SEC Morning Five: 12.08.11 Edition
Posted by Gerald Smith on December 8th, 2011
- Another set of games, another entry in the archive of “OH NO, SEC!” Tonight’s folly is provided by Alabama in its 74-62 loss to Dayton. The Crimson Tide’s 2-3 zone defense was pounded by 10-19 shooting from three by the Flyers. Similar to the Georgetown game, ‘Bama let themselves get behind early (down 38-27 at halftime) and couldn’t score enough in the second half to overcome the deficit. In its two losses this season, Alabama has allowed 41.2% (Georgetown) and 52.3% (Dayton) three-point shooting for their opponents. Anthony Grant’s team is not built to pour in the points through up-tempo play; he and his team will need to find a way to defend outside shooting if they want to re-enter the Top 25 after this week.
- Joining Alabama in the SEC Shame Loss Review is Georgia, who lost 68-56 in Athens to Georgia Tech for the first time in 35 years. With a little over fifteen minutes left in the second half, the Yellow Jackets went on a 12-0 run to pull away from their rivals. Once again, a team-wide poor shooting performance — 17-49 (34.7%) FG, 6-23 (26.1%) 3FG — chained the Bulldogs down on their own home court. Sophomore forward Donte’ Williams, praised earlier in the week by coach Mark Fox as “a much better player today than he was a month ago” was held to just three points and three rebounds in 20 foul-limited minutes. This 4-5 Georgia team squandered an opportunity to give itself some hope for an NCAA bubble appearance. Its next game against Southern California is their last, desperate chance to improve its non-conference RPI.
- In SEC action that’s doesn’t involve bad losses, Florida outlasted Arizona in overtime, 78-72, giving the Gators a much-needed strong RPI win for their non-conference schedule. The Gators took control of the game in the second half using the offensive rebounding of Patric Young (25 points, 10 rebounds, six offensive rebounds) and the long arms of Will Yeguete (seven points, four steals) to force turnovers. Arizona kept the game tight with nine three-pointers and then used a generous foul call on forward Solomon Hill to force overtime. In the extra period, the Wildcats looked tired and started missing shots that were falling just minutes before. Billy Donovan might had been livid at Hill’s continuation foul but he must be pleased with the way his team handled its business in overtime.
- John Calipari is a coach of the people. Last week, he opened up an interactive poll on his web site that sought the opinion of the Big Blue Nation — as though getting Kentucky fans to voice their opinion requires asking — on which of the basketball team’s traditional rival games could be dropped. The overwhelming winner is Indiana with 69% of the drop-them vote, followed by North Carolina (23%) and Louisville (8%). The coach tweeted today that, “dropping [one] annual [head-to-head] series allows me to schedule more neutral site games like the KU, Duke, MSU classic. [You] wanna play ’em, we schedule ’em.” ESPN’s college basketball blogger Eamonn Brennan notes that Calipari’s attempt to crowdsource the schedule and keep the UK fanbase engaged is just the latest example of why he is perfect for leading the Wildcats and their fans.
- The SEC expanded schedule is just around the corner, with Texas A&M and Missouri joining the league next season. This season Mizzou filled coach Mike Anderson‘s vacancy with Frank Haith. The new coach cut out the full-court press and installed some offensive tweaks that has helped propel the Tigers to a #10 AP ranking and an 8-0 record. After Missouri’s impressive rout of Villanova on Wednesday, Ballin’ is a Habit reported that the team feels better without Anderson: “It’s no secret that this group did not enjoy their final year under the tutelage of Mike Anderson. The combination of a short leash, a deep bench and unacceptability of making a mistake made it difficult for the players on this team to get into a rhythm.” We wonder if Arkansas players, now under the tutelage of Anderson, agree with his former players? Or do they now have some new bulletin board material for their first in-conference battle with the Tigers next year?