Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cock Blocked. Bama loses to hapless South Carolina 56-54

There's still a lot of basketball to be played, but this loss was inexcusable.  I know it's difficult to win on the road in the league, but playing in front of a high school sized crowd this should not have been a difficult road environment.  This team seems to lack some intangibles at this point when it comes to finding a way to win close games.

Three things caused us to lose this game: 1. Turnovers, 2. Rebounding 3. Poor shooting.  We've come to expect #3 most nights, but you can't turn the ball over and completely fail to block out and expect to beat anybody on the road.

We scored the first 5 points of the game but then went into a drought which allowed South Carolina to take the lead.  We were obviously the more talented team, but we did not take care of the basketball in the first half.  South Carolina's matchup zone gave us some problems.  Early in the game, we did a good job of rotating the ball to the wings and feeding the post.  USC did a good job of switching to the trap at the right times to catch us off guard.  The rest of the night we were indecisive, stagnant, and our guards routinely missed wide open cutters.

For the most part, we played good defense in the man to man.  It's frustrating that we gave up so many offensive rebounds though.  Green had 3 blocks in one possession, and after that USC seemed content to jack up 3s.  They weren't making them, but we weren't rebounding them either.  Green and Mitchell both ended up in foul trouble, and then Green sprained his ankle in the 2nd half.

Nick Jacobs got the start over Levi Randolph.  Jacobs played a great game, and I thought Levi was our best player on the court at times coming in off of the bench.  He played good defense, was one of the few getting some rebounds, and made a couple of outside shots.  I would have taken Tony Mitchell out of the starting lineup rather than Levi.

Tony played better than he has in the last couple of games, but still, too many turnovers, he was lazy at times, and committed dumb and obvious fouls at the worst possible moments (and then of course bitched at the officials unnecessarily).  At this point, I'm ready to see Grant pull him out of the starting lineup.  It's a gamble, it will either light a fire under him or he will completely shut down, but it's worth the risk because this isn't cutting it.

Despite playing like shit as a team, and JaMychal being hurt and in foul trouble, we were able to stay in the game mostly because South Carolina for some reason decided shooting 30+ three pointers would be a good idea. Neither team could put together a run and the game stayed close down to the end.  As great as Levi played, he made a couple of mistakes that killed us down the stretch.  He took a contested NBA range 3 with around 2 minutes left in a tie game.  We had the ball in a tie game with just under a minute left, and turned it over without even getting a shot off.  That possession was a microcosm for our night offensively.  As a side note, I do not understand why we did not try to go for a 2 for 1 there.  You see the 2 for 1 strategy all the time in the NBA but college teams never utilize it.

Anyway, for once we had fouls to give at the end of the game, and wisely used them to force USC to inbound the ball.  The Gamecock guard simply beat Levi off the dribble.  Green tried to rotate over but was not much help.  I don't understand why JaMychal was in the game on defense in that situation.  It was obvious that he was not able to move very quickly with his injured ankle.  A few moments earlier, he drew a double-team and found an open Levi for a big basket, but I'm not sure what Coach Grant thought he could accomplish on defense at that point.

This is the kind of bad loss that can keep you out of the tournament, and if we don't turn this around quickly, we will find ourselves on the bubble again, at best.

Up next, Mike Anderson's Arkansas Razorbacks come to Coleman Coliseum for a 12:30pm tipoff Saturday.  Arkansas likes to run a fast paced game, and they will present another difficult challenge.  This year has been a major disappointment to date, as we have fallen woefully short of expectations.  Nevertheless, I still think we can get it together and bounce back.  We have the talent to do it.  Coach Grant and the team needs our support now more than ever.  Let's get behind them and help them end this 4 game losing streak.

4 comments:

Nick said...

I've seen some Gottfried-esque offense lately. Everyone stand around the perimeter and pass to someone else.

We don't work the ball down low enough. We also too often have 3-4 guards on the floor and have little to no inside presence.

I also am wondering where Releford's game has gone. I haven't seen much of him driving in the paint and creating.

This loss hurts and we'll have to go on a run to dig out of this hole.

MSmilie said...

We're in deep shit, no doubt about that. However, the beauty of college basketball is you can pull yourself out of a hole just like that. FSU lost at home earlier this season to a mediocre Princeton team, and now are being hyped as the favorite in the ACC (personally, I still feel that North Carolina will win the ACC). Cincinnati lost at home this season to Presbyterian, but have become one of the better teams in the Big East. Hell, even Bama played well after going through that rough spot in December.

Obviously something has to change quickly though. The 10-6, 11-5 hopes we had earlier seem difficult to imagine now, especially with home games left against Florida and MSU, not to mention teams like Ole Miss and Arkansas are playing better. If we can't regain some mojo at home against Arkansas and Ole Miss, we may finally officially be done. If this team shows some heart, wins those two and goes into the Auburn/LSU road trip with some momentum, maybe the team will be okay going into the Florida game.

The implications of each game now are huge.

finebammer said...

this is what i call the uab effect.

it's when a average, or in this case a less than average, team plays of it's heels against an ELITE team then falls off a cliff in the next game.

or two.

or three.

this team can't shoot so it must depend on it's defense.

to do that it must have a floor leader who gets in his teammate's faces when they lag on effort. who's gonna do that?

jamychal green???

alabama was playing some tough defense early and got some bad breaks. they let those breaks rattle them and there was no one there to line them out.

offensively, we've seen this movie. everybody zones until we hit outside. we don't hit outside, it's just gonna be a long nite.

we have some inexperienced talent. we have zero chemistry. grant is absolutely correct when he says we're not playing as a team.

of course, my five year old grandson can see that.

i still say it's early, we can pull out of this funk and peak in time for the sec tourney.

the problem is the schedule.

if we can lose at SC, we can lose at auburn and lsu. easily.

florida and tennessee are gonna be tough games anywhere.

ditto @ arkansas.

this is the mountain to be climbed.

and it's steep.

really steep.

and we've got to drag green and mitchell up it.

Nick said...

Love your last sentence there. The two guys who are our most talented and experienced players are not only not stepping up, but they're dragging the team down.

They both care about themselves and leave the younger players trying to figure out what to do.

Let Nick Jacobs and Moussa Gueye play. They may be raw and inexperienced but they play like they want to be out there.