreciation for all that goes into the team. Some schools have open practices or scrimmages before or after a major football game, when many fans and alumni are in town.

What do we do? We close all but one practice and only allow a select few (who are already donors anyway) to attend that one. We have our intrasquad game at 4pm on a Sunday. I understand not wanting to compete with college football and the homecoming activities on Saturday, but I would imagine a lot of our alumni probably spent Saturday night in Tuscaloosa and returned home Sunday morning. Some of those people probably would have been willing to stick around for a morning or noon tipoff. Of course, I stuck around, but I'm thinking most people from Birmingham had already returned home, and certainly those from farther away did too. It's time we start doing something to market this team to people outside the city of Tuscaloosa.

The first exhibition game is Thursday night, at 7pm against Faulkner. Come out if you can. RTR!

Previews, previews and more previews of your Alabama Crimson Tide and more

Here's 3... take them for what they're worth.

College Hoops Net
Al.com Blog
College Sports Fans

Coaches on the hot seat

I'm focusing my attention this week to the LSU game. Win that one and we essentially clinch a BCS spot (Rose, Sugar, or Orange).