SEC Morning Five: Thanksgiving EditionPosted by Brian Joyce on November 24th, 2011
- Alabama’s 6-0 start has put the college basketball community on full alert. Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports writes about the ten things that have impressed him so far in this early season, and Alabama’s solid play is the first mention. He cites the excellent defense from Anthony Grant‘s Crimson Tide and assertiveness of forward Tony Mitchell. Mitchell and his thunderous dunks have been impressive thus far, helping this Alabama squad enter the discussion as one of the SEC’s best teams, an exclusive club of which they were not a member in the preseason. Grant’s exciting athletes and intense defense has brought praise not only for the Crimson Tide, but the legitimacy of the Southeastern Conference.
- But don’t get too comfortable, Alabama fans. The injury bug that has hit multiple SEC teams thus far is headed to Tuscaloosa. JaMychal Green was held out of Wednesday’s game Alabama A&M with a hip pointer. And the Tide’s leading scorer, Mitchell, left the game on crutches. The Daily Bama Blog reports that Mitchell’s injury appears to be only a sprained ankle. “When it happened I’m sure it was painful, but I think our medical staff will do a great job making sure he’s healthy,” coach Grant said. A huge sigh of relief for Alabama as both Mitchell and Green are crucial to the Tide’s success. Alabama returns to action Sunday against VCU, and both players should be back in action.
- The guys at Anchor of Gold spent some time praising Jeffery Taylor’s outstanding defensive presence. Taylor was assigned to Oregon State star Jared Cunningham who was coming off a 35-point effort against Hofstra and a 37-point massacre of Texas. When Taylor matched up with Cunningham one-on-one, Cunningham went 2-6 and managed 7 points in 28 minutes of action. Defensive specialist Dai-Jon Parker spelled Taylor for spurts and held Cunningham to 2 points in 8 minutes. Taylor and Parker’s perimeter defense remains key to Vanderbilt‘s success this season. A number of athletic and high scoring guards from Kentucky, Florida, and others will come into Nashville this season, and Taylor will need to repeat his “ferocious” defensive effort for the Commodores to continue to string together victories.
- John Calipari‘s Kentucky Wildcats played a little 2-3 zone in their 88-40 route of Radford on Wednesday night. “I think it’s something that we need to think about doing some,” Calipari said. “And we’ve got to get better than we are right now.” A zone could be a viable option on defense for the Cats because of Kentucky’s length and athleticism. “I don’t see us giving up wide-open shots because we’re so big,” Calipari said about the possibilities of playing more zone. “I would probably do it with a big lineup so that every shot is a contested shot.” Kentucky has just over a week and a half to figure out what defense to play before the Cats take on the number one ranked North Carolina Tar Heels.
- It’s an abbreviated Morning Five today as we encourage you to enjoy the holiday. And of course, enjoy lots and lots of college basketball. Happy Thanksgiving to all SEC fans. May your dunks be thunderous and your defense be ferocious.