Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bama bashes Bayou Bengals, 70-46

Alabama moves into sole possession of first place in the SEC with the win. We started off sluggish, especially on offense. At times in the first half we appeared to get lazy on the offensive end. LSU's man to man defense gave us some trouble, mainly because we were doing way too much standing around. Senario and Charvez were both guilty of dribbling around for too long and forcing bad shots at times, but a part of that was because nobody was helping. Fortunately, we continued to play lock down defense and we picked it up on the offensive end in the second half.

Much like auburn, LSU does not have any ball handlers, so we used the full court trap a lot more. The Tigers looked hopeless against it in the second half. Andrew Steele gets my MVP award for the game. He came off the bench and made a 3 pointer, scored 7 points, got some big rebounds, and caused some crucial LSU turnovers at a key point in the game in the 2nd half. The run that he sparked pretty much put the game away.

Speaking of guards coming off the bench, Ben Eblen is proving all the bad things I said about him earlier in the season wrong. Once again he gave us some solid minutes, including an awesome blocked shot from behind on an LSU break away that really got the crowd into the game for the first time.

Another player who is proving my past criticism of him wrong is JaMychal Green. I've been on him for being "soft" the last couple of years, but there is nothing soft about the way he has played in this SEC season. It was another physical game in the post where he continued attacking the basket on offense, held his own on defense, and got the better of his opponent.

#5 for LSU was playing dirty all day. He threw several elbows in the post, and one time even kneed JaMychal in the back of the leg running back up the court after he helped him up. Despite Ted Valentine's usual prima donna antics, I thought they called a decent game for the first 25 minutes or so, but they more than made up for it down the stretch. Allowing #5's antics to continue led to the first double technical foul situation. I lost a lot of respect for LSU coach Trent Johnson for allowing him to remain in the game after that altercation. Also, since it was obvious #5 was trying to bait JaMychal, Coach Grant should have pulled Green out of the game at that point as well, especially with a 20 point lead. We are very fortunate JaMychal's second technical foul was waived off after about a 15 minute discussion and multiple trips to the replay monitor. If they didn't reverse that call, he would probably be suspended for the $tate game.

One can make the argument that our current first place standing is a result of smoke and mirrors and an easy schedule, and there is some merit to that assertion. We can't shoot, we were only 2 of 12 from the 3 point line, and we have little depth. Despite that, I like this team because we have an identity. If the perimeter shots aren't falling, we will attack the basket. We made 18 of 22 from the charity stripe yesterday, that needs to continue. More importantly, we are one of the best defensive teams in the country. A team that plays defense like Alabama will have a chance to beat some more talented teams, and will usually take care of business against inferior opponents. That is what we have done so far this year, which is more than can be said for any other SEC team to this point.

It was great to see a sell out crowd! The atmosphere was not quite as hyped as it was for Kentucky, but it got loud when we made our runs and I think had LSU's young team a little rattled. Every home game for the rest of the year needs to be the same way. Not only for the current team, but for recruiting purposes as well. This is our chance to show that we are a lot more than just a "football school." My gf finally remembered to bring her camera, so I will post some of the pics below. They should give you an idea of my perspective for home games. Major kudos to whoever that is with the corndog "Geaux Home" sign.

Up next, $tansbury and $tate come to Tuscaloosa for a 7pm tipoff Wednesday night. They were the preseason picks to win the SEC West, and are coming off a big win over Florida. We need a packed, loud house, as this may be the most important game of the season so far. They certainly have the talent to beat us, and we simply CAN NOT let that happen.





Tide Tames Toothless Tigers


Alabama vanquished a young, scrappy LSU team to hold serve in Coleman Coliseum and to earn first place in the SEC standings with a 5-1 record.  LSU did not start out like a team on a three game losing streak.  They took a brief early lead and seemed to confound the Tide's offense.  The contest was much closer for the first 25 minutes that the 70-46 final score indicates.  (Here is a box score.)  Bama's rest week and maturity appeared to be the biggest difference makers by the mid-way point of the second half. 





Much like Alabama, LSU's defense was its strength tonight.  They held Alabama to 30 first-half points and constantly harassed their shooters across their defensive court.  Bama hit only two of its twelve shots from outside the arc, but superior experience in the lane proved the big difference in the game as the Tide owned the boards and outscored the Tigers in the paint.



DJC should have more salient points to add, but in many ways the best part of this game is that Alabama won a game where Ted Valentine was the head official.  All the zebras laid off their whistles until the first technical fouls were called in the second half.  They seemed to tighten their grip on the game at that point to try to keep the players anger from boiling over.  They could have accomplished that task more quickly if they had called a second technical foul on LSU's White for running his mouth and slinging elbows.  Instead White fouled out with about 4 minutes to go, but Valentine and Company took about ten minutes to waive off the stupid second technical they called on Bama's Green who appeared to be doing no more than extricate himself from White's aggression for about the 6th time of the game.

Bama's pressure eventually wore down the visiting Tigers and allowed them to stretch a hefty lead that got as high as 27 points before Coach Grant started emptying his bench to reward the kids who practice hard every day but seldom see the court.  The young visitors appeared to be both physically and mentally worn down mid way through the second half, and two or three of their emotional players appeared to retaliate after having lost their cool. 

LSU appears to be at about the same point Alabama was last year and I suspect their young team will surprise a team or two before the season is over and will fare much better next season.  Coach Grant won tonight's coaching duel by reinstituting the press and by keeping the pressure on when he saw the officials were going to call a loose game - at least for the first half.

Andrew Steele came off the bench to score seven points during a crucial stretch after LSU had cut the Tide's lead down to one.  He also had two rebounds and an assist.  Perhaps Coach Grant is correct; Steele is a physically and mentally tough kid who possesses a very high basketball IQ.

JaMychal Greene led all scorers with 20 points while Tony Mitchell tossed in 14 and Chris Hines 10.  LSU was led by Andre Stinger with 10 points in spite of being harassed by the Bama Student Section every time he touched the ball.  Stringer is a gritty player who hit two threes and was always looking for a way to get to the basket.  Malcom White blocked six shots for LSU, but the constant bumping and shoving for position underneath the basket seemed to rattle him.  He got away with all but one of his temper tantrums tonight.  I suspect he will find a way to keep his emotions in check and to be a more potent offensive weapon when his team hosts our Tide in a few weeks.

Everybody needs to show up in Coleman Coliseum next Tuesday.  Rick $tan$field brings his entire payroll to town and his Bulldogs are playing much better now and will be coming off a win over Florida.  M$U fans fill their own gym and at least 5,000 of them will be coming to Tuscaloosa looking for tickets.  Don't sell them one of yours.  Please use your own ticket and come support your team.  They are playing their guts out and deserve all the support we can give them.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Know your enemy- LSU Tigers

They stumble into Tuscaloosa on a 3 game losing streak. In those 3 games they've been outscored 235-148. YIKES!

Stats

Their most recent starting lineup (that got drilled at UTK):
WHITE, Malcolm...... f
LUDWIG, Eddie....... f
STRINGER, Andre..... g
DERENBECKER, Matt... g
DOTSON, Aaron....... g

If you want to read their official preview of the game, go here. I like the title, "Men's Basketball Travels to West-Leading Alabama."

As the article says, Ralston Turner might be back for the game tomorrow. He is their leading scorer at 13.2 PPG and best 3pt shooter of anyone that's taken more than 40 shots (34.7%). Malcolm White and Storm Warren are the guys on the boards at
5.6 and 6.1 respectively. Truth be told, their offense stinks almost as bad as the barn's.

They have a lot of size so we'll need Green and Hines to stay out of foul trouble. If not we might see an appearance by the big Swede or even Jason Carter. I doubt it though.

Looking at the roster I noticed they have ZERO seniors on the team. Strange.

Keys to the game:
- Keep LSU off the boards.
- Jump out to an early lead.
- Need some perimeter shooting. Charvez??
- Releford's dribble drive.
- Bench help.

Prediction: LSU is looking pretty bad right now. I suspect we beat them silly with Releford having a great game and Hillman hitting some shots to open it up. I think Green will struggle early, but come on late. LSU can't score... and we play hellacious defense. Alabama by 17.

Game time is 8PM EST (7PM CST). I plan on going so I'll put up some photos from my prestigious seats. It's on FSN.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Since we have a week between games, predicting the final 11 games.

vs LSU- we curb stomp them.
vs M$U- see LSU above.
at UTK- depends on which Vols team shows up. If it;s the one that beat Pitt and Nova we lose, I suspect that's the team we see. Loss.
at Vandy- we never win there. No reason to think that'll change. Loss.
vs Ole Miss- they're getting better, but in the end, too much D for them to handle.
at LSU- if Ole Miss can go in there and beat them down we can too.
vs Arkansas- barely lost at Fayetteville. No reason to think we don't beat them good.
vs Auburn- massacre.
at Ole Miss- my mind could change, but we've had issues winning there in the past. And I think Ole Miss has turned the corner. Loss.
at UF- they're probably the best in the SEC. We'll hang with them for a bit, but in the end the better team wins. Loss.
vs UGA- I think UGA is about to freefall. By the time this game is played they won't have a lot of motivation to win. We will.

So I have us 7-4 in our final 11. That totals up to 11-5 in conference play. A lot better than the 6-10 I thought we'd be before the season began.

I probably cursed the team now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tide gets committment from guard Jaren Sina, 2013 class

Click on the title to check out his ESPN profile. He is a 6'1 white guard from New Jersey. He can play either guard position, but he sounds like more of a 2 to me. He is a little undersized, but I assume he's got a great shot. He chose us over Seton Hall, Cincinatti, and Rhode Island. Good job Coach Grant, and welcome Jaren.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Current RPI and other team stats (how we stack up nationally)

According to this site, we're climbing the charts... sitting at 134 as far as the RPI is concerned. Our biggest win is over UK (13)and our worst loss is to Iowa (149) with St Peter's (145) just ahead of that. As far as quality losses are concerned, losing to Oklahoma State (40) and Purdue (11) isn't looking too bad.

There's been a lot of discussion on what ifs... like if we somehow go 12-4 in conference will we get into the NCAA Tournament. IMO it's a lock if we do. Even at 11-5 we are on the good side of the bubble provided we don't throw up a stinker in the 2nd round of the SEC tournament. Right now, we should be favored in every home game remaining... although I worry about the UGA and Ole Miss (who I think might have their act together) games. On the road, we got Florida and Vanderbilt as probable losses. The rest of the games we have a fighting chance to win. Can you imagine this team playing .500 on the road in the SEC? When I was on the plane coming back from St Thomas I didn't think that was remotely possible. Heck, I was about as gloom and doom as you can be.

NCAA stats
We are 7th in scoring defense at 57.3 PPG, 3rd in FG percentage defensive (35.9%), 21st in steals (9.2), 24th in blocked shots (surprised me at 5.4), and 25rd in 3pt FG percentage defensive (29.8%).

The flip side is our offense... 242nd in turnovers, 311th in 3pt FGs, 218th in scoring offense, and 193 assist/turnover ratio. I'd link this, but the ncaa website doesn't like direct links.

Truth be told I don't know how we're doing it. I know how (defense), but being this putrid on the offensive side of the ball shows how hard the team is D-ing up.

If Releford gets more confidence in his jumper... especially beyond the arc I believe our offensive stats will improve. Right now he's too tentative shooting the ball. Don't get me wrong, his dribble drive is opening up shots for others... that aren't falling so either he takes more shots or someone else steps up their mid range game. While I close my eyes every time Hillman shots, he seems to be hitting more than I give him credit for. Maybe he's the guy... that 42.6% FG clip still troubles me.

Also.. SEC Power Poll. I think I put us down as the 3rd or 4th best in the conference. Obviously, we're nt getting love from the rest of the SEC bloggers :).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bama Burns Barn 68-58

There is no such thing as an ugly win. It takes a good team to go on the road and get a win despite not playing great, and that is exactly what Alabama did. auburn is a very bad basketball team, but they were playing in front of their only sell out crowd of the year and were jacked up about the possibility of pulling the upset. As bad as they are, they did somehow manage to beat Florida State at home and held our co-leaders of the SEC to only 45 points.

We ran the full court press a little more in this game than we have the other SEC games. I suspect this was an attempt to pick up the tempo of the game and take advantage of auburn's poor ball handlers. While we did have some degree of success, auburn was able to control the tempo for the most part.

In some ways auburn is like a much less talented version of Alabama. Neither team can shoot, but both play very intense defense. We had a very difficult time scoring against their 2-3 zone. We got good looks against it when we attacked it. Releford and Hillman were able to penetrate on the dribble drive, and for the most part we had good spacing and ball movement. Unfortunately, we couldn't make open jump shots and couldn't finish around the goal. We only shot 4 of 20 from 3 point range, and wasted several possessions by passing the ball around the perimeter and jacking up a bad shot.

Releford did not have a great game, and had to come out with foul trouble, but I thought he was solid when he was in the game. He made a huge 3, but more importantly he took care of the basketball for the most part and showed good composure when auburn tried to make a run. Ben Eblen gave us some great minutes, taking care of the ball and playing good defense. He seems to be learning to play within himself, and while he will probably not ever give us much offensively, I am getting to the point where I no longer cringe when he enters the game. With both of our PGs in foul trouble, Charles Hankerson even got into the game and ran the point for a couple of possessions late in the first half.

Chris Hines continues to do all the little things to give us a chance to win. Tony Mitchell may be the most underrated player in the SEC. He does it all, and while he took some ill advised 3's, he also made a huge one to give us the lead going into halftime to go along with usual 2 or 3 spectacular dunks per game. JaMychal went strong to the basket and knocked down his free throws. Thankfully, he seems to have finally abandoned his fade away game that never worked.

A key to the win is we made our free throws for a change. It was a close game that we had to grind out, and we were able to pull away late and put the game away at the free throw line.

I actually thought the officiating was pretty decent in the first half, but Releford could not get a call in the 2nd half. On one fast break, he was hacked, busted his lip and landed hard, there was no foul, and then Coach Grant was called for a technical on top of that. Meanwhile many of the auburn fans started celebrating Releford's injury, pointing and taunting him, and some were implying that he "wasn't hurt" despite the blood coming out of his mouth. Justice was served as auburn missed both free throws. Despite the foul disparity being greatly in auburn's favor, the fat bitch in front of me actually asked at one point, "do yall have the zebras on the payroll too?" Really? You just paid a qb $200,000 to win a National Championship in football and you are going to bring out the 'refs on the payroll comment'?

Anyway, I will give credit where it's due, the new arena is very nice. I would say it's one of the top 3 in the SEC along with Arkansas and South Carolina, although it is very small. See the pictures posted below. I wish we had a similiar set up, although we would need something about twice as big. It was a sell out crowd, but it wasn't packed, there were several hundred empty seats scattered throughout. There were more Alabama fans there than I expected. Probably close 200 or so scattered around. The auburn fans were by far the least knowledgeable basketball fans I've ever encountered. Keep in mind this includes trips to places like Mercer, Alabama State, and UNC-Charlotte. I didn't hear a single auburn fan refer to any of their players by name the whole game. I honestly don't think they even know their own player's names. One idiot behind me went on for 5 minutes about how "the refs screwed us out of foul shots, bammer has 8 fouls, we should be shootin!" The foul he thought should result in free throws was a charge. Seriously, even most girls and small children know that you never shoot free throws on an offensive foul, but this was a grown man. When we had a 58-49 lead late in the game and reality was setting in for the barners, the fat bitch in front of me screamed out "28 to 27 wooo!" I responded by yelling equally as loud, "58 to 49!" Her response of "who cares" is a big part of the reason why they are the laughing stock of SEC basketball right now.

Up next, we get a week to rest before LSU comes to Coleman Coliseum for a 7pm tipoff on Saturday, January 29. I expect a packed house. This team is 4-1 and in first place in the SEC, they deserve your support. If you can make it but choose not to go, you are essentially saying "who cares." We are better than auburn fans, lets give these guys the home court advantage they have earned. Roll Tide!








Saturday, January 22, 2011

Alabama Autlasts Auful api

(Also titled Bama Bounces Back, Beats Barners)

The visiting Tiders had to overcome the only sell out crowd of the season on the Plains, and that was only because their football team regained possession of some trophy that means something to people whose season stops in January.  (We expect to see the curtain put up again by next week.)  The zebras tried to help the home team, calling way too many unnecessary fouls early in both halves against the good guys.  After falling behind by 5 points, Alabama finally won a back and forth game by a score of 68-58.

Releford had to go to the bench after earning his second foul with almost 14 minutes to go in the second half.  Eblen again provided quality minutes in Trevor's stead.   The Tide struggled on offense all afternoon while api uncharacteristically built a slim lead by shooting perfect early from the charity stripe.  Bama struggled from the free throw line early, but the nails were driven into the Tigers' coffin by Releford and Greene who made all but one of their free throws down the stretch. 

api played their typically tough defense but also found ways to put the ball in the basket on the opposite end of the floor.  Alabama couldn't buy a bucket in the first half and didn't look like it could find a three point shot even if it signed a long-term lease with a hefty balloon payment.  Discipline, defense and determination finally won the day for the brave Bama boys.  We saw gutsy performances by everyone wearing a crimson jersey tonight.  Even freshman Charles Hankerson came in and provided some quality minutes that included two rebounds.

The game might have been as ugly as the screeches from the young girl sitting behind Chris Stewart who let go every time Alabama stepped to the free throw line, but a road win is huge in our league and any win over api is important.  If the Tide can hold serve at home it will have a great chance of winning the SEC West.  Not many of us dared to hope for that as the season began.  Even if it does not happen, we are leading the conference right now and that is  more than good enough for me.

I'll see you all next Saturday when the other conference tigers come to visit.

Roll Tide!

Ugly game, but a win's a win. Bama beats the barn 68-58

This game didn't revolutionize offense nor did it bring back memories of classic games like UNLV/Arkansas of the early 90s, but another win on the road is a glorious thing. For those counting at home we are +2 on the season (2 road wins/0 home losses) and the best part is we're 4-1 in conference play. Who'd thunk that after the Paradise Jam?

Box score


Give it up for Chris Hines. He's a workhorse. He seems to be everywhere. Also, kudos to Tony Mitchell... he took some bad shots, but hit a key 3 at the buzzer if memory serves me to end the 1st half.

Releford struggled again, but his dribble drive opened up some shots. Green was aggressive, but IMO had too many of his shots rejected. He did play hellacious D (for him) turning back a few shots as well.

This is a nice win. I can't remember the last time we won 2 of 3 on the road to begin the season. It's been a while. For those counting at home we've won 7 of our last 8 games.

We threw up too many 3s for my liking in the 1st half and I think you can credit Auburn's D and Barbee for that. The second half we made a more concerted effort to pack the ball down low. Auburn had no answer for that.

Whatever Grant modified regarding the team since the Paradise Jam is working. They truly seem to enjoy playing together. I take partial credit for that :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Know your enemy- Auburn Tigers

They come into this game on short rest and a loss to Florida which might be the blueprint for what a terrible game should look like. Still, they'll be celebrating their Iron Bowl (the thing died in 89 as far as I'm concerned) Trophy and their mythical national title so expect the players and fans in West GA to be overly pumped up.

Their most recent starting lineup vs the Gators:
23 Tyus, Alex.......... f
25 Parsons, Chandler... f
04 Young, Patric....... c
01 Boynton, Kenny...... g
11 Walker, Erving...... g

Stats

Outside of maybe 10 minutes of yesterday's game vs Florida I have not watched them play. I know they suck... proof are their home losses to Samford, Campbell, Jacksonville, Presbyterian, and LSU. Regardless, they'll have an extra chip on their shoulder playing us in front of a capacity crowd (probably the only time this season).

They average 62.7 PPG. I figure they might get 55 against us. Their leading scorers are pulling in 12.3 and 11.7 a game (Ross and Malone). They suck in just about every offensive stat that is measured... FG (39.6%), 3 Pt FGs (32.9%), and FTs (64.1%). Jeff Lebo is rolling over in his grave watching them from East Carolina. Heck, the best thing to happen to him was getting fired... he's actually a decent coach and probably does well enough at ECU to find a non-dead end job in a big conference.

Prediction: We're clearly the better team... and that's the only time I'll say that this season, but I still can't shake pessimism. The Barn find a way to make us look even worse than them and pull out a 4 point win. They have to win one this year and the truth is this is probably their best shot in conference.

Gametime is 6PM EST (5PM CST) on CSS. My guess is it's available on ESPN3.com (that is not a channel... it's the innernets).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crimson Caps Coach Cal's Cats, 68-66

Alabama remains tied for first place in the SEC with a huge upset win at home over 12th ranked Kentucky. This was a huge win for the program on National television. Congrats to the players, Coach Grant, and his staff for making it happen.

Say what you want about Coach Calipari, but he is a very good coach. Anthony Grant matched him and outcoached him tonight. Kentucky is a much more talented team. They have 3 very good players, and their other 2 starters and bench players are all great athletes. They are young, and at times appeared to get frustrated and did not always play well together as a team. We won this one because our guys wanted it more. I'm not sure we have more than 2 players who would get significant playing time for them right now.

At the beginning of the game we looked tight and made some uncharacteristic unforced errors. UK took a 5-0 lead early and led by 6 at one point in the first half. We stepped up our defense, outworked them to a few loose balls, got some bounces and started knocking down a few shots to take a 7 point lead into halftime.

Once again, we almost screwed up the ending of the first half. We had all 5 timeouts remaining, less than 35 seconds left, didn't call timeout, and just like during the Arkansas game Releford took a shot with 10 seconds left. Fortunately, UK committed a foul on the rebound, and then we wisely (finally!) called timeout and got the last shot.

We had a stretch in the second half where we were on the fire, the crowd was rocking, and UK came completely unglued. We stretched the lead to 20, but watching the game you knew UK would make a run. They simply had too much talent not to, the question is how would we respond.

I thought we were running out of gas the final 5 minutes. Our guys were out of breath and cramping up. We don't have much depth, and we played insanely hard every possession for the first 30 minutes of the game. UK was attacking the basket, and getting to the line nearly every possession because we were too tired to get in good defensive position. We had a long scoring drought, but much of the credit for that belongs to UK's defense. Predictably, they got back into the game, but it seemed like every possession we had someone step up and make a play at one end or the other, doing just enough to cling onto the lead.

Senario Hillman stepped up and took a big charge in the final minute. At the other end, we cleared out for Hillman and he beat his man off the dribble, but instead of shooting the floater he continuted to the basket and committed a charge against the Kentucky defender who did a good job of moving into position and blocking the lane. In a close game in the final minute, the last person you want out with an injury is your starting point guard. Unfortunately, Releford landed funny and appeared to twist his knee when he fell awkardly attempting to drive to the basket. Ben Eblen has taken a lot of heat here, and yes he did pick up 3 fouls in 9 minutes of play, but he came up with a lose ball after Charvez Davis did a great job of knocking it away with 10 seconds left, and made 1 of 2 free throws to put us up 2 with 2.5 seconds remaining.

Coach Grant did a much better job of utilizing his timeouts in the final minute of the game. He waited to see how Coach Cal would line up, called a timeout, and called a good defense that forced them to inbound the ball deeper in their backcourt than they wanted, thus getting a longer, much more difficult, and contested shot at the buzzer.

Coach Grant proved why he is a $2 Million per year coach tonight. At times in the first half UK seemed to be consistently getting open shots against our zone. I was hoping we would abandon it completely, but now thinking about it, given the talent disparity at every position that would have been a disaster. Instead, we made subtle changes in positioning and substitution matchups, and pretty soon we were back to our lock down defense. His defensive calls in the last 2 minutes of the game were difference in a W and an L tonight.

As great of a win as it was, there are still a lot of things that need improvement. We struggled with the press at times, and 19 turnovers is way too much. Releford is a great PG, but he is still a true freshman and he played like it at times tonight. When UK was making their run, he made several bad decisions forcing circus shots early in the shot clock. Hopefully his injury is not too severe. He went down awkwardly and appeared to twist his knee, but he got up fairly quickly and was able to put some weight on it as he went to the bench. As frustrated as he got at times tonight, we will be in deep trouble if he misses any significant time.

We had good inside-outside balance tonight. JaMychal Green had a double-double in the post and Tony Mitchell had 15 points including a couple of dunks that really got the crowd going. We shot 7 of 14 from 3 point range, including Charvez Davis's 3 for 8. Davis' biggest play was knocking the ball loose on UK's next to last possession. Major props to Chris Hines, who had 7 points and 8 rebounds while fighting cramps and dehydration all night. He was a trooper for continuing to go out and give us everything he had. At one point during a timeout in the first half, he almost fainted and the assistant coaches had to catch him. He sat down, drank some water, and was back in the game 3 minutes later. Again in the 2nd half he had to come out with cramps, and he just looked under the weather. My gf noticed that he was not sweating like he normally does. Hopefully he gets feeling better, but he deserves credit for playing with such passion and fighting through the adversity.

The crowd was incredible tonight. I'm not sure if it sold out, but there were very few empty seats to be found. We had a record number of over 4,000 students attending! Much to the chagrin of the nice elderly couple behind us, we spent most of the night on our feet. I barely had enough voice left to complete the Rammer Jammer cheer at the conclusion. Of course, UK brought a fair number of fans, probably close to 1,000, a few of which were sitting near us. As usual, they were vocally supportive of their team, but very complimentary of our team in defeat. Also, credit to whoever is planning our halftime shows. Today's halftime show alone was worth the price of admission. I found a youtube video of the same performer and will post it below. It's a lady riding an elevated unicycle kicking bowls onto her head. Sounds weird, but just watch, it was amazing.

Up next, a trip to the ugliest village on the plains to play the AUful tigers Saturday. Tip off is set for 5pm Central. It will be televised on CSS. We need to stay focused and not have a letdown. Even though auburn sucks, it's very unlikely any team will ever go 0-16 in the SEC, and you know we will get their best game. It will be a much more difficult enviornment for us to go down there and win on the day of their temporary football national championship celebration than it was for the East Popcorn State's of the world who went down there and won in front of a dozen people. I will be there, and I'm hoping we aren't the only Bama fans in the gym.

Sorry for the length and rambling nature of the post. I just got home from the game and knew I was still too excited to be able to sleep for a while, so I figured I would throw something up. That being said, I'm too lazy to proofread or edit at this point, so it is what it is. Maybe I'll clean it up tomorrow. RTR!

Here is the halftime performer:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tired Tide holds off Wildcats. 68-66.

What was once a 20 point lead (52-32) turned into a nailbiter. It got dicey when releford got hurt and hillman turned it over late, but Ben eblen with a huge steal and a clutch free throw with under 3 seconds to go allows Anthony Grant to get his first signature win at Alabama.

What a win! We found a way to hang on... Despite the fatigue. This puts us at 3-1 in conference play. Who would' e thought that?

I'll add more tomorrow... Posting from an iPhone so capitalization and spelling errors should be ignored... For now.

Levi Randolph misses big game over shoes

Click on the title for a link to the story. On the surface, this is certainly disappointing, but probably not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things. Who knows the full story, but hopefully he learns from this. Coach Grant will not tolerate any player putting himself ahead of the team.

Also, a reminder, if you are going to the game tonight, consult the seating chart below and wear the appropriate color. We need a packed house, so if you can make it, click here to buy your tickets and come out to Coleman for the 8pm tipoff.

Monday, January 17, 2011

SEC Power Poll week of Jan 16th

The one consistent is Auburn bringing up the rear. They probably stay there the entire season... as Kentucky stays on top.

I should've wrote down my ranking. I think I put UGA #2 and Arkansas in the top 5.

Link is in title BTW. Or if you're too lazy it is here as well.

Know your enemy- Kentucky Wildcats

John Calipari leads his Wildcat$ into Tuscaloosa for a Tuesday night ESPN game. We be on NA-SHON-AL TEE-VEE BaBEE!

Team stats. If you want more from the enemy read this blog.

The scary stats:
- 80 PPG
- 46.5% FG
- 41.2% 3PT FG
- 6.8 blocks

Kentucky is 2-2 in true road games with losses @ UNC and UGA. Being that I don't think we're better than either AND we have serious deficiencies shooting I'm not feeling good about this one.

Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight come in averaging 18.6 and 17.5 PPG. Jones also leads the team in boards. Doron Lamb has been getting starts lately and is hitting 50% from beyond the arc. Overall, Kentucky has 4 shooting better than 39% beyond the arc. Uh oh.

Prediction: I think we hang with them in the 1st half before talent and coaching show us up in the 2nd half. I can see UK going on a 13-0 run to put it away. Wildcats by 12.

Game time is 9PM EST (8PM CST) on ESPN.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Crimsons Come Close But Can't Close

Box score

After leading for the first 38 minutes of the game, Alabama fell by a score of 70-65 in Bud Walton Arena to regional arch-rival Arkansas.  Bama suffered a defensive lapse in the last 90 seconds of the first half that allowed the Hogs to more than cut the Bama lead in half.  Arkansas then produced a better second half offensive response to win the game at home.

Among the things I liked in this game were the way our kids played under control for almost the entire game, fought hard in a tough environment, and continued to respond to almost every Arkansas scoring run.  It also is refreshing to see Coach Grant switch defenses as the opposing team begins to find ways against the defense he has employed.  Coach Grant's instructive shouts to his team were heard over Chris Stewart's mic throughout the game. 

Arkansas had two advantages in the game.  The were able to hit a few three point shots to stretch the Bama defense and they went to the charity stripe more often than the Tide with more success.  After only 39 years of watching SEC basketball, I still cannot figure out what causes officials to make or not to make certain calls.  In fairness the bad calls probably evened out over the game, but there were 2 or 3 no calls down the stretch that might have put Bama at the free throw line and altered the end-game for both teams.

There are no moral victories, but the Tide is playing well together and each player seems to be understanding his role on the court.  If anyone had told me we would be 2-1 in league play at this point I would have been more than satisfied.

I'll see you all in Coleman Coliseum Tuesday night when the Cats come for their odd-year visit.  Let's hope we can hold serve on our own court.

Roll Tide!

Know your enemy- Arkansas Razorbacks

Hogs come into the game after a disappointing loss at LSU. I would say this is a big early game for both teams... to take early control of the SEC West. Here's a writeup from the Arkansas site. Note the error on their site... saying we have won 6 in a row. It's 5... unless they are conceding defeat later today :)

Stats

Arkansas has a balanced scoring attack led by Rotnei Clarke and Delvon Johnson. Johnson also leads the team in rebounds. I watched them one time this year... against Texas in which they were decimated, but I figure I caught their worst game. Had to be.

Keys to the game:
- get the lead early... get the crowd out of the game.
- someone answer from the perimeter.
- perimeter defense... especially beyond the arc.
- Green and Hines stay out of foul trouble.

Prediction: It's tough to win 2 in a row on the road in the SEC. I. just. can't. do it. Hogs find their shooting range and win by 7.

Game time is 1:30PM EST (12:30PM CST) on the SEC Network.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Crimson/White out for the Kentucky game

If you are going to the Kentucky game Tuesday night, consult the picture below and wear the appropriate color for your section. I'll be wearing Crimson in Section E.

BIG NEWS: We are having a CRIMSON & WHITE OUT for the Ken... on Twitpic

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2-0 in the SEC, 57-47 win over Carolina

If you play good defense, you will at least have a chance to win every game. This team is the perfect illustration of that statement. Alabama ranks #1 in the SEC and #8 in the nation in scoring defense, and we find ourselves 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 2002 despite making only one 3 point shot in our first two games.

It was not an easy win. South Carolina played some great defense too, and they made just enough perimeter shots to keep it close. USC started out in a tight man to man that seemed to really bother our guards, then switched to a zone when Releford and Hines had to come out of the game in the first half with foul trouble.

Ben Eblen provided us with some good minutes at point guard. He played great defense, showed some quick hands, even made a shot and got a rebound or two. Chris Hines did not put up impressive numbers, and he never does, but we are a much better team when he is on the floor. He sets good screens, boxes out, and does the little things to take some pressure off of JaMychal and Tony Mitchell.

I liked the fact that we did not get frustrated and start jacking 3s against their zone. We were 0 for 3 from down town, and it was obvious that our guards were not going to have a good night shooting. Credit South Carolina's defense with that to some degree, but we continued to attack the basket and get high percentage (although mostly highly contested as well) shots in close range. JaMychal and Tony scored 20 and 16 respectively. It was a physical game, and we held our own. I was impressed with USC's Murdrow, he plays great defense and is a shot blocking machine. I was very proud of the way our post players handled him and USC's other bigs defensively.

Ted Valentine is the most overrated official in the history of basketball. He could not even bend over to pick up the ball last night due to his bad back, but he was still out there showboating and calling attention to himself. Tony Mitchell had a shot "blocked" in the first half, but the USC defender came from the other side of the court and jumped into him. To say he got him with the body would be an understatement. I'm pretty sure he clocked Mitchell upside the head when he followed through with his swat as well, both players go crashing to the floor, and no foul is called.

This team still has some problems. Free throw shooting continues to suck, and we most likely won't be able to keep winning by making only one 3 pointer every 2 games. Defensively, there were a couple of times in the second half when we allowed the USC guard to dribble the length of the floor in transition. We need to do a better job of stopping the ball in those instances. I am concerned with how we handled the press and trap at the end when USC was trying to make their last run. Nevertheless, this squad appears to be coming together and forming an identity. I like the chemistry of this team. Hines is stepping up and being a vocal leader on the court, which is what you are looking for in a senior. The team is playing with a lot of energy and intensity, and having a lot of fun. The guys who have lost playing time, especially Hankerson who went from starting earlier this year to not playing at all in the USC game, are into the game and putting the team first. Hankerson was by far the most excited in the post game celebration last night.

The crowd was awesome last night, especially the students! It was a late arriving crowd, which surprised me with an 8pm tipoff, but the student section was filled beyond capacity. Rather than turning students away once their section was filled, they were allowed to come in and sit in the empty seats in the corners. Kudos to our gameday administration officials for doing the right thing. The additional students made for a great atmosphere, and all 11,000 or so fans were loud and into the game. Hopefully this will continue, as protecting our home court is going to be a key to having a successful season.

Up next, we travel to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. Tip off is set for Saturday at 12:30 pm Central time, and will be televised on the SEC Network. I posted this
story in the comments below, but if you haven't seen it yet, it is a must read on the tragic bond between Coach Grant, Arkansas Coach John Pelphrey, and Billy Donovan.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Crimsons Choke Cocks In Coleman Coliseum

Box score

Defense was the key in Alabama's 57-47 win over South Carolina.  Bama got off to a fast start offensively and led by as many as 9 points before USC began to find the basket.  Then Sam Muldrow jumped into a phone booth and came back out the Tasmanian Devil, jumping, whirling and blocking every shot the Tide front men put up.  Bama's offense bogged down even more when freshman point guard Trevor Relford went to the bench with his second foul with about six minutes remaining in the first half.

Kudos to Assistant Coach Tony Pujol, Coach Anthony Grant's long time friend and defensive specialist.  Both Grant and Pujol preach defense first, and that definitely is what allowed the Tide to turn this game in its favor. 

Bama stretched its lead to as many as 11 points in the second half, but while Bama went o-for from outside the arc the Gamecock sharp shooters hit just enough of their three point shots to pull them close enough to win the game.  Releford did look a little rattled as USC's guards pressed both him and Eblen down the stretch trying to find quick, easy points in an effort to pull back into contention.  Scenario Hillman showed his senior poise by hitting a key shot and two free throws to keep the visiting team at bay.

I thought Muldrow was going to land in DJC's lap when he chased an out of bounds ball over the table behind the home bench.  I'm sure DJC will have more insightful comments on the game than I can offer.  For now I am happy to see our young men continuing to contest almost everything the other team does and finding ways to win.

Bama's next game is in Fayetville where former USA Coach John Pelfrey has his Hogs playing very well.  Let's hope the lessons learned to this point are enough for the good guys to earn another road victory.  That would be solid evidence that Coach Grant's approach can produce not just winning efforts but wins as well.

Well done, Bama Basketballers.

Roll Tide!

Know your enemy- South Carolina Gamecocks

The Cocks are probably the worst team in the SEC East, but they'd probably be one of the best in the West. Dern bad luck.

Stats

To get a better feel for the Gamecocks squad I suggest this blog. I have not seen them play this year so the best I can do is babble about stats.

Here's a writeup from the official Gamecock site.

Keys to the game:
- dictate the pace. South Carolina seems to have an issue with turnovers so uptempo might be the ticket.
- Releford dishing and driving.
- Charvez being $$ at home beyond the arc.
- Green's resurgence.
- Rebound, rebound, rebound

Prediction: I'm drinking the grape aid now. Grant has made me a BELIEVER! I see a tightly contested game going our way with some late 3s to ice it. Bama by 8.

Game time is 9PM EST (8PM CST) on CSS. I think it's also on ESPN3.com... and if you pay for Full Court it'll be on.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Good 75 Evil 57. $tate $ucks.

My apologies for the delay in posting a recap. I didn't make it to the game, but had a house full of drunk friends all day yesterday.

Obviously, this was a big win for us. Even though we were technically favored, I think this was a game most of us probably had pencilled in as an "L."

When they showed Renardo Sidney warming up before the game, I could tell by the man tits on that fat thug that he was not in shape to play an up tempo game. He ran his mouth and pounded his boobs like he did something after JaMychal Green walked a couple of times in the first half, but otherwise he spent the rest of the afternoon gasping for air and being JaMychal's bitch.

We built an early lead, but $tate was able to cut it to one at halftime, in large part because Releford had to go to the bench with foul trouble. We went on a run in the second half and maintained the lead throughout. Anthony Grant coached circles around $lick Rick yesterday. We were in foul trouble, but instead of attacking the basket $tate was content with trying to shoot their way back into the game. Rather than trying to chip away at the lead, they turned to a more up-tempo and perimeter oriented offense to try to quickly get back into the game, which just played into our hands.

Senario Hillman and Andrew Steele gave us nice sparks off the bench. All of our guards were effective in the drive and dish game. Charvez did not have a good night shooting the ball, but for the first time this year he showed us that there is more to his game. We have basically cut it down to a 7 man rotation, with Eblen getting some playing time due to Releford's foul trouble. Assuming we stick with this, I would assume it will limit the amount of full court press we see during SEC play. Hankerson and Carter were back, but only played sparingly in mop up duty.

While I am excited about the win, and it is always good to beat the hell out of $tate, especially at the dump, I would caution against getting too excited about this one. We all remember beating LSU convincingly on the road in the first SEC game last year. While this $tate team is certainly more talented than that LSU team, they are not a very good basketball team right now. They may get it together and win the west, or they may spiral and finish 5th, nothing would surprise me. Also, we still had some issues that have bothered us in away games this year. We didn't shoot well at all from 3 point range again, only 1 for 8. Also, JaMychal Green settled for a lot of 17 ft jump shots in the 2nd half, but thankfully he was making them. It's nice for him to be able to step out there and knock them down every now and then, but I don't want him to get into a habit of doing that.

Other games of note around the SEC, Georgia upset Kentucky in Athens. UGA always seems to play the Cats tough at home, but I think this UGA team could be one to watch. auburn tied an NCAA record for lowest points in a half since the beginning of the shot clock era. They trailed LSU 32-6 at halftime, at home, but scored 49 in the 2nd half and almost came back to win. I watched some of that game, and those are two pitiful basketball teams.

Up Next, South Carolina comes to Tuscaloosa Wednesday night for an 8pm tipoff. The game will be televised on CSS. South Carolina is the consensus last place pick in the East, but if they played in the West they would be in the conversation to win it. This is a huge game as we need to continue to protect our home court.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Bama Banished Bulldogs

from their home court in The Hump!  Here's a quick summary.

Box score

The first half reminded me of the Oklahoma State game.  M$U was much bigger and more physical than any five we were able to put on the floor and the officials were allowing a great deal of physical play underneath the basket that disrupted Bama's best scoring efforts.  Bama led by one at the half.  I expected the Bulldogs to wear down the Tide with physical play in the second half, but it was M$U who eventually wilted.

We don't need to read too much into one game, but anytime you can take a game from State on their home court it's a big, big win.  It looked to me like Sidney lost his composure and probably was not in shape to play an up paced game.  He was a virtual non-factor in the second half.  The Tide has moved to primarily a half-court press this season, and that seemed to take its toll on both M$U's physical and mental composure. 

The Bama boys maintained their composure and Coach Grant stayed on top of the game,  calling a cruicial time out to keep Greene from losing his cool at what proved to be the pivitol point of the game. 

State cannot be expected to perform so casually on offense in the future, but they got almost as rattled as the Tide did a few years ago against Clemson.  The good news is that Coach Grant's approach of instilling physical and mental toughness in his players is beginning to produce fruit and the more this group plays together the better they have the chance to become. 

I'll take any win over a $lick Rick $tan$field team, but an 18 point blow out is especially sweet.  Let's hope our kids keep their heads on straight and keep doing whatever it takes to get a little bit better each and every week.

Roll Tide!

Know your enemy- Mississippi State Bulldogs

We travel to Starkville to open up SEC play against the fighting Bulldogs of Mississippi State. By sheer coincidence (cough cough) Dee Bost is back with the team as well as Renardo Sidney. Here's an article on Sidney's SEC debut.

Stats

Ravern Johnson comes into the game as the SEC leading scorer. With the addition of the guys above I suspect the offense will kick it up a notch. Kodi Augustus leads the team in boards (8.1) and will be a problem inside (with Sidney... as long as Sidney don't brawl with his teammates).

State comes in on a 2 game losing streak while we're on a 3 game winning streak. State has been idle for a week.

Prediction: The movable force vs the resistable object... something has got to stand up. My guess is M$U... we haven't won on the road and I can't think of a good reason to believe we will today. M$U by 12.

Game time is 4PM EST (3PM CST) on the SEC Network.

Sorry for the brief preview... didn't have time yesterday to think one out completely.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Mid-Season SEC Predictions

Believe it or not, we're at the halfway mark of the season as conference play gets underway tomorrow. Before that happens, let's catch up with our preseason conference predictions and update those predictions based on what we've seen so far.

My preseason predictions had Florida winning the East with Ole Miss in the West. DJC and Bobby, as usual, were smarter and picked Kentucky in the East. Bobby also picked Ole Miss in the West. DJC picked Mississippi State, which had to have been difficult for him given his disdain for the program. The general consensus was the SEC would send 4-5 teams to the tournament. The three of us had Alabama finishing between 3rd and 4th in the division.

Obviously at this point it's too early to point and laugh at those predictions, but I think it's safe to say that Vandy has been a little better than we thought, the SEC West is worse than any of us could have imagined and who knows what the hell Tennessee will do going forward.

So here are my own updated SEC predictions.

SEC East

1] Kentucky - UK has been much better than I thought they would be without Enes Kanter. Terrence Jennings has been a beast for this team, and Josh Harrellson has been the X-factor with his play. While this Kentucky team isn't as dominant as last year, they still appear to be the team to beat going forward.

2] Vanderbilt - The Commodores have been a bit of a surprise so far. We all knew Jeff Taylor and John Jenkins would be productive, but Festus Ezeli has been the real surprise. Coming into the season, one of the questions Vandy faced was could they replace Ogilvey. Ezeli might not have the scoring touch of Ogilvey, but he's much tougher and he's a far better rebounder and defender.. This is not the soft Vandy teams we've seen in recent years. Unfortunately, their lack of a true point guard may catch up to them at some point.

3] Florida - I was almost ready to write the Gators off after a home loss to Jacksonville, but they have been playing much better in recent weeks. Macklin has been pretty good in the middle, but their perimeter trio of Boynton, Walker and Parsons continues to be erratic. Their freshman class also hasn't been as productive as I thought they would be. Nevertheless, this team should easily notch 10-11 wins in this year's edition of the SEC.

4] Tennessee - Much better than they looked for much of December, but also difficult to know how they will finish due to those struggles. They rocked Memphis the other night, but Memphis is overrated. I guess we will find out what this team is made of in the next eight games as Pearl serves his suspension.

5] Georgia - I thought about placing them a slot higher, but who have they beaten? They didn't look too good in Orlando earlier in the season. We'll have a better idea on Saturday as Kentucky visits Athens.

6] South Carolina - This team is better than they appear, though a lifeless effort at home against Boston College was not a good sign. If they were playing in the West division, I would be tempted to pick them to win it. Alas, they play in the good division. Sorry, guys.

SEC West

I'm not projecting anyone in the West because it's too damn hard. Ole Miss has shown a pulse, but hasn't beaten anyone of note with the possible exception of Murray State. Mississippi State should be better with their top three players back, but who knows what the chemistry will be like for that team? Arkansas is a lot like Bama: good against mediocre to bad competition; terrible against good teams. To their credit, they did beat Seton Hall on a neutral floor, though Seton Hall didn't have their best player. Auburn has been terrible all year, but they notched the best non-conference victory for the division by beating Florida State last week. Frankie Sullivan returning from injury has been good for that team. And, finally, LSU has done nothing of note.

All in all, it's been a rather unforgettable start to the season for the West division. With no true favorite, any team could win the division right now. Yes, even Alabama.

As far as the postseason goes: Right now I only see four teams (Kentucky, Vandy, Florida and Tennessee) as being tournament-caliber teams. And, again, who knows what Tennessee will do? A team like Georgia certainly could play itself into position. Right now, I see no teams from the West that look like tournament teams. Ole Miss could be a possibility.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Tide terrorizes Toledo 83-41

Toledo is one of the worst teams I have seen in a long time. We probably could have pulled 5 random dudes out of the stands and came away with a win. The final was 83-41, but we could have beat them 110-20 if we wanted to. God help the 3 teams that somehow lost to that bunch.

Treveor Releford did not start, but he played 13 minutes coming in off the bench as he was recovering from the flu. Senario Hillman got the start instead at PG. Yes, you read that right, Senario Hillman started at PG, and actually did a good job. His on ball defense was spectacular. He had 4 steals and forced the Toledo PG into numerous turnovers.

The big news of the night was the return of Andrew Steele. He ran the court well, but appeared to me to still not be quite 100% as quick as he once was. He played good defense, and while he only made one 3 point shot, he had a couple go down and come back out. I was hoping he could help at the backup PG spot, but he mostly played the 2 when he was in the game. He has a good looking shot, and if he can get them to start falling it will help us out a lot by giving us another shooter off the bench to compliment Charvez.

Speaking of Charvez, dude is en fuego. Now, he needs to finally show he can keep it up on the road. We played pretty much the entire roster last night and used a lot of different combinations. We passed up quite a few open shots in order to run more offense, and at times we appeared to be just going through the motions, but I think everyone is looking ahead to Saturday.

Two guys who did not play last night were Charles Hankerson and Jason Carter. I assumed Hankerson was still recovering from his car accident, but I later learned that both were suspended, but could possibly be available Saturday. I have no idea what they did, but I am assuming it was not too serious, as they were both at the game.

The crowd was one the smallest of the season, probably 2,000 or so at best. The students still haven't returned from winter break, and the orange bowl was being played at the same time, so that's no huge surprise. Up next, a trip to the dump at cow college west, where $leazy $tansbury finally gets to play with his full semi-pro squad. Tip off is set for 3pm and will be televised on the SEC network.

3 IN A ROW- Davis, Mitchell lead Bama to easy win over Rockets 83-41

Box score

I did not see or hear a minute of the game, but it seems like we've found a rhythm to our rotation of players. Andrew Steele played 15 minutes... a guy that I thought was key to us having a successful season. Glad to see him back out there. Also, praise has to be given to Eblen... who's been dogged by many fans... for another solid game (4 assist/0 turnovers). I realize the competition wasn't good, but when you beat down teams you're supposed to beat down I'm happy.

We outscored (obviously), outrebounded, shut them down offensively, and got them to turn the ball over 25 times.

Next up... @ Starkville Saturday where surprise-surprise... Stansbury gets all of his key players back. That's going to be a tough game.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Mississippi State reinstates Renardo Sidney

I guess we should have seen this coming, but it was made official today. Meanwhile, the co-captain of the team, Elgin Bailey, has been sent packing...er, I mean will transfer.

Pat Forde let loose on Stansbury with both barrels at his blog on ESPN. Stansbury had better hope Sidney doesn't blow up again. In the short term what this means is that Alabama will of course travel to Starksville to face a Mississippi State with all three of its star players (Ravern Johnson, Dee Bost and Sidney) assuming Sidney doesn't assault anyone before tip-off. With those three playing together State is a much better team, particularly at home.

auburn tickets for sale

auburn university has finally given up on selling their 6 game packs, and released individual game tickets for sale here. I just picked up a pair in Section 106 myself. Let's fill their new arena with Crimson, as this should be one of our best chances to pick up a road win this year. The game is Saturday, Jan. 22 at 5pm.

Know your enemy- Toledo Rockets

I keep wanting to call them the Mudhens for some reason... anyways, here's a writeup from their site regarding the game tonight.

The Rockets come into this game winning 3 of its last 4 after starting the season 0-9. They're AUful... got beat down by UNC Wilmington 64-42 on December 30th. To their credit they have played some good competition in Illinois, Temple, College of Charleston, and Cincinnati.

Here's a link to their season stats.

Bottomline: they're not a good shooting team (41.5%), can't score (59.5PPG), and turn the ball over a lot (16 per game). Leading scorers Malcolm Griffin and Delino Dear average 10.2 PPG. If you're looking for a positive on this team they do hold opponents to 44.3% from the field and are about even in the rebound war.

Prediction- destruction. This should be another beat down. Green should dominate inside, Hines should come close to another double-double, Davis should continue his hot shooting at home and Releford should be able to e=penetrate with relative ease. Bama by 27.

Game time is 8PM EST (7PM CST). Be there, find a radio, or find a stream online to listen to it. I'll be honest... I probably won't as the beach is calling.