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Know your enemy- Providence Friars

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Probably one of the coolest team names on the planet… in one of the coolest town in the northeast… they come into this game 9-1 and relatively untested. This is the best start to a season they’ve had in a while. Before they take us on they got Boston College on Wednesday. Let’s hope that one goes to 4OTs.

Big time scoring threats in Marshon Brooks and Vincent Council at 21.4 and 17.1 PPG. Other than that they have issues on the offensive end. Bilal Dixon and Brooks average 10.2 and 8.6 rebounds so we REALLY need Hines and Mitchell blocking them out as much as possible.

I’m concerned about Council. I think he’ll carve us up with penetration. We don’t have a guard that can man up to him.

Good news… they can’t shoot from 3 worth a damn… and despite the crappy competition they’re only shooting 45.7% from the field overall. The bench is thin as only 7 see the court for more than a cup of coffee.

Stats

Keys to the game (changing things up):
- get the ball out of Council’s hands. I say assign Hillman to him.
- Charvez needs to have a big game shooting.
- play even on the rebound war.
- get the lead early… lead/be within 5 at halftime.
- play with some DAMN emotion.

Prediction: I blame DJC. We’re 0-4 when he attends a road/neutral site game so far (I’m 0-2) and I suspect it continues. Until we find some sort of offensive identity there’s no way I can call a win on the road. Friars by 12.

Game is December 11th at 2PM EST (1PM CST) on ESPNU. No excuse not to watch this… sssupport the team and let’s hope I’m wrong.

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Quick Update On The Incoming Class

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available on at this link to the tidesports web site.

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Boilers Beat up Bama

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The 19 point loss is the worst of the Coach Grant era so far. Unless we start playing better, there will be many more to come this year. I understand that JaMychal Green has started practicing with the team again, but he did not make the trip. I think we were overly concerned about getting beat in the post and stuck with the zone defense for too long. We were very poor in the zone, and were slow to close out on their shooters. Once they got hot, especially #33, there was no stopping them.

I was disappointed with the team’s body language coming into the game. During the starting lineups and pregame, everybody had their heads down and there was very little emotion or communication. I would think they would be fired up, jumping around and excited about playing a top 20 team on the road on national television. Maybe I am reading too much into that, and I know it probably doesn’t have anything to do with what happened on the court, but it bothered me that we didn’t seem excited to be there.

We hung with them for the first 15 minutes or so until their shots started falling, and then things just got progressively worse. I said before the game to have any chance at all we would need a big shooting day from Davis, Hillman, and Mitchell. They were a combined 0 for 8 from downtown. We did not make a single 3 point shot. This might be the worst shooting team I have ever seen.

Ben Eblen plays hard, and I appreciate all the hard work he puts into the program, but he is simply not an SEC caliber player. We would be better off using Durant as the backup PG. I would even be fine with playing Releford 40 minutes per game like Gottfried did with Ron Steele at this point. Eblen had 0 assists and 4 turnovers. I once read somewhere that the assist/turnover statistic is the most reliable predictor of the outcome in college basketball games. We had 8 assists and 18 turnovers. That is pathetic.

You have to give credit to Purdue. They are a very sound fundamental team. We have athletes, but they have basketball players. Their man to man defense is a thing of beauty. Painter is a very good coach. We tried to press to pick up the pace of the game, but they calmly broke it and got into their halfcourt offense. It was mostly a halfcourt game, and we had no chance in that style of play. Purdue might win the SEC if they played our schedule. Honestly, we didn’t belong on the same court with them.

Overall, it was still a good experience. I was sitting behind the basket and right across the stairs from the Purdue band. Most of their fans were extremely knowledgeable and very friendly. A few of their band nerds tried to give me a hard time, but that’s to be expected. They weren’t overly obnoxious or aggressive. They do seem to have an inferiority complex with Indiana. Several people went out of their way to let us know how much they hate IU, and their students had organized “IU Sucks” chants. Mackey Arena holds over 14,000, and it was nearly packed, with only a couple hundred empty seats at the top behind one of the baskets. We had a total of about 20 fans there. The atmosphere was great, probably the 2nd best I’ve seen behind Kentucky. The arena is currently undergoing badly needed renovations. Frankly, the place is a dump. It’s all bench seats, there is no lobby area to speak of, and the concourses are bland and ugly. Scroll down to see a few pics from the game, around campus, and me ice skating later that night (this was before I busted my ass).

No midweek game this week as the players will be taking their finals. Study hard and good luck, boys, we can’t afford to lose any more of you. Up next, we go to Providence to play the Friars in the Dunkin Donuts Center next Saturday. Tipoff is 2pm EST, 1 Central, and will be televised on ESPNU. I will be there, and I understand the Boston and New York alumni chapters are organizing a trip, so hopefully we will have a decent following.








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Purdue Pulverizes Pachyderms

Alabama
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Bama did not have any offensive punch, made too many mental errors, and did not cover the Boilermakers’ shooters effectively in the zone defense.  There was one bright note.  When the Tide did get to the line they made almost all of their free throws.  Here’s a box score

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Boilermakers bash Bama

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We played them close for the first 15 minutes until we hit a Gottfried scoring drought of 7 minutes. Purdue is far superior to us and proved it the last 25.

Purdue killed us from 3… While we stunk it up. If Releford doesn’t penetrate I don’t know how we score. We are terrible offensively. We have no leader on the court, outside of Davis… no shooter, outside of Green (suspended)… no inside threat. I don’t see it getting better come SEC play.

DJC will have a more detailed report I assume. We lose 66-47. Quite honestly I’m disgusted at how we are playing. I expected Purdue to win… But they didn’t play great and still dominated.

Outside of holding them under 70 I can’t think of anything we did well. I probably should’ve been one of those football only fans and watched Oregon-Oregon St or the 1st half of the Barn-Gamecock game.

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Purdue Preview

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They lost their best player to injury for the season, but are still 6-1 and ranked number 18 in the nation. They have been dominate at home, but have not really played any tough games in Mackey Arena yet. Purdue is returning home from a 2 game road trip where they suffered their only loss to a good Richmond team, and bounced back with an overtime win in Blacksburg over Virginia Tech. Last year they came into Tuscaloosa as a top 10 team and we blew a huge second half against them. They have a big guy who is fairly athletic and has a good jump shot, which could create some matchup problems for us. I predict we hang with them in the first half, but lack of depth in the post does us in down the stretch. Purdue by 14.

I will be at the game, sitting about 7 rows behind one of the baskets. It’s 28 degrees here, and we got about 3 inches of snow last night, and it’s still coming down. It’s quite a change after being in the Virgin Islands just a little over a week ago. We got in late last night so haven’t had time to check out the campus or anything yet, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with what I have seen from the Lafayette/West Lafayette towns so far. Tip off is 3:30 EST, 2:30 Central on ESPN2. RTR!

Edit: A couple of pics of the skating rink and Wabash river, courtesy of my girlfriend.


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Bama 72 USA 50

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We started off sluggish, and trailed the first 8 minutes of the game. Ronnie Arrow had a good defensive gameplan for us, playing a lot of zone and switching to a soft man to try to limit our ability to penetrate. Thankfully, Charvez Davis came in and starting making some perimeter shots to open things up. Davis, Hillman, and Mitchell all had good games, and Chris Hines was solid in the post.

We continue to have way too many turnovers, especially in the first half of games. This will kill us against good teams on the road. Hankerson struggled again on offense, with 2 turnovers and no assists or points. His defense has improved. Obviously Coach Grant sees practice everyday and I do not, but based upon what I am seeing in the games my starting lineup right now would be: 1. Releford 2. Davis 3. Hillman 4. Mitchell 5. Hines.

We gave up a disturbing number of baskets in the first half because we got beat in transition. We finished the half strong and were able to take a 10 point lead into the half. In the second half, things started clicking and we forced a number of turnovers with the 2-2-1 press which led to some easy layups and dunks. Tony Mitchell had one incredible dunk on alley oop pass from Ben Eblen that appeared to be heading to the top of the backboard, but somehow Mitchell got up, caught the ball, and slammed it home. There was one sloppy spell in the 2nd half where we allowed them to cut the 20 point lead down to 13, but for the most part we were in control of the game.

JaMychal Green was still nowhere to be found. We are very thin in the post right now. We switched to a zone everytime Engstrom came into the game, presumably because it’s easier for him to guard the general area under the basket than risk being isolated on someone one on one. He did make 2 free throws, which is better than most everybody else from the line. Jason Carter made a couple of nice plays while he was in there, but these guys just aren’t ready to be significant contributors in big games at this point. It was good to see Jason Carter back after his injury in the last game. Unfortunately, I will be surprised if Andrew Steele plays again this year. He is on crutches and not moving very good.

The crowd was surprisingly decent for a Wednesday night game, probably close to 6,000 or so. There was a strong student turnout, likely due to a promotion featuring an Ipad giveaway. Up next, our first true road game, and it will be a tough one as we go to West Lafayette, IN on Saturday to take on the 18th ranked Purdue Boilermakers. Tip off is 3:30 Eastern, 2:30 Central.

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Know your enemy- South Alabama Jaguars

Alabama
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Another cupcake comes to town for hopefully a thorough butt-whipping. They haven’t showed up on the road in their previous games so I’m expecting this to continue.
Season stats

Tim Williams and Martino Brock pull double digit PPG while Augustine Rubit cleans the boards at 7.4 RPG. The roster has exactly one guy over 6’6″ and that guy plays (Gowins)sparingly. They pretty much suck in every aspect of the game right now.

Stats:
- 37.4% FG
- 31% 3PT FG
- 62.7% FT
- -3.4 rebound margin
- -8 PPG scoring margin

Prediction: bloodshed… we should absolutely maul the Jags. We should beat them up inside, force a ton of turnovers, and run them to the ground. Bama by 32.

Game time is 12/1 around 8:30PM EST (7:30PM CST). Usual links.

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Bama beats Bulldogs to break even

Alabama
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The Tide rised back to .500 with a 76-50 win over Alabama A&M. Charles Hankerson got the first start of his young career in place of the suspended Green. Hankerson made the most of his opportunity, playing very good defense, making a 3 pointer, protecting the basketball, and scoring 8 points. Tony Mitchell really stepped up his game down low, pulling down 15 reboundings and adding 12 points. We had 4 players score in double digits, with Chris Hines giving us a solid 10 in the post and Charvez Davis adding 11 from the perimeter. Ben Eblen even scored 6, going 3 for 4 on layups.

It was obvious from the start of the game that the Bulldogs would not be able to hang. We went on an early run to build the lead and never looked back. We did get a little sloppy about midway through the first half when AAMU finally realized they couldn’t play a full court game with us and switched to a 2-3 zone. We were much more crisp in the halfcourt offense later in the half and in the 2nd half. The intensity and energy was much better than it has been the last 2 games, with the guys on the bench seeming much more into the game and vocal.

Jason Carter suffered an injury in the 2nd half, which was unfortunate because he was playing a very good game. He appeared to be in a lot of pain and the trainers spent a fair amount of time checking out his right knee. He did not return, but appeared to be walking much better by the end of the game. With JaMychal’s suspension we are already very thin in the post. Hopefully Carter will be okay.

I criticize the officials a fair amount on here and at the games, but they have a difficult and thankless job and for the most part they do the best they can. Rick Hartzell, one of the officials, was injured in the 2nd half when an Alabama A&M player dived to save a ball and knocked him into the scorer’s table. He appeared to hit his side on the padded edge of the table, but with the weight of the rather large bulldog upon him. It took him several minutes to catch his breath before going back to the locker room to be looked at. He returned several minutes later, but after running up and down the court twice, realized he could not make it and walked back off. I sincerely hope his injury is not too serious and he makes a speedy recover. He was in the right position at the time, it was just one of those fluke plays and he had nowhere to go.

Without knowing the full story, I will not offer an opinion on Green’s suspension. At this point, I trust Coach Grant and hope it’s the best decision for all involved. I hope it is something minor and he is able to return soon.

The crowd at the game was pathetic, maybe 3,000 or so in attendance. AAMU brought a fair amount of fans, including one who apparently thought he was on the coaching staff. Sporting a maroon coat and tie, he literally stood on the front step behind AAMU’s basket for the first 10 minutes of the game shouting instructions to his team loudly enough for the entire gym to hear. UAPD officers finally sent him to his seat, where he was shown several times on the jumbotron throughout the rest of the game looking rather displeased.

Up next, the South Alabama Jaguars come to Tuscaloosa for an approximate 7:30 pm tipoff Wednesday night at Coleman. I say approximate, because the game will actually start 30 minutes following the conclusion of the women’s game against Alabama State, which will tip off at 5 p.m. So if you have time, get there a little early and support the women too, who are having a very good season with only one close loss to a top 15 team.

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JaMychal Green suspended indefinitely

Alabama
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Green has been indefinitely suspended for “conduct detrimental to the team”. According to a team spokesperson, the suspension is due to a “basketball matter”.

This doesn’t surprise me much since I figured a shake-up was in order after the trip to the Virgin Islands. JaMychal has incredible potential as a player but inconsistency has dogged him from the beginning of his career in Tuscaloosa. With this being his second suspension in less than a year, could it mean the end of his career in Tuscaloosa?

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