Basketball: We’re witnessing something special

If the measure of a well-coached team is seeing marked improvement as the season progresses, then what we are witnessing in Tuscaloosa is something special.

Saturday night Alabama continued its furious stretch in conference play with a 69-56 win over the Arkansas Razerbacks, avenging an earlier season loss to the Hogs in Fayetteville.

The Tide (18-8, 10-2) clinched the SEC West and at the moment holds a half game lead over Florida for the overall top spot in the conference.

This team is playing together like the Boston Pops, each player seemingly knowing his role and performing at the highest possible level.

What makes it so remarkable is that prior to Dec. 21, Bama was 5-6 with embarrassing losses to teams like the St. Peter’s Peacocks. Since then Alabama is 13-2, head coach Anthony Grant performing the kind of coaching job that starts talk of contract extensions.

Now, a few concessions…the SEC doesn’t appear to be very strong this year, though records can be deceiving. Regardless, there are a couple of Tiger teams playing in the West that couldn’t cut it in the Sun Belt. And with the season’s slow start, Bama’s RPI still isn’t quite where it needs to be to go ahead and punch their dance ticket.

But watching players come into being is more than encouraging.

Tony Mitchell is absolutely dominant with Gerald Wallace-like highlights. Trevor Releford sees creases that aren’t there and dishes like Isaiah Thomas. JaMychal Green, one of the softest players (to me) last season has become a force. Chris Hines quietly goes about his business to clean the glass and score when needed. Senario Hillman could grab a stack of quarters off the top of the backboard. Charvez Davis and Andrew Steele play their supporting roles brilliantly with more of the same smothering Bama defense and clutch baskets. Ben Eblen comes off the bench in a way that makes Antoine Pettway proud.

As the FSN broadcast concluded and the teams shook hands, one commentator aptly put it best: “Alabama is playing at a high level where nobody in the country wants a piece of them right now. They can play with anybody.”

Maybe he was just caught up in the emotion of a fantastic game, and certainly Kansas or Duke wouldn’t be racked with fear to play Alabama.

But watching this team right now, I’m pretty certain Anthony Grant’s squad wouldn’t fear the Jayhawks or Blue Demons either.

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7 Comments

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  1. 3
    bamadon

    Bama is on a roll right now and they need to play UAB next
    year or in the NCAA tournment next month!! RTR
    Indy Vol how are the vols doing? Vandy will destroy the
    vols in Nashville tuesday night. HAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. 4
    tblakney

    I would like to see Mal and Assocs. lock down our coach. He is the man we need to go to the level we deserve out of basketball. If you look at the support side of this equasion its their if you put a good product on the floor.

  3. 5
    finebammer

    to begin with, we have no business lowering ourselves to play alabama-birmingham. they need us, we DON’T NEED THEM.

    anytime the alabama-b’ham players walk on the court with us, the final score matters not, they’ve won. don’t buy into this ‘ya’ll are chicken’ crap.

    if i had my way, we wouldn’t play alabama-b’ham in anything.

    don’t ever forget the whining, sniveling letter gene bartow wrote to the ncaa as he was getting his recruiting head handed to him by wimp basically implying wimp had learned to cheat from Coach Bryant.

    Coach Bryant was unable to defend himself as he had been interned at elmwood for about three years at that point.

    that element still exists in the southside. there are NO friends of the university at alabama-b’ham. if i walked up on bartow on a southside sidewalk and he was burning to death, i wouldn’t piss on him.

    that said, it’s going to be interesting to see if the selection committee turns their backs on precedence and gives alabama an at-large. (should they not win a berth outright – which it seems they have a legitimate shot at)

    personally, i don’t think they will but hope they prove me wrong.

    traditionally, the selection committee has put more importance on out-of-conference performance. alabama’s is pathetic this season. couple that with the conference being perceived – rightly or wrongly – as being down and it makes me believe we’ll have to win our way in.

    my hope is that grant is preaching this to the team.

    while the conference may be down, somebodies got to win the damn thing, might as well be us!

    on green: i still think he’s a soft bonehead. he’s constantly screwing up down low when time after time grant sets plays up for him. if he didn’t have a decent free throw shooting percentage, he’d be worthless.

    on hillman: yeah, he can jump out of the gym, but he’s dumb as a box of rocks. very low basketball i q.

    overall, considering the pieces grant has had to work with this year, to be in this spot at this point in the season highlights the tremendous coaching job he’s done. wimp always said if you defend your homecourt and win a few on the road you’ve done a good job.

    i look forward to basketball teams in tuscaloosa with higher b’ball i q’s and a legitimate inside presence.

    go win it all, grant!

    RTR!

  4. 6
    jimmyo

    I agree with everything said in the above article, with exception to Charvez Davis. He is garbage! I love Hillman, but his outside shot is non-existant. If we just had a serviceable 2 we would be freakin scary next month!

  5. 7
    ITK

    Hopefully Grant will keep adding players (like Releford) to the mix that he’s evaluated and sees a future for. I just like what I see. A team that crashes the boards like we do is just flat out hard to defeat.

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