Thursday, March 1, 2012

'Bama has a beautiful ugly win vs Little Brother

Let's get defensive people.

Once again, Anthony Grant's defensive minded team held an opponent under 50 points and in the process pulled out its 5th win in a row over Auburn. Its wasn't a pretty win but it was beautiful in the fact that the Tide will now go dancing this March. It was one of Alabama's worst shooting performances of the year, but because 'Bama gets after it on the other end of the floor, they were in a position to secure the win, which is exactly what they did when given the opportunity.

With its win over Auburn, Alabama has secured its first NCAA tournament berth since 2006. Now we're just playing for seeding and depending how this weekend and next plays out, 'Bama could rise to a 7 or 6 seed. Its RPI and strength of schedule numbers are great and its playing its best basketball of the year, winning 7 of their last 9 games.

Wednesday's heroes included....

Andrew Steele, who was struggling from the floor. Had not scored the entire game and then in a span of a few possessions, scored 4 of the games most critical points, helping propel 'Bama to a slim lead. Steele has a high basketball IQ, something that is undervalued in today's game. Because of this he is always making the right play, decision or having a positive affect on the game.

Ben Eblen, who hardly ever plays extended minutes, played what amounted to the last 13 minutes of the game. Eblen's defense changed the flow of the game and even though he wouldn't shoot, he did run the offense and allowed 'Bama to continue to feed the ball inside to Jaymichael Green.

Jaymicahel Green, the much maligned senior in the past few weeks has rebounded and came back strong in the last two wins. His final home game in Coleman delivered a double double and a tip in putback in the final seconds that ended up being the decisive basket.

Now with 'Bama Basketball entering March with a purpose, this could be a very dangerous team in the NCAA Tournament. A win in Oxford vs Ole Miss, a place Alabama has traditionally struggled, could push this team towards a 7 seed. They could go even higher with a semi-final run in the SEC Tournament. Alabama will be in any game they play against any opponent, because they play sound defense. If they are hitting shots like they did vs Miss St, then they can take down any team. If not, the game becomes a low scoring slugfest and they will still be a tough team to beat the next two weekends.

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