Tag Archives: NCAA tournament

Somber locker room was final stop on rocky road for Tide hoops

It’s about time to put a bow on the Alabama basketball season and send it to the history books. Let’s take a look back at was and what could have been for the 2011-12 Crimson Tide …

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The moment redefines uncomfortable silence.

Inside a cramped locker room tucked deep below the massive Greensboro Coliseum sat the Alabama basketball team. Dazed confusion filled the space unoccupied by players, coaches and reporters scribbling notes.

It’s the world you only see through sound bites, but the extra sensory details are lost in two-dimensional recordings. The 58-57 NCAA Tournament loss Creighton delivered 15 minutes earlier came with the weight of reality — the 10-ton and invisible kind.

A season that began with huge recruiting scores, seven straight wins, and a top-12 ranking ended in an instant. The 21-12 record wasn’t the vision back in November. It certainly wasn’t the plan when the Tide rode the wave of momentum straight to the NIT title game a year ago.

JaMychal Green was back. Trevor Lacey and company were arriving. All the pieces were in place. Yet the whispers of a trip New Orleans for the program’s first Final Four never made it past hushed tones.

The suspensions of Tony Mitchell and Green will figure prominently in the obituary of the 2011-12 Alabama basketball team. But the freshman Lacey’s appraisal of his own season could be applied to the group as a whole.

“It’s been some ups and downs,” he said from his seat facing his teammates Friday afternoon. “No one, I’m not going to say everyone, but I know I wasn’t very consistent throughout the season.”

Even at full strength, the Tide had trouble sustaining success.

Click here to read the full story or buy a newspaper.


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Take a look behind scenes of Alabama’s NCAA experience

Now, for the 700th video in Daily Bama Blog history, we present a look at the pregame and postgame scene in Greensboro yesterday. Alabama, you might remember, lost to Creighton 58-57 in the NCAA tournament second round.

 


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Releford was seconds from ultimate glory

AP photo

It was quite a day for basketball across the country. The action was especially hot here in Greensboro. Take a read over today’s story from Alabama’s crushing NCAA tournament loss …

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It was a moment for the dreamers.

Down a point with 2.4 seconds to play in the NCAA tournament, Trevor Releford’s legacy and Alabama’s season hung in the balance. All the elements were there.

Yet, 15 minutes later, a shirtless Releford sat in his locker with a blank stare and a personal pizza on his lap. A joke from a teammate made him smile, but that moment of glory faded into hazy disbelief.

Controversy also swirled in the Greensboro Coliseum back hallways.

Creighton ended Alabama’s season with a 58-57 loss in the NCAA tournament’s second round when Releford’s attempt landed nowhere near the rim. But replays appeared to show Creighton’s Josh Jones made contact with the Alabama sophomore’s hand after the release.

“I feel like he did, but I can’t change it now,” said. “I was shooting my jumper, and you could tell how the shot landed, I mean, he didn’t block it.”

Releford, who scored a team-high 14, sat in shock on the floor as Creighton players celebrated. The last sequence capped a curious closing few seconds that took several minutes to complete.

The clock read 2.4 seconds before Releford’s shot because of a timeout called by Alabama coach Anthony Grant. The Tide inbounded with 4.4 seconds left beside its own bench. Two quick passes later, Grant called for the timeout.

Click here for complete story in today’s paper.


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Video of JaMychal Green talking final play, Alabama defense

JaMychal Green hit on a few topics in the locker room after Alabama’s 58-57 loss to Creighton in the NCAA tournament. Take a listen.

 


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Starting lineups announced for NCAA game

Here it is. More to come.

Alabama lineup: F JaMychal Green, 6-8, Sr., 14.0 ppg., 7.4 rpg.; G Trevor Releford, 6-0, So., 11.9 ppg., 2.7 assists; F Nick Jacobs, 6-8, Fr., 6.2 ppg., 3.6 rpg.; G Levi Randolph, 6-5, Fr., 6.5 ppg., 3.9 rpg.; G Andrew Steele, 6-4, Jr., 6.7 ppg., 2.8 assists.

Creighton lineup: C Gregory Echenique, 6-9, Jr., 9.8 ppg., 7.4 rpg.; F Doug McDermott, 6-7, So., 23.3 ppg., 8.2 rpg.; G Grant Gibbs, 6-4, Jr., 7.1 ppg., 5.1 assists; G Jahenns Manigat, 6-1, So., 6.6 ppg., 2.2 rpg.; G Antoine Young, 6-0, Sr., 12.5 ppg., 4.5 assists.

Noteworthy: Neither team has NCAA tournament experience since Alabama last played in 2006. Creighton hasn’t been since 2007. … The two programs have never met. … The Bluejays haven’t played in 12 days after winning the Missouri Valley Conference title on March 4. Alabama’s layoff was just six days… Only 13 of Alabama’s 32 opponents have scored 60 points while Creighton’s only dipped below that total once this season. Creighton is one of eight schools to make the postseason in each of the last 15 seasons. … Bluejay assistant coach Steve Merfeld was the head coach in one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history. His No. 15th-seeded Hampton team beat No. 2 seed Iowa State in 2001. Today is the 11th anniversary of that game. … Six different Alabama players led the team in scoring in 16 SEC games … The winner advances to play either North Carolina or Vermont.


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Welcome inside Greensboro Coliseum (a panoramic view)

Click to enlarge.

We’re about two hours from tip-off in Greensboro, N.C. and the arena is growing a personality. A cleaning crew just sprayed down and cleaned the glass backboards.

So we must be getting closer.

The teams haven’t yet arrived, though Jim Nantz just strolled to his court-side seat to prepare for the TBS broadcast.

This could be an interesting afternoon in the cool, old coliseum. Keep it here for all the multimedia coverage your browser can handle. Feel free to post a score prediction in the comments.


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The new unofficial Alabama-Creighton movie trailer

Take a look at my second effort at movie production with the assist from the iMovie app on the iPhone. Watch it all the way past the credits. That’s the best part.

 


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Photo gallery from NCAA tournament in Greensboro

Alabama coach Anthony Grant guards Levi Randolph.

I’m far from a professional, but why not pass along a few photos from the practice day at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Enjoy the view from North Carolina as you get ready for the 12:40 p.m. tipoff between Alabama and Creighton. Full online coverage can be expected if you keep it tuned right here.

Alabama vs. Creighton


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Video of Alabama practicing on eve of NCAA

Take a look at Anthony Grant coaching up the Crimson Tide a day before facing Creighton in the NCAA tournament opener for both. More video to come.

 


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Green: Alabama offense ‘finally getting it together’

It’s NCAA eve in Greensboro and the action heats up today. Check back for updates from the arena at this afternoon’s open practice. Until then, read today’s print story.

TUSCALOOSA—When you have the 240th-ranked scoring offense in the country, progress isn’t easily identified.

Points haven’t come in bunches for Alabama this season, but its defense filled the gaps and powered the Crimson Tide into its first NCAA Tournament in six years. Keeping pace with one of the nation’s best offenses Friday’s round game creates a new challenge for coach Anthony Grant’s group.

Creighton (28-5) scores 80 points a game while Alabama’s managing 64.9 a night. In the past five games, that number dipped to 59.5. Still, the Tide’s leading scorer feels better about the offense now that he did a few weeks ago.

“I think we’re finally getting it together,” senior JaMychal Green said. “Coach Grant just put in a couple new plays that fits us and it’s a better fit for our offense. I think the freshmen, they have confidence in themselves shooting the ball, and once they knock down a couple shots, it will be a good game. I think we’ll be hard to guard.”

Alabama (21-11) actually saw its shooting numbers improve as scoring production dropped. It shot above the season average of 45.2 percent in four of last six games and was more than eight percentage points better in the SEC quarterfinal loss to Florida.

Attempting fewer 3-pointers helped the success rate. One of the nation’s worst perimeter shooting teams, Alabama makes 28.5 percent of its 3s compared to Creighton’s 42.5 3-point percentage. The Tide made 32.1 percent of its 3s in the past five games while attempting an average of three fewer than it has all season.

Freshman Trevor Lacey hit a big 3-pointer in the closing minute of Alabama’s SEC first-round win over South Carolina. And Levi Randolph beat the first-half buzzer against Florida from behind the arc.

So Green knows it’s possible for Alabama to catch a heater in Greensboro.

Click here for the complete story.


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Statistical differences between Alabama wins, losses

More fun with numbers time! Today we examine the differences between Alabama wins and losses on the stat sheet.

You’ll be able to read this with much more depth in tomorrow’s newspaper, but here are a few figures to consider on a travel day for this sports writer.

Category ….Wins …..Losses
Points …………68.7 …… 57.7
FG pct. ……….46.4 ……42.8
3-pt pct ………30.2 ……25.5
FT pct. ………73.3 ……66.5
Rebounds ….36.7 …..32.4
Steals ………..8.1 ……5.6

Much more to come from Greensboro. See ya when we get there.


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The ultimate bracket challenge

It’s that time of the week of that time of the year once again. You need to finish up that NCAA tournament bracket before things heat up tomorrow afternoon when the ball is tipped.

Click the bracket for full-sized version.

So, after you finish that “just for fun” bracket for the “recreational” office “pool,” join the Daily Bama Blog party.

For the second straight year, we are doing a competition with public recognition up for grabs. The winner will be celebrated on this blog seen by thousands of eyes every day. No cash involved. Sorry.

To make things easy, we are using CBSsports.com to manage the deal. Most people use this already, so all you have to do is import your previously-filled bracket into The Daily Bama Blog competition. Here’s how to get started:

Bracket link: http://bamablog.mayhem.cbssports.com/e
Password: “bamablog”

Good luck to all.


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What makes Creighton unlike any team Alabama’s seen

Doug McDermott (AP photo)

If you know anything about Creighton basketball, it’s obvious the McDermott-McDermott combo is the story. This is what I wrote for today’s print-edition story …

TUSCALOOSA — An almost-familiar sight appeared when the Coleman Coliseum interview room door swung open Tuesday afternoon.

AP photo

No, that’s not Anthony Grant. Close, though. The Alabama basketball coach sent in his teen-aged son A.J. — a dead-ringer for his father — to lighten the mood in the days leading up to Alabama’s NCAA Tournament opener with Creighton.

Another father-son combo will be waiting for the Crimson Tide in the 12:40 p.m. Friday game in Greensboro. This one is all business.

The McDermotts of Creighton have the Bluejays in position for something special. Father Greg McDermott, in his second season as head coach, has a dynamic threat with the same last name. His son Doug McDermott is a first-team All-American and the nation’s third-leading scorer who started every Creighton game in two seasons.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one quite like this one,” Grant said. “You’ve got a great team whose best player happens to be the coach’s son. I think it’s a unique situation.”

And Doug McDermott is a rare talent.

Click here to read the full story from today’s paper.

Click here to read the Sports Illustrated story about the McDermott family.


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JaMychal Green ‘ready for the challenge’ of guarding Creighton’s All-American

 

(Video of McDermott scoring 44 points at Bradley)

There’s nothing mid-major about Creighton’s Doug McDermott. The 6-7 sophomore is a first-team All-American and the nation’s third-leading scorer averaging 23.3 points a game.

Doug McDermott (AP photo)

He can shoot from the perimeter and bang in the paint. So the coaches’ son is pretty much a match-up nightmare.

Alabama forward JaMychal Green will draw that assignment, he said, when he’s in the game. Green is  “ready for the challenge,” the team’s only senior said Tuesday afternoon.

And how does he plan on doing that?

“Just play smart,” Green said. “He likes to pump fake and try to draw fouls. So I’m just going to have to not try to block shots and just stay on the floor and play smart.”

Read much more on McDermott and his father Greg McDermott in tomorrow’s newspaper.


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Comparing Alabama-Creighton differences in chart form

Take a look at a statistical comparison between Alabama and Creighton with season averages and national rankings (in parentheses).

Category …… Alabama defense …… Creighton offense
Scoring …………58.1 (9) …………………….80.0 (7)
FG pct. … ………38.8 (17) ………….. …….50.9 (1)
3-point pct. ……..28.3 (6) …………………42.5 (3)

Category …… Alabama offense …… Creighton defense
Scoring …………64. 9 (240) ……………69.5(239)
FG pct. ………….42.5 (97) ……………..43.8 (212)
3-point pct. ……..28.5 (n/a*) ……………35.6 (236)

* Only averaged 4.0 per game and NCAA stats require making five for listing.
Source: NCAA.com


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