Bama basketball a nice surprise

In the doldrums that post-football season brings, Alabama basketball has turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Let’s face it, basketball in the south (outside of the state of Kentucky) is little more than an appetizer to the main course. If this were Chili’s, basketball would be the Texas Cheese Fries; baseball would be Southwestern Egg Rolls.

But this year’s cheese fries are an impressive bunch. Smothering, relentless defense defines this team, not unlike the brand of ball once employed by Nolan Richardson’s Razorback teams.

Bama’s overall record isn’t that impressive, standing currently at 13-7. In fact, when they began league play they were only 8-6. But it’s what they’ve become in league play that makes this team’s evolution fun to watch.

I have to admit, when the Tide dropped a 50-49 contest to the Peacocks of St. Peter’s early in the season, I threw in the early towel.

But the difference in this team and…well…almost every other one since Wimp Sanderson’s scowl adorned the Bama bench, is coaching. Anthony Grant is a fantastic basketball coach, and I predict the investment in him will pay big dividends in the near future.

But like Wimp’s teams, defense is the gateway to success.

In twenty games so far this season, Tide opponents have eclipsed the 60-pt. mark only six times. Bama is 1-5 in those games, the lone win coming over Kentucky. But when the Tide prevents its foe from more than that mark, they are 12-2.

“It’s about players finding their roles, and doing them,” said Grant after the LSU game Saturday. He alluded to players earlier in the year feeling that they had to put up big points, when the secret has really been defense.

As Bama nursed a 26-point lead with under thirty seconds to play Saturday night, and yet still employed the full-court press, I couldn’t help but smile. And as the cameras hit Anthony Grant, so was he. His team is slowly becoming the nightmare he has wanted them to be.

Alabama (13-7, 5-1) now boasts the best record in the SEC, and is a game and a half ahead of Arkansas in the West.

The Tide will be back in action Wednesday with 7:00 p.m. home game against Mississippi State (11-9, 3-3).

(Follow me on Twitter for news, commentary and smack.)


Add Yours
  1. 2

    Defense and more defense has made national champs at Alabama several times. The basketball team may be limited
    in scoring on offense but they can get in somebodys jock
    on defense and it is wonderful to watch!! ROLL TIDE!!!!!!

  2. 3

    I’ve noticed an increased interest in the program this year – at Coleman – the students are way into it more than I’ve seen in years!

    I’ve always believed that a strong hoop program helps recruiting in football on a national perspective. It’s about branding – and march madness will include Alabama in the near future – not the one and done Elite 8 run Mark G. had umpteen years ago – I know A. G. doesn’t have the “persona” of Saban but this guy can coach – he’s all about discipline and team play – give him 1-2 years of recruiting the right personnel (a good Center for ex) to run his style of offense/defense execution – we’ll be running things on the real! RTR!

  3. 4

    bama bb – great team -but – offensive looks basketball retarded – dropped balls missed layups….but do not be deceived bama will not make it as a bubble team …must be 10 6 or better in sec must finish in top 4 sec and decent sec tourney showing because of the attrocious pre sec games

  4. 5

    Try 13-3 for us to get in as an at large. SEC West comparable to the Ivy League, except without the I.Q. Maybe C.M. Newton can pull some strings and get us in the NIT!

Comments are closed.