Saturday, January 28, 2012
Alabama Steele's Win vs Arkansas
Alabama limped into its Saturday matinee game vs Arkansas with a four game losing streak, including a loss to lowly South Carolina, and were called out by Anthony Grant in his post game comments.
The result of all that transpired led to a change in the starting line up, with Senior Jaymichael Green coming off the bench and after a sluggish start, led to an inspired effort by 'Bama against an ever improving Arkansas team.
It looks that with the last 3 meetings between the Hogs and the Tide coming right down to the wire, we are finally seeing a return to the days of the 'Bama/Arky rivalry of the early and mid '90's that produced wildly amazing finishes, high quality basketball and exciting games.
The big story for Alabama in the first half was Trevor Releford's ability to split the Arky defense and push 'Bama to a 7 point lead at the half. After some struggles early in the 2nd half, the Hogs gained a 4 point lead and seemed in control. But the inspired play of Andrew Steele, who recorded career highs in four categories, helped scrape out a much needed win for Alabama.
Steele played 29 minutes, scored 11 points and grabbed 6 boards while dishing out 6 assists. Not bad for a guy who a month ago thought his career was over due to concussions. But since Steele has returned, his play has been superb, just like it was last year. He makes winning plays, always seems to be in the right position on either end of the floor and is the added hustle piece that 'Bama seemed to be missing early in the year.
Truly a great turnaround for the Birmingham kid who followed behind the his brother Ronald Steele's legend and had to go through the whole ordeal of his brother/Mark Gottfried issues the ended one of the most exciting players in Alabama Basketball history career prematurely.
Now 'Bama has a week to fix its problems and get ready for an improved Ole Miss team next Saturday night. As stated before, Alabama's schedule is much friendlier from here on out and they probably need 7 more wins to secure an NCAA berth. 8 will make it a no doubt deal, but this team still has potential to do great things. Its a matter of will they be able to put aside the little side show shenanigans and make it work.
Remember it looked really bleak last year, but Anthony Grant stuck to his principles and everybody else joined the ship for the ride. It looks like he's having to go through the same thing again in 2012. Don't count the Tide out just yet.
Another note, any time the SEC Network decides to send Dave Baker and Kara Lawson, or Dave Neal and Kyle Macy to do a game, I suggest you turn the volume to your tv down and turn up the radio broadcast to the best play by play man in the business, Chris Stewart. Much better option as everybody already knows Stewart should be the football play by play guy too.