Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hungry for success....

You could feel it in the building. You can see it in the players. The coach said it after the game, that the team is hungry to WIN!

The Building: Coleman Coliseum
The Players: Trevor Releford, Jaymichael Green, Tony Mitchell, Chris Hines, Charvez Davis, Andrew Steele, Senario Hillman, Ben Eblen
The Team: Alabama Crimson Tide
The Coach: Anthony Grant

On his post game show, Anthony Grant said that his players have a hunger to win and be successful. The same could be said of another 15,383 inside Coleman Coliseum as a tired Crimson Tide team (playing a second consecutive Thursday/Saturday road to home turnaround) was struggling with a game Arkansas team. But never at any instant did the Coleman faithful give in or allow their Rocket 8 to give in to the fatigue.

John Pelphrey used an effective game plan, constantly subbing players in an attempt to wear down the Tide, forcing the SEC's best defensive team to play for 35 seconds instead of jacking quick shots, applying nagging full court pressure to Releford the entire game. And it worked, for 28 minutes and a 49-44 lead with 11:58 left in the game.

But somehow Anthony Grant's undermanned team willed itslef to a win with a great assist from a raucous crowd. In the midst of a 25-7 run to close the game, holding the Hogs to 2 field goals and 5 turnovers, it seemed as if the home folks were on their feet for almost the last 8 minutes of the contest. When Trevor Releford's ally-oop pass led to a thunderous 1 hand slam by the high flying Tony Mitchell, the lid blew off the Coliseum and turned a 5 point deficit into a 6 point lead. Time Out Arky!

By far, this was the loudest crowd in Coleman since the 2006 Tennessee/Florida games, when 'Bama knocked off back to back top 10 teams and secured an an NCAA bid behind the marvelous play of Ronald Steele. Alabama scored 59 1st half points shredding Bruce Pearl's diamond press enroute to a rout and they were the last team to beat Florida in '06 as the Gators reeled of 11 straight wins in securing the first of 2 national titles. Also, give Crimson Chaos credit for originality, from the boxing gloves and fight fight fight cheers when Miss. State's Renaldo Sydney was shooting free throws or chanting "Christian Laettner" at Arkansas coach John Pelphrey when he was arguing with the officials last night, the energy provided by the Chaos helps this team tremendously.

Now for Alabama, a program thats been to 19 NCAA tournaments and 7 Sweet Sixteens won just its 3rd SEC West Title since the divisional split in 1992. This is no small accomplishment for Grant's team, despite the fact that the West is down. Nevertheless, Alabama is still in a position to win an outright SEC Title and should finish no worst then 12-4 in conference play. Then energy in the program is off the charts right now, as evidenced by a 4th sell out. The fans are hungry for success and enjoying this ride because Alabama plays so hard on the defensive end of the floor. It leads to fun times and highlight reel plays as Alabama is approaching unheard of numbers of having over 100 dunks on the season.

This not the same team we saw struggling in November/December and its not the same program we saw from 2007-2009. When Alabama was losing close games in 2010, it was said that if you're gonna beat the Tide you better do it then because now this program is rolling and their may be no stopping it in the near future!

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