Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gee gouges Georgia... Bama wins 75-70

This game lived up to its billing as an ugly game. If I didn't take a nap this afternoon I could've during this game.

Box score

We didn't allow UGA to get many good shots, played better in transition, and shot the ball well from beyond the arc (Gee and Hillman hit all our 3s). Speaking of Hillman, he hit 3 of 4 3s, but still IMO forces too many shots. Today it worked, but most days it doesn't.

Brock played well at the point... I'm really starting to like him there. Torrance struggled with his shot again, but I did see him making good decisions with the ball. It's also nice to see Jemison getting some PT. He held his own today. Green... what can you say about him... he's bringing it and is becoming a true inside presence on the team.

I like that Pearson isn't scared to play the bench. At one point in the 2nd half he substituted all 5 players on the court. That's something I haven't seen in my 18 years of being an Alabama fan. I give him credit for trying anything to shake things up.

FT shooting continues to suck... and there is no cure in sight for that.

If we get a coach that wants a more up tempo offense we could flourish next season. We got the athletes to make it work... hopefully next year a shooter develops.

UGA stats pack and SEC Power Poll Week 4

The battle of the interim HCs comes to Tuscaloosa. Also, it's a battle of 2 of the bottom dwellers in the SEC.

UGA stats

UGA stinks... there's no getting around that. I watched them a couple of times... most recently against Mississippi State and to say they have no clue on offense is an understatement. They can't shoot, have no real inside presence, and can't hit FTs. Sounds familiar?

The stats:
- 42% FG
- 34% 3PT FG
- 61% FT
- +1.9 rebound margin
- 17.4 turnovers per game

Terrence Woodbury and Trey Thompkins are the only players averaging 10+ PPG on the team. Thompkins is the only real 3 point shooter on the team. Otherwise, not much to worry about from their offense.

Prediction: This game is going to be ugly... real ugly. I believe Torrance shakes his mini slump and leads the way to a 8 point win for Pearson's first win as a HC.

Gametime is 7PM EST (6PM CST) and it's on FSN.

SEC Power Poll week 4

UGA is the unanimous worst team in the SEC according to us bloggers... no surprise there. What surprised me is Tennessee being 4th. I had them 6th.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Change of plans

No court on Monday, which means I get to fly home this weekend and catch the first home game of the Post-Gottfried era! I know, nobody cares, but I'm excited about getting home.

To make this post somewhat relevant and interesting, I note that Bobby Knight's name has been seriously mentioned in some rumors. He was a good coach, and would bring us a lot of publicity, but his best days are way behind him, and he certainly wouldn't be a long term solution. Not to mention the fact that while I find him funny and entertaining, he is a classless jackass that I would not want representing my University. I think we can do better.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pigs Pound Phillip Pearson's Pachyderms

We must be the easiest team in the league to defend. If you put pressure on the ball, we turn it over because we don't have any good, consistent ball handlers at PG. If you sit back in the zone like the Hogs did tonight, we don't have anyone who can shoot. Once again we let the slow white boy go off on us from 3 point range.

Green and Knox had pretty good games, except for the obligatory foul trouble. Anthony Brock is becoming less shy about shooting. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, he took some bad shots but did make a couple of big ones when it appeared things were about to get out of hand.

Two things I thought Pearson did better than Gottfried would have. We made better use of our bench. I might have tried to get Hollinger some more shots against the zone though. I know he's been way off all year, but nobody else was shooting worth a crap either. He also switched to the press a little quicker late in the game to try to get back into, whereas Gottfried probably would have waited an extra minute or two. It almost worked, we cut the lead to 6, but couldn't make the plays to get any closer.

At the end of the day, turnovers, bad shooting, and bad perimeter defense did us in.

Up next, Georgia comes to Coleman Coliseum Saturday for a 6pm tipoff Central time, in a battle of the interim coaches. I'm going to watch my Chicago Blackhawks take on the San Jose Sharks that evening. The hockey game starts right after our game, so hopefully I'll be able to find a sports bar with the NCAA basketball package in close proximity to the Shark tank in San Jose.

Hogs too much down the stretch... wins 89-80

Box score

I thought overall the team played well. Not nearly as many transition baskets given up, the offense did show some signs of life, and the team fought to the very end.

Torrance played well in the 1st half, Knox played well the 2nd half, and Green had his best game of the year. I want to add that Brock looked good at the point.

Gee and Hillman struggled from the field again (Torrance did too in the 2nd half), we let another short white guy go nuts on us (Clarke), and Washington was too much offensively inside for our guys.

The good:
- FT shooting
- Good effort from our big men
- Pearson tried using many players

The bad:
- Arkansas shot over 50%
- "Held" Arkansas to 45% from beyond the arc.
- Guard play wasn't up to snuff

It is what it is... we're a team of athletes with not much shooting ability. We got 2 in the starting lineup that are the same player. If we had a shooter on this team we could be a contender.

Arkansas finally played a decent game (as all opponents seem to do against us). Sadly, their freshmen outplayed our upperclassmen. I can't blame the kids... it's what they've been used to their entire careers.

Arkansas stats pack

They enter this game perfect in the SEC (0-4). It is a road game for us so you're probably thinking what I'm thinking.

Stats (in PDF format)

Michael Washington has been their most consistent player, but he's soooo weak playing inside. Arkansas wins if Fortson plays well... and he's stunk it up so far in SEC play. Welsh and Clarke are the ones to watch beyond the arc.

FG: 45%
3PT FG: 33%
Rebound margin: +5.9
Turnovers: 14.1
Scoring: 76.2
Scoring D: 69.7

Prediction: How does the team respond to a new coach? Is he the same as the old coach? While it was time for Gottfried to be replaced, Pearson IMO is a clone so I don't expect much to change. Maybe I'm wrong. Anyways, we can contain Washington inside with our big men, but I see Fortson having a field day with Welsh draining 3s left and right. Arkansas by 12.

Gametime is 8:05 PM on ESPN.

Note- Arkansas is giving away free tickets to students so it should be even more raucous than normal. Read about it here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jemareo Davidson back in the NBA

I saw a blurb about this in the local paper the other day, but forgot to post it with all excitement concerning the coaching change. Anyway, Jermareo has signed with the Golden State Warriors for the rest of the season. I'll keep an eye on their box scores, and if he's getting some meaningful playing time, I may try to go catch a game.

Link

Closing the chapter on the Mark Gottfried era... final stats

YEAR---OVERALL--SEC---SECT---NCAA
2008-09 ---12-7 --- 2-3
2007-08 ---17-16--- 5-11---1-1
2006-07 ---20-12 -- 7-9----0-1
2005-06 ---18-13 -- 10-6---0-1---- 1-1(10)
2004-05 ---24-8 --- 12-4---1-1---- 0-1 (5)
2003-04 ---20-13 ---8-8---1-1---- 3-1 (8)
2002-03 ---17-12 --- 7-9---0-1----- 0-1 (10)
2001-02 ---27-8 --- 12-4---2-1----- 1-1 (2)
2000-01 ---25-11 --- 8-8---1-1
1999-00 ---13-16 --- 6-10---0-1
1998-99 ---17-15 --- 6-10---1-1

Overall record: 210-131
SEC: 83-82
SECT: 7-10
NCAA: 4-5
SEC Road record: 20-62


Notes
- 1 SEC Regular Season Title
- 1 SEC Tournament Finals
- First Elite 8 in school history (2003-04)

Biggest wins:
- 2/23/02 vs UF (home)- Pettway's GW layup at the buzzer
- 11/14/02 vs Oklahoma (NYC)- upset that propelled us 1 month later to #1
- 12/20/03 vs Oregon (Las Vegas)- last second shot by Winston
- 3/18/04 vs SIU (NCAA)- Pettway saves us from the upset
- 3/20/04 vs Stanford (NCAA)- beat the #1 team in the country in the 2nd round
- 3/25/04 vs Syracuse (NCAA)- beat the defending national champs in the round of 16. 1st ever Elite 8 appearance
- 1/18/05 vs Miss St (home)- beat the tar out of them 98-49. One of the most enjoyable games I've watched as a Bama fan.
- 2/9/05 at Tennessee- marked winning 4 of 5 road SEC games (beat Auburn, Ole Miss, and Arkansas in that stretch)
- 1/14/06 at Kentucky- turned the season around after Chuck Davis' season ending injury vs Ole Miss.
- 3/16/06 vs Marquette (NCAA)- most said we didn't have a chance, yet we controlled the game.
- 11/20/06 vs Xavier (St Thomas)- won the St Thomas shootout (can't remember if that's the correct name).
- 12/23/07 vs Iowa State (Las Vegas)- won the Las Vegas Classic in front of 268 fans.

The bottom line is Mark Gottfried has a nice 5 year run from 2001 to 2006. Even during the 5 straight NCAA tournament bids, we often underachieved and barely made the tournament in 3 of those years (seedings of 8, 10, and 10).

The early and late parts of his coaching career here stunk... bad. No way around that. We give him a pass on his early years, but the last 3 are almost a mirror of his first 3.

Mark Gottfried will find another HC job... just not in the next couple of years. He would be best served to take an assistant job with one of his coaching buddies. I suggest he move the family to Philadelphia where he can learn from Jay Wright and get a feel for competition at its best.

I'm not going to thank him for the job he did because IMO he never adjusted or took suggestions on how to make the program better... not to mention he was paid a ton of money for mediocre at best results. I do wish him future success... if he allows himself to absorb different approaches to coaching he could find his way back to being the head honcho at a mid major. For him to ascend to a Big 6 conference job it'll take him at least 5 years of understudying.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fantasy short term HC candidates and bailouts

If the University wants to make a "splash" nationally with this next hire, here's a list of 5... uh 6 current and former successful HCs they should call.

1) Bobby Knight- his name alone would bring fans to Coleman. His players will hustle, play fundamentally sound basketball, and the best part... we'd be all over the media.

2) Nolan Richardson- imagine 40 minutes of hell in Tuscaloosa. We have the athletes to make it work.

3) PJ Carlisimo- he took Seton Hall to the '89 title game with a mediocre squad and bought and paid for an Aussie 3 point shooting machine.

4) Bill Laimbeer- we can say we hired a coach from a professional league! Yes it's the WNBA, but someone pays them to play so there. Dirty picks, rough play = RATINGS BABEE!

5) Digger Phelps- he beat UCLA a hundred years ago! Just think of the ESPN coverage we'd get by bringing him in. He can bring in Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis as assistants.

6) Bobby Cremins- want a pipeline to NYC talent? He's your man... just don't question how he got them. He'd bring in a tough minded guard or 2 for sure.

Bailout
Since everyone and their mother is asking for government assistance I think the state of Alabama should hit the government up for $50 million for basketball. It's a far better plan than "bailing out" the banks that foolishly lent money to people who couldn't afford it. Here's my state of Alabama stimulus plan:

1) Give 80% of the money to Alabama and Auburn. Divvy the rest between UAB and the other minor schools.

2) Each university has to transfer that money to their basketball program. The easiest way is to buy up unsold tickets.

3) Designate game days for different types of customers. Have a "family day" when tickets are comped for families... meaning parent(s)/child(ren). Another day can be termed "hook up night" where single people are let in free.

4) The extra people at the games will buy more concessions which offsets the ticket prices. Talk about a local way to stimulate the economy! This would help Auburn rid themselves of the curtain and the upper bowels of Coleman Coliseum would actually have people up there.

Not to get political, but these government bailouts are really getting on my nerves. Businesses that don't do business the right way should go under and not be propped up by government. Businesses that sell products the consumer don't want should fail... not be given more money to build more products people don't want.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gott-fired

Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News is reported that Coach Gottfried will be relieved of his duties this week. No announcement has been made, but it is expected Phillip Pearson will be named interim coach.

Thank You Coach Gottfried for your service. I appreciate what you did as a player AND as a coach here. You renewed interest in the basketball program after the Hobbs era, graduated your players, ran a class program, and took us to the Elite 8. I'm sad that things did not work out, but I think we all knew this change needed to be made. I wish Coach Gottfried future success.

I'm not crazy about hiring Pearson as interim. With the SEC being down, there is the possibility that we could go on a run and then some numbskulls will get the bright idea to keep him around.

I've heard rumors that we have already been pursuing another coach over the last few weeks. I wonder if the timing of this means we already have someone lined up.

At any rate, firing a coach is never a good thing. It means things are not going well. It's a necessary step, but it creates instability and could certainly have a negative effect on recruiting, at least in the short term.

Here's hoping the team can pull together and salvage something this season, while we hopefully hire the best candidate possible as a replacement.

Let's pack the house for the rest of the season, regardless of the team's record or who the interim coach is. We need to show potential coaches out there that we can be passionate about basketball! There is nothing to boycott now. RTR!

It's going down right now

As reported by the Birmingham News. My guess is they will let him finish the season, but he will go ahead and announce his resignation effective at the end of year.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

SEC Power Poll Week 3, how I think the East and West shape up, and some randomness

First off, this week's SEC Power Poll

I believe the East is a 3 team race of Kentucky, Florida, and South Carolina. Tennessee is in turmoil as they flip flop on either not playing defense or not putting the ball in the basket. As far as NCAA invitations go, 3 of the 4 teams listed should make the tournament.

The west is a cluster(bad word). Miss State and LSU seem to be the front runners, but look out for Auburn... yes Auburn as they're in the mix as well. Only one from the west makes the tournament. Heck it might be a big fat zero.

Barring a miracle, Mark Gottfried is going to be replaced at the end of this season. We all know that. Who replaces him is up for debate. Another debate is where exactly does Alabama stand in regards to national attention in hoops. I'm going to go through the big 6 conferences and place us where I think we'd be.

ACC: Alabama is on par with Clemson. Clemson is the 6th best job in the ACC. UNC, Duke, Wake, GA Tech, and Maryland rank above us.

Big East: Alabama is about the prestige of Providence right now. Providence IMO is about the 10th best job in the Big East. UConn, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, Louisville, Pitt, Marquette, and Cincy are more prestigious jobs.

Big 10: Closest comparison... Wisconsin. That's 6th best. I wish we had the consistency of Wisconsin. Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, and Iowa are above us.

Big 12: job profile compares to Missouri. Both schools have some historic success, but nothing "wowing." That would be 5th best in the Big 12. Only Kansas, Oklahoma, OSU, and Texas are better jobs.

PAC-10: Cal would be the best comparative job... minus a Jason Kidd or Shaeriff Abdul-Rahim (sp?) coming through the Capstone the last 15 years. 5th best. UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, and Washington are better jobs. You can debate either way Stanford and Washington... I give both the benefit due to Stanford's tourney success and Washington being in a great location.

SEC: Historically we're 2nd all-time in the SEC, over the past 15 years we're middle of the pack. That would put us with Vanderbilt. That's 6th. As of now, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas are more prestigious programs.

Why did I go through all of that? I want to temper expectations on who we as a fan base should target for HC. We can hit a "home run" with the next coaching hire, but it won't be because we brought in the Nick Saban of basketball. I HOPE we find a Billy Donovan type gem. We might end up with Stan Heath II or a Ron Jursa. Who knows... what I do know is there are going to be a good amount of HC jobs available and I'm not naive enough to think we'll be #1 on every potential coach's list. I just hope that whoever we hire the fan base rallies around him at least for a couple of years.

Regardless, next season will bring some hope to a fan base that desperately needs it.

Last thing... I hate Tennessee. They have cost me 2 streaks in the Streak for Cash contest on ESPN. First it was losing at home to Gonzaga and now it's Memphis. Thanks Viles... I hope you lose every freaking game the rest of the season!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cats Clamp Down on Crimson

Everyone knows Jody Meeks is one of the best players in the SEC. He got his points, but overall we did a pretty good job defensively on him. Senario played great defense as did Andrew in the halfcourt, but he burned us a few times in transition, and made some tough shots. Overall, we played pretty good on defense. Our offense was pathetic. As good as Senario was on defense, he was putrid on offense. In the first half, it seemed like our offense was to get the ball to Senario on the wing and let him take a contest fade-away from about 15 feet. He was 1 for 8 at one point. Part of this is due to the fact that nobody else could get open. We are one of the worst screening teams in the country, and our spacing is horrible.

There were two key calls that went against us. The first was the technical on Gottfried that followed that a blown call. The ref baited CMG while the other ref called the technical from the other side of the court. The other came late in the game when Senario Hillman was fouled from behind after a steal on a breakaway, there was no call, and Kentucky got an easy basket at the other end. Nevertheless, we had a few calls go our way too, and a decent team should be able to overcome those types of calls, especially at home.

Once again we were awful late in the game. Once UK got the lead up by more than two possessions, we had no composure. We started taking bad, contested shots early in the shotclock, and this allowed the Cats to stretch the lead out to 9. Kentucky made some bad mistakes late in the game that could have let us back in the game, but we wasted our opportunities. Free throw shooting continues to be awful.

Torrance did not have a good game at all. He is much better in transition, but we were forced to play more of a slow paced, halfcourt game. On the positive side, our big men did a good job of defending Patterson. It's hard to win when you can't score, turn the ball over, and can't make a free throw. Kentucky plays as good on defense as anyone we will see.

Congrats to a decent Kentucky team, they may be the best the SEC has to offer this year, and I hope they go on to have a great season. Our thoughts and prayers are with their player who suffered some sort of medical emergency at the start of the second half.

Up next, we travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on the Razorbacks Thursday night at 8pm Central Time. It will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2. Arkansas has big wins over Oklahoma and Texas, but is struggling against SEC teams, losing today at home to a bad auburn team by more than 20 points. I suspect they will get their first conference win against us.

Kentucky pulls away late (as I predicted). Beats Bama 61-51

Box score

The good:
- Again, a great half court defensive effort
- Coleman and Brock produced off the bench
- Held Patterson in check

The bad:
- turnovers... we had a bunch of them
- FT shooting late. Could've made it interesting if we made them.
- transition defense (AGAIN!)

Torrance was AUful today and to CMG's credit he actually pulled him for Brock who at times played well. What I don't get is why Green continues to get away with lollygagging back on defense. He was the victim of at least 4 transition breakdowns. Why is Jemison on the bench when our big men (Green and Knox) get continually beat down the court?

Ahhh mush!! this team isn;t going anywhere... except to the bottom of the SEC West. Speaking of bottom, we go to Fayetteville next to play the 0-4 Razorbacks Thursday. Maybe, just maybe we'll win on the road... maybe not.

From the "Coleman Campground" To This?

Not many years ago the students set up tents three nights before the Kentucky game so they could get the best seats in the Marks Madness Section. Today there might have been 10,000 people in the gym. Kentucky always has been a thorn in Bama's side. Today they almost thwarted us by losing the game and leaving some potential question of whether our coach should be replaced. Fortunately they hit their free throws down the stretch while we missed our dunks and lay ups. Hopefully that means we won't have to suffer this sort of indiscretion for another season. The Tide's fundamental unsoundness cost it the game in a hard fought effort against a mediocre Kentucky team. The officiating was suspect but the better team won; as did the better coach. Thankfully I won't have to watch any more of these debacles in person this season.

Come on, Mal, do the right thing and do it now.

Kentucky stats pack

The surging Wildcats come into Tuscaloosa for a pivotal game (at least for us).
Stats

Meeks comes in leading the world in scoring... OK, he's tops in the SEC (26.3) with Patterson (18.0) being a more than able supporting cast member. Who's gonna stop them?

I'm going to give some different stats than I normally do:
- 75.3 PPG (3rd SEC)
- 50% FG (1st)
- 82.5% FT (1st)
- 6.8 blocks (1st)
- 13.8 assists (3rd)

57% of their offense comes from Meeks and Patterson. If we could somehow shut down one of them we could pull the upset. I think we have a better chance shutting down Meeks... I don't see anyone on our team capable of handling Patterson down low.

Prediction: I think we hang tough with them. If the team isn't jacked about this game there is something wrong with them. In the end though, Kentucky creates a bunch of turnovers and pulls away late. Cats by 13.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Steele Says Injury Not His Reason For Leaving

Ron Steel said his injury was not the reason he decided to leave the team. Tide Sports reports that Ron Steele claims his ankle was not the reason for his departure. Although Ron refused to say he had a conflict with the coaches (or with the head coach in particular), that seems to be just about the only thing a person could reasonably could read between the lines. I suppose the full story will come to light before too long, but for now the tension builds.

Torrance, Gee, lead Bama past Ole Miss 76-73

Box score

Considering all the bad news surrounding the Ronald Steele departure, I thought the team played well under the circumstances. Torrance hit all our our 3s (5-8), Gee non-stop hustled, Jemison with 4 blocks off the bench, and Hillman dishing 6 assists... wow. Yes I realize Ole Miss isn't good, but they brought it and we held on for the win.

The good:
- 55% FG
- Shut down everyone except Huertas
- Brock in limited action was better than expected

The bad:
- Huertas went off
- 65% FT... got to do better than that

I like the way the team played today. They really seemed to move the ball around better than they have all year. I'd like to see more of this.

Ole Miss stats pack

Fresh from a beatdown from LSU (at home no less), Andy Kennedy leads his 1 legged team into Coleman for what should be a memorable game (of ineptitude).

Ole Miss stats (note that this is conference only stats)

I watched the game against LSU... or at least parts of it. I was not impressed. Huertas seems to be where the offense goes through, but he struggled. Terrico White is a true freshman that can put up points, but so far has been inconsistent. In conference play he's their leading rebounder. Holloway is another freshman to watch, although I think between Green and Knox they'll eat his lunch.

The stats:
- 41% FG
- 31% 3PT FG
- 67% FT
- +4.3 rebound margin
- 15.7 turnovers a game

Prediction: two bad teams enter... one bad team wins. The better bad team is Alabama... by 11. I think it'll be close for a while as the players are still feeling the effects of no Ronald Steele on the team. There's no TV for this one so you can either listen here or follow via Yahoo.com gametracker (I prefer it over ESPN).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ronald Steele elects to end his Alabama career

Plantar fasciiltis is the last straw. Or was it something else? Regardless, I feel bad for the kid.
From al.com blog

Good luck to him in his future endeavors.

Objectivity aside... IMO RS was run into the ground a couple years ago. Being the gamer, he tried to play through injuries in 2007 and probably hurt himself more. It's sad his career had to end like this...

From Pat Forde's article on ESPN.com

Thought everyone would like this...

Taking applications for someone capable of dissuading Kimber Kennedy, wife of Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy, from filing her you-cannot-be-serious lawsuit in Cincinnati last week against the cab driver and valet who alleged that Andy Kennedy struck the cabbie and directed racial slurs at him last month. Andy Kennedy was arrested, and Kimber Kennedy's suit alleged that the trauma resulting from the arrest has led to a "lack of consortium." Or, in plain English, it's damaged the Kennedys' sex life. The Minutes' press secretary would gently try to convince Kimber, "THIS IS NOT HELPING." Call a sex therapist, hon. Do not give even more ammo to every student section in the SEC. (In fact, The Minutes has been apprised of a potential sign when Ole Miss visits rival Mississippi State later this month in Humphrey Coliseum, known as The Hump. "Hey Kennedy, glad you came to Hump. We heard it's been a while.")

Cully Payne for Mr. Basketball in Illinois?

As a fan of Chicago's pro sports teams, I keep an eye on the Tribune and Sun-Times. Here is a good blog about UA signee Cully Payne. There is a lot of talent in Illinois, so just being mentioned for this award is a great accomplishment for him.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Random stuff- Realistic top 5 coaches to replace our HC, Smoltz to the Red Sox, and more

As we all know the end is near for CMG as coach here, I decided to think long and hard about 5 realistic current HC that would come here and would be a good fit/upgrade.

1) Anthony Grant (VCU)- he was from all reports to be the next Gator HC until Eddie Munster had a change of heart and came back. He seems to be the most popular amongst Alabama basketball fans. Me... I see him as a risk, but I'd be happy if we got him.

2) Brad Stevens (Butler)- he inherited a great situation from Todd Lickliter (who left for Iowa) winning 30 games last year. I think he's a up and coming HC, but my worry is he could be a Stan Heath in waiting... meaning he could be at his peak right now. He is in his 2nd year as HC at Butler.

3) Seth Greenberg (Virginia Tech)- he's an interesting one as winning there is somewhat of a miracle especially being in the ACC. He coaches up his players... he has to. He's a 2 time ACC coach of the year. The downside... I think he's happy there, but it won't hurt to gauge his interest.

4) Tubby Smith (Minnesota)- obviously the man can coach, but can he bring in top notch players? He didn't do too well at Kentucky and he's coaching someone else's kids at Minnesota so that's a valid point. He did have success at Tulsa and UGA so maybe his niche is a school with a basketball 2nd approach.

5) Scott Drew (Baylor)- he's ressurrected a program that was Auburn bad into a top 25 team. Of the 5, I feel the most comfortable with him as he covers all the things I'm looking for: good evaluator of talent, exciting offense, and can rebuild/reload a program.

Mind you, I'm also alright with hiring a high ranking assistant coach from a top tier program. When I say top tier I'm talking UNC, UConn, Kansas, UCLA, Pitt, and other teams in that realm. I failed to mention Duke... their former assistants (Amaker, Snyder) haven't done so well as HCs

John Smoltz to the Red Su... uh Sox
While my Yankees spend the GDP of Cuba on three overpriced players (CC, Burnett, and Teixeria), the Red Sox get one of the best big game pitchers of this generation for $5 million (performance could double his salary). Great move by the Sox... if Smoltz is ready by June (and he should be) it deepens their already deep rotation. While the Yankees sign the "wow" names, the Red Sox use their financial savy to get IMO the steal of free agency.

Alabama stats compared to the nation
From statsheet.com (a great website to research teams). I pulled the offensive side.
RPI- 134
SOS- 115
Offense- 100 (9th SEC)
Assists- 317 (last SEC)
Rebounds- 21st (3rd SEC)
FG%- 158 (9th SEC)

We're 0-4 vs the top 100 RPI.

The state of the SEC
When the polls come out later today it will still be void of any SEC team (for the 2nd straight week). That's embarrassing. Florida probably gets in there next week providing they don't slip up, but if they do it could be another couple of weeks before Kentucky saves us from this embarrassment. SEC basketball = Big East football right now.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bobby Jack, Your Banner Line is Fraudulent

We don't play basketball. We have a program but no one would call what we are doing right now "basketball."

The good news is the Pro Tour Cycling season starts Monday with The Tour Down Under. The Aussie course is completely flat so there will be no real excitement on the open road absent a weather anomaly. There will be an exciting sprint to end each day and I won't be watching what presently passes for Alabama Basketball.

Doggone it, this is a sad, sad day for me.

SEC Power Poll- Week 2

I know... where's week one? Well, by the time I realized it was posted it was almost the following week. Anyways, this is a compliation of SEC bloggers (including myself).

1. Kentucky, 111
2 (t). Florida, 102
2 (t). Tennessee 102
4. LSU, 78
5. South Carolina, 73
6. Mississippi State, 72
7. Vanderbilt, 70
8. Arkansas, 60
9. Alabama, 44
10. Ole Miss, 26
11. Auburn, 25
12. Georgia, 12

Link (and comments)

This Embarassment Has To Be Stopped!

Alabama has lost four of its last five games against an api team that has been among the weakest fielded in the SEC in the past 15 years. There is no excuse for that sort of "performance." Only one person can be held accountable and he should be held accountable as soon as possible. Two years ago is too late for me! I'm glad I went for a bicycle ride instead of listening to that fiasco on the radio. Mark Gottfried, you should be ashamed of yourself for what you have done to our once proud program!

Edit (bobbyjack)- had to add the box score to this fiasco. At least Torrance played well (again).

Auburn stats pack

Here you go.

Prediction: We're like 1-17 in our last 18 road games. While this on paper might be the winnestable (is that even a word?) until we actually win one on the road I can't go against the numbers. Auburn by 8.

Listen online here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Miss St hot shooting in the 2nd half downs Tide

A more competitive game than what I thought.
Box score

I missed the 2nd half of the 2nd half (final 10 minutes) so I can't comment on it. I can comment on the play of Mikhail Torrance. He was finally freed from the bench and played big time! I've been touting him every since the Tennessee game in 2007 where we lost in OT. Hopefully this solidifies him as a major contributor going forward. I said he should've started from the get-go, but that's another topic for another day.

Green also played a solid game with a double-double.

Sorry for the concise recap... not feeling all that great.

Miss St stats pack

They come in fired up after upsetting Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Season stats

Stats
- 46% FG
- 37% 3PT FG
- 69% FT
- roughly 9 blocks per game
- 16 turnovers per game

I have to believe Stewart and Bost don't drain 3s like they did in Fayetteville. Then again, history has shown we are terrible defending beyond the arc so who knows. Varnado might get a triple-double as we have no one that can match up with him inside on either end of the floor.

Prediction: Pain... and lots of it. With no real PG getting time (free Mikhail Torrance!) I see a sloppy game on our end and a possible blowout. I hope I'm wrong, but my gut feeling is Mississippi State by 20.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Steele doubtful for MSU game

From the coach's mouth.

Maybe Torrance might see the court... I doubt it. Our coach will find a way to squeeze 35 minutes out of Hollinger.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I hate Mississippi State

I hate Mi$$i$$ippi $tate. I loathe them. I despise everything about them, including, but not limited to, the following:

I hate their colors.
I hate their cheers. "Maroon....white, Go, State...Go state" real creative there, guys.
I hate Starkville. What a craphole of a town.
I hate their fight song.
I hate their band.
I hate the fact that their band only knows one song, and plays it over and over.
I hate their coach.
I hate their coach's wife and her painted on face. What kind of a name Meo, anyway?
I hate their coach's obnoxious kids.
I hate their arena. The hump? More like, the dump.
I hate the way they sign kids from the Northeast who don't even know the coach's name.
I hate Mario Austin, Zimmerman, and Walter Sharpe, I don't care if he transferred.

I hate the guy who signed with an agent but came back to play for M$U anyway. Big guy, was a transfer from Baylor if I recall correctly, can't think of his name right now.

I hate the way they avoid NCAA infractions for the above obvious violations because even NCAA investigators don't want to have to spend any time in Starkville to investigate.

I hate their crop-duster flyovers.

I hate the entire state of Mississippi. The only purpose it serves is to make the drive to New Orleans inconvenient.

I hate their mascot. He's an UGA wannabe. The real bulldogs reside to our East.

I hate cowbells.

I hate their inferiority complex. Of course, being a second rate school to freakin' Ole Miss, I guess it's understandable. Ole Miss is second rate to everyone else in the country, and State doesn't even match up to them.

I hate the way those dumbasses route traffic after football games. They play in a glorified high school stadium, and it still takes 3 hrs to get out of there because they only open up one road leading out of campus.

I hate their radio announcers. They sound like they could kick the bucket at any moment.

I hate their Public Address Announcer who does both football and basketball games. He sounds like a prepubescent boy with a nasal cold.

Most of all, I hate their retarded, inbred, obnoxious, redneck fans. On second thought, I take that back...comparing obnoxious retarded rednecks to $tate fans is insulting to obnoxious, retarded, inbred, rednecks everywhere. I've been to every SEC school...Only place I've come close to getting into a physical altercation? Starkville. Only place where I've seen 70 yr old white trash bitches get into my gf's face and try to start something? Starkville.

Da, Da Daaa DAAAAAAA... STATE...SUCKS, STATE SUCKS!

I won't get to see the game Wednesday night, but I hope we kick their ass.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tide Titillates Tigers

but the zebras gave us the game. Thank God home cooking is alive an well in the SEC - at least for one more afternoon.

The hustle was good, the effort excellent and the defense formidable in the first half. Ron Steele still is not his old self. No one is sure whether he still suffers from physical limitations or whether his obstacles are all mental or some combination of the two. But tonight even his shot evaded him. Bama hit only two shots outside the arc. Ron was one for six and Andrew hit the other. Ron missed all but one of his chip shots in this game too. Let's hope he just had a cold night.

Gee has been an rebounding and defending machine. Hillman and Andrew Steele took turns playing the part of the lock down defender. Both were most successful in the first half. Hillman continues to put on on offensive show. Tut he got out of control several times in the second half, probably because no one else on the team could buy a bucket.

LSU cut Bama's lead to within a basket several times in the second half, the last one coming just before one of the "no calls" that definitely helped Alabama win this game. The Tiger guard had crossed mid court and was in the process of setting up a play when Hillman got a hand on the ball. If my memory serves me well, he got a clean touch on the ball but when he bumped his opponent's body while going for the lose ball that action resulted in the other player's not being able to retrieve it cleanly. Not being able to secure the ball gave Hillman the opportunity to steal it and draw another foul as he laid it in for two points. Perhaps the official did not see the body contact. Perhaps he thought SEC teams are supposed to benefit from those sorts of calls at home. I never would have seen it if I had been in Coleman Coliseum. I still think that was the game winning call. The good news is that the Tide did not wilt down the stretch when the game still was theirs to lose.

Alabama won a game they deserately needed to win at home. They played much better defense in the first half than they have exhibted for several years. They still have time to improve and many areas where they can focus. Perhaps they will be a good team before the season is over. At the very least, the coach finally learned that they need to play half court defense. Now if he can teach them to get back in transition and hire a hypnotist to program some sort of a half court offense into their brains they could make a real run toward the end of the year.

Gee a man possessed... leads Bama to win over LSU

Gee was fliying all over the court, putting up another double-double and playing exceptional defense. His FG percentage wasn't good, but he did other things to make a difference today. 65-59 is your final.

Box score

The good:
- Gee's hustle
- Hillman driving the ball
- Shut down Mitchell and Temple
- Forced 17 turnovers

The bad:
- Hillman shooting the ball
- Ronald Steele was non-existent (again)
- Piss poor FT and 3 PT shooting

Some observations:
- Transition defense really sucks. Seriously, they couldn't cover me and 4 guys from my neighborhood.
- Little motion on offense. It's pretty much freelancing which is pretty damn sad.
- Hillman can amaze you and disgust you in a period of one minute.
- Ronald Steele isn't the PG he used to be. It's time to move him to the 2 guard slot and let someone else run the point.
- Free Mikhail Torrance! You mean to tell me that Hollinger and Andrew Steele are better than him? No freaking way... and I've watched all three of them play. He either did something to CMG or is hurt. Those are the only 2 options.
- Free Jemison as well. How do you go from a starter to not seeing the court?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

LSU stats pack

Fresh from a beatdown in Utah, the LSU Tigers come into Tuscaloosa looking to turn things around. Here's their season stats.

I'm kind of surprised Chris Johnson isn't scoring like he did a couple of years ago, but he's cleaning the boards and that might be his role on this team.

Stats:
- 46% FG
- 40% 3PT FG
- 71% FT
- 12 turnover per game
- +8.3 rebound margin

They're going to give us fits inside and on the boards. We reeeally need Knox and Green to stay out of foul trouble if we're to stay in the game. Either that or we somehow hit 50% from beyond the arc.

Garrett Temple is a matchup problem for Steele. I assume Hillman gets him defensively. Tasmin Mitchell is 2nd on the team in scoring and rebounding and could pose problems inside. Obviously we're going to key in on Marcus Thornton as he's their go to guy. Let me rephrase that, I assume we key in on Thornton.

Prediction: The matchup on paper doesn't look good, but then you look at their losses and close wins and see they haven't hit their stride yet. They will though... just not Sunday as Bama wins by 6. I think Steele wills us to victory.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Fandom, random rant on the B(C)S Championship game, and rumors

Fandom
Is it possible to completely lose interest in a team and sport because the team you followed have sucked for so long you find other things to occupy yourself with? For me, it happened with the NY Islanders and the NHL last season. I grew up a baseball fan first, college hoops 2nd, and hockey 3rd, but the continued suckiness of the NY Islanders pushed me away from the NHL altogether. I have to admit that hockey over time fell further down the list of sports I care about... they might've been 7th (college football, NFL, boxing, and tennis) by the time I cut bait. Management continually put together a band of misfits and called it progress. I called it a steaming pile of garbage.

I worry sometimes that the casual fans of our hoops program might do what I did with Hockey. I guess the difference is hockey has been relegated to a 5th tier sport while college hoops is still a major player in a sports fan's life.

BCS
I turned the game off in the 4th quarter. I had zero interest in who won as IMO the 2 best teams in the country did not play each other. One of them resides in Los Angeles and the other is an upstart that demolished us in the Sugar. Heck, Texas has a gripe too... even though they struggled with tOSU. Regardless, most of the time we'll have to settle for a MNC instead of settling it on the field. College basketball has it right... college football is still in the stone ages.

Rumors
I'll be short and sweet about this... CMG should be fired for being a mediocre HC not for some off the court rumor. IMO I believe some are making their attacks personal since critiquing his coaching performance hasn't gotten the desired results (fired). Like the attacks on his wife last season I think they're uncalled for.

I believe this situation is similar to what Houston Nutt went through in his final year at Arkansas. He was so despised by a certain portion of the fan base that they did and said anything to (successfully) force him out.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Tigers tame the Tide

We played better than most of us expected. We had the lead for a good part of the first half, and even lead briefly early in the second half, before falling behind by 15 and making it respectably close again in the final moments.

I watched the game in a sports bar, and missed the first 8 minutes due to Fox Sports' poor scheduling and the UGA-Ga. Tech game running late. Thankfully, that game did not go into overtime. I don't feel like I can tell as much by watching a game on TV because often times you cannot see all 10 players on the court. So, my observations on this one may be even more off the mark than normal.

I thought our halfcourt defense was excellent. We seemed to communicate well and handle their screens, and most importantly we did a great job defending the perimeter. We kept Oglesby in check, and he went off on us last year. Our bigs did a pretty good job of stepping out and playing defense away from the basket when necessary. There was a key stretch in the 2nd half when it seemed like we couldn't get a defensive rebound, but otherwise, we were solid on defense. At times in the first half I thought we were slow getting back and gave up a couple of easy baskets.

We still had trouble getting the ball inbounds and breaking the press at times, but we were much better in this area than we were against them last year. Offensively, we looked timid and just could not get anything going. Ron Steele stopped looking for his shot after the first half. Hillman, Gee, and especially Hollinger took a lot of bad shots. Hillman getting in foul trouble really hurt us offensively. Andrew Steele was great on defense, but he just isn't ready to be a solid, consistent contributor on offense yet. Again, I wonder why Torrance is not playing. It looked to me like our big men were not getting into position to get the ball in the post, which put a lot of pressure on our guards. We were able to beat them off the dribble most of the time, but had a hard time finishing around the basket.

The good news is that when we fell down by 15 with a few minute remaining, we continued to scrap and made it a game. We actually had a couple of chances to make it close, but we made bad decisions and turned the ball over. Last year, when we fell down double digits to these guys, we got ran out of our own gym.

There were several key possessions where we made bad decisions offensively that really hurt us. With a 1 point lead early in the second half, we took quick 3's with no rebounders under the basket, two possessions in a row. At one point during our scoring drought we had a 4 on 1 and ended up missing two shots from the perimeter and not scoring. With about a minute to play and down only 6, Hollinger tried to drive in and turned the ball over, when he had a wide open Ron Steele on the wing. That was probably our last shot at getting back in the game. I like Hollinger, but he had an awful game tonight.

I said earlier in the year that I thought we relied too much on the perimeter shot, and it would be difficult to win that way on the road. We've got to get some production in the paint if we are going to be competitive in these types of games. With the hostile crowd, travel, and different shooting backgrounds, it's difficult for most teams consistently make jump shots on the road.

Clemson is a solid team, but they did not play their best game. Their missed free throws and missed 3 point shots allowed us to come back and make it a game. Given how bad the SEC looks, that is probably the toughest team we will face the rest of the year, and we played them a good game.

Up next, the LSU Tigers will get us started in SEC play at 12:30 Central Time, Sunday afternoon. This is a big game in the SEC West, and I hope the Sunday start time won't hurt attendance too bad. It's also a big recruiting weekend for football, though I don't know if the prospects will still be around at that point. Unfortunately, I will not be there. I'm thinking the odds of me finding a sports bar on the west coast that will be open at 10:30 am on a Sunday to show an Alabama-LSU basketball game is probably not very good. I'm hoping to catch it on the internet. If you're going to the game, make a little extra noise to pick up my slack.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tide Tests Tigers, Tempt Fate Too Many Times

Bama suffered an eight minute scoring drought and hit only one three in the second half but still played Clemson tough. After leading most of the first half and briefly in the second, Alabama lost to the Tigers by a mere seven points on Clemson's home court.

Bama quit against Clemson at home last year, but this year they pushed them to the wire. Gottfried probably coached his best game of the season. The bad calls were not all one sided, but the officials were about as predictable tonight as CMG's substitution "pattern." Given the Tide's lack of depth, the tight calls hurt them more during the brief stretches where the whistles got hot. Beyond that, Clemson did not benefit any more than a home team really should be expected to enjoy.

Alabama's defense was improved and they moved the ball around much better tonight too. Unfortunately they could not hit their open shots. They also handed the Clemson pressure pretty well, most of their turnovers coming in their half court offense.

Even in a loss this game should be a confidence builder for the team. The effort and focus were good the entire game. Everyone played pretty good defense and the defensive intensity did not diminish during the scoring dry spells. I feel better about the team's remaining chances after this game than I did after the Georgia Tech win.

Bama hosts LSU this Sunday. The students are back on campus. Let's hope they show up in droves. It also is a big football recruiting weekend.

Transition D still sucks, Clemson holds off Bama...

... I lost count how long we went between FGs in the 2nd half. I think I was up to 9 minutes. Anyways, we played well in the 1st half, but didn't hit shots in the 2nd.

Box score

The good:
- Half court D was solid
- Full court press created turnovers
- Shut down Booker and Oglesby
- Never quit even down by 14 late in the 2nd half. Cut it down to 6 w/ under a minute to play.

The bad:
- Couldn't throw the ball in the ocean
- Transition defense as bad as I've seen under CMG (and that's saying something!)
- Abysmal from 3 point land

We lost to a much better team, but a team that played miserably against us. These are the type of games you steal on the road. I'm all for moral victories if we played well and lost... that did not happen tonight.

A couple of other notes:
1) Ronald Steele needs to move to the 2 spot. He possesses the PG mentality, but no longer has the skill. He has a hard time penetrating and routinely gets burnt by the opposing PG. I said he should've been moved there at the beginning of the season.
2) Brandon Hollinger cannot hit a 3 from the new line. Actually, most of his shots aren't even close.
3) Mikhail Torrance must have kicked Gottfried's dog. That's the only reason why he's not playing.
4) Gee continues to take at best questionable shots.
5) All of the above falls on the head of the head coach. No corrections 14 games into the season and don't expect it to happen this year.

As I write this, the preseason 6th best team in the West (Arkansas) is 22.5 seconds away from beating their 2nd top 10 team in a week. Which coach would you rather have?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Clemson stats pack, revised SEC predictions, and current SEC RPI rankings

We travel to Littlejohn Coliseum to play the #12 ranked (and undefeated) Clemson Tigers. I hear they might be a pretty good team. Here's Clemson's stats pack.

A few years ago they were undefeated, but ended up in the Not Invited Tournament after tanking in the ACC. I don't think that'll be the case this year. They've got some impressive wins at Illinois, South Carolina, Miami, and Charlotte. We on the other hand have some impressive road/neutral site wins over... nobody.

The stats:
- 50% FG
- 37.5 3PT FG
- 69% FT
- +3.8 rebound margin
- almost 7 blocked shot per game

Trevor Booker is going to give us fits inside despite being a smallish PF (6'7"). He's their leading rebounder and one of the leaders in FG percentage (58%). K.C. Rivers is their leading scorer. I assume Hillman gets him defensively. Delmontez Stitt (the 1st time I saw that name I read it wrong and laughed) will push Steele at the point. He's lightning quick.

Prediction: I know everyone's thinking this will be a Clemson blowout, but they did somewhat struggle with East Carolina so there's some hope. Not a whole lot of hope, but there's a glimmer. Saying that, we know if Alabama gets down double digits in the 2nd half we tend to fold like a cheap tent. I say we keep it close for a half and then comes the pain. Clemson by 15.

SEC Predictions (revised)
As the non-conference slate comes to an end I think I've seen enough of every team in the SEC to try this again (g).

SEC East
1) Tennessee (11-5)- they seem to have defensive lapses, but lucky them that most teams in the SEC don't play offense.
2) Kentucky (10-6)- like last year, SEC play is just what the doctor needs.
3) South Carolina (10-6)- the surprise of the east so far... winning at Baylor impressed me.
4) Florida (9-7)- all the talent in the world, but it hasn't come together for them as of yet. Maybe they hit their stride and compete with Tennessee, but I doubt it.
5) Vanderbilt (6-10)- if they were in the west they'd be better. I can't see them splitting with Tenn, UF, and Kentucky.
6) UGA (4-12)- Dennis Felton is a good coach... at the wrong job. I don't think his hard core discipline works in Athens. He'll be back with a mid major and recapture success.

SEC West
1) Arkansas (11-5)- Fortson seems to be the real deal. Weren't they picked last in the SEC West. A scary enthusiastic young team.
2) LSU (9-7)- win out at home and steal one on the road. Their size is going to cause problems in the west.
3) Auburn (7-9)- probably not good enough to save his job. Like Felton he's a good coach in a bad job.
4) Alabama (7-9)- if we play like we did against Ga Tech I'd flip the record. I tend to go with the body of work instead of abnormalities.
5) Ole Miss (6-10)- injuries decimated this team. They'll lose a lot of close games.
6) Miss St (6-10)- Stewart and Varnado have to play well EVERY GAME for them to win. That's a lot of pressure.

SEC RPI
I realize this is from Dec 30th, but I wanted to put this out there.
Tennessee: 29
Florida: 66
Kentucky: 76
Ole Miss: 79
Vanderbilt: 83
Arkansas: 96
LSU: 103
Auburn: 110
South Carolina: 157
Mississippi State: 184
UGA: 189
Alabama: 235

Looking at the SEC West and the non-conference slate, the most impressive win was Arkansas' home win over the Sooners. Auburn's road win at UVA sadly is 2nd best.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Thirty Two Good Minutes And Eight That Were Not So Good

Bobby Jack and DJC have said most of what needs to be said about today's game (including DJC's plagiarizing my planned title for this entry), so I'll offer a suggested explanation for Gottfried's substitution "pattern" at this point of the season. We appear to have 7 or perhaps 8 kids who are capable of playing basketball at the level necessary to compete at the major college level. You might want to look at who played how many minutes today to get a feel for who those players are. Here are some possible explanations for why 9 names appear in the box score.

Jemison had to come into the game because Green, Knox and Coleman all got into foul trouble. Hollinger gives it everything he has; but his body just does not have enough to give. (In spite of his limitations - or perhaps because of them - Brandon remains my favorite player on this team.) Andrew Steele shows considerable potential but still is a work in progress.

The quality of performance appears to diminish considerably when CMG has to put any other than his best seven (or eight?) players on the court. That appears to answer my question of several days ago (and DJC's which he repeated again today) about why Torrance does not play.

Even with the foul problems, that means our best seven players each had to play lots of minutes. That problem was exaserbated by several stupid fouls commited by our starters. Most of the ones who did play all those minutes looked tired at times during the last eight minutes when Tech ate into our lead. Ron Steele was among the tired players. The fatigue appeared to uncover the areas where our individual playrs have not developed sound fundamental disciplines. It also makes their ineffective (absent?) teamwork more noticeable.

It also would be nice if we could learn to inbound the ball. Has anyone ever suggested to our players that they might set picks for one another to help get the ball into bounds? Our coaches do know what a pick is, don't they?

Maybe the team will improve. We can only hope so, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

Roll Tide!

Tide trounces Tech, 88-77.

A solid win against a pretty bad Georgia Tech team at home. In the first half we handled their full court pressure with ease and got a lot of easy baskets. Ron Steels had by far his best game of the year. He was doing it all. Both Steele and Gee had double-doubles. Our big men did a great job defensively clogging the lane and getting rebounds in the first half. There have been games this year where I have posted that we didn't do a single thing right. I'm having an equally difficult time trying to find any negatives in the way we played in the first half.

We stretched the lead to 30, but Georgia Tech was able to scrap back and make it respectable. They made an adjustment in their press the second half and started fronting on guards to deny us the inbounds pass. This gave us fits, and caused a lot of turnovers. Both Justin Knox and JaMychael Green were in foul trouble, again, and eventually fouled out. Yamene played a very solid game and picked up the slack. Both Knox and Green played great on both ends of the court until they picked up their 4th foul. They played a lot of minutes with 4 fouls in the second half, and were timid on defense. Georgia Tech was able to take advantage, and that is a big reason why they were able to cut into the lead.

Demetrius Jemison came in for a few minutes, but he had a horrible time trying to get the ball inbounds against the press. I was told the reason Jemison has not been playing is " no big deal, just personnel issues." I don't even know what the hell that is supposed to mean, but I'm pretty certain it's not the full story. The guy went from being a starter last year to riding the pine this year. I'm not saying he should start, but I think he could definitely contribute if given the opportunity. If this continues throughout SEC play, I wouldn't be surprised to see him transfer next year.

On the subject of inbound passes, I was watching the game with a friend of mine who is a High School and AAU coach. He noted that none of our inbounds plays are designed to score. Most of the time we don't even call a play, we just try to get open and get it in. When we do actually call a play, it's designed to get the ball in and then run our normal offense. Most teams have a couple of plays they can use to try to get a quick score off an inbounds, especially when inbounding from the baseline in the front court. As an example, in one such situation today Coach Gottfried called a play, and it was a simple cross screen to get the guard open to receive the pass, moving away from the basket.

I've been hard on Senario Hillman at times this year, but he played nearly a perfect game today. His defense was outstanding as usual. I think he is starting to embrace and enjoy his role as a lock down defender. He also realizes that he can get some quick easy points off of his steals. His shot selection was outstanding today. On one play with the shot clock winding down, he shot from the side, his body moving sideways in relation to the goal, pump faked in the air, drew the foul, and made the shot. That takes an incredible amount strength, skill, and concentration. He is a phenomenal athlete, and if he plays as smart as he did today on a consistent basis, we will contend in the SEC.

The substitution patterns continue to baffle me. No Torrance today. I think he could have helped against the press in the second half. As noted above, very little action for Jemison even with 2 bigs fouling out. In fairness, he was not at all effective in the time that he was in the game.

My friend and I spoke to Doc Martin briefly at halftime. He is now a scout with the Portland Trail Blazers. He lives in Atlanta, and is basically over their scouting of the area east of the Mississippi river. He said he wasn't looking at anyone in particular today, but he tries to take in as much basketball as he possible can. He indicated he may have some interest in coaching at some point in the future. Doc is a class guy, and we should all be proud of the way he represents the University.

It was good to see Alias at the game today. Driving straight in from NOLA on less than 3 hours sleep makes me appreciate the effort he has put into attending so many games over the last few years.

Up next, we go to Clemson, SC to take on the undefeated Tigers at 8pm Central Time Tuesday. I suspect we will be on the wrong end of an ugle beatdown. This will be the first game of the year that I will not be attending, and I may not even be able to watch it. I'll be working on the west coast for the next couple of weeks, so I'll be relying on Alias and Bobbyjack to keep us up to speed.

Bama bashes GA Tech 88-77...

... the final score is not indicative of how much we dominated. The game was over 5 minutes into the 2nd half... although GA Tech never quit and cut the lead from 30 to 11 in the last 8 minutes.

Box Score

The good:
- That was the Ronald Steele of old. Easily his best game of the season.
- Out rebounded a bigger team.
- Defensive intensity... just about every shot was contested the first 30 minutes. The 48% FG is inflated... they hit a bunch of shots when the game was already decided.

The bad:
- didn't finish the game... let GA Tech creep back. The game was in hand already, but still... FINISH! Could've rested the starters and let the bench play more.
- FT shooting... 58% is not going to cut it.
- Green fouled out again. He's got to be more disciplined. Knox also fouled out and Coleman did his best to join them with 4.

Alias and DJC attended the game and probably have more detailed info so stay tuned. Those 2 probably combined to drive 8 hours to see the team play.

Ga Tech stats pack....

... brought to you by the New Orleans International Airport... also known as the place where Utah beat the ever living crap out of our football team.

Statistics

- 46% FG
- 30% 3PT FG
- 58% FT
- +7.3 rebound margin
- 15.75 turnovers per game

Tech (like us) is a puzzling team. They won at Mercer and Pepperdine, but lost at home to Penn State and UIC. Like us, the talent is there, but execution is flawed.

Prediction: Ga Tech beat the team that beat us on opening day so that means they win, right? I believe this to be the case even though Tech isn't very good. Tech by 7.

TV is FSN at 2PM CST. Chances are I'll be just waking up to see this. Great.