Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Alabama Preview

The last time the Crimson Tide won in Nashville, there was a Bush in the White House and Marion Barry was arrested. While not that much has changed, it is still worth mentioning that Alabama's last victory in Nashville came in 1990. So, if nothing else, the Commies have that going for them. Vanderbilt’s penchant for getting up for big games against ranked opponents, and beating teams they aren’t “supposed to,” should also give Commodore Nation reason to tune in. With that said, Alabama is good…very good. With all 5 starters averaging double digits, and a 14-2 record overall, Mike Gottfried’s Tide will give Stallings’ squad all they can handle.

In their last five games, the Crimson Tide have held opponents to just over 25% shooting from behind the three-point line. As anyone who reads this site knows, Vanderbilt lives, and often dies by the three-ball. While strong shooting from behind the arc appears to be a necessary condition for Vanderbilt to be successful, it is certainly not sufficient (thank you LSAT prep course, I finally got it, too bad it’s a year too late). In the first half of the Georgia game, Vanderbilt went 10-16 from downtown and still trailed at the half. Vanderbilt will have to buck Alabama’s trend of containing the three if they have any chance. With that said, they cannot rely soley on long-range jumpers to win.

As of late, Alabama has been able to keep their opponents away from the charity stripe. In their last five games, Alabama has taken 50 more free-throws (99) than their opponents. While getting to the line has not been strength of this team, Vanderbilt will need to create scoring opportunities by driving the lane, particularly if they want to open up the three.

Alabama’s honest-to-goodness center, senior Jermareo Davidson poses a real problem for Vanderbilt, particularly on the defensive end. Ross Neltner, Vanderbilt’s only athletic “big man,” already has a difficult time staying out of foul trouble without having to guard against a player of Davidson’s caliber. Remember when Georgetown came to Nashville? While Davidson is no Hibbert, it has the potential to look like that if Ted or Alan are called on to "stop" him. Davidson will inevitably cause Stallings to rely on a 2-3 zone, which will open up Alabama from the perimeter and expose the Commies’ dearth of rebounding ability. In their last five games, Alabama is out rebounding their opponents by over 6 boards a game, any margin larger than that will spell an blowout in Memorial for the Tide.

Some people think it is interesting that tomorrow's game will also be a "Cage Match" of sorts, as senior Commie Dan Cage faces off against his brother, red shirt freshman Greg Cage. I don't. Dan and Greg's family will be in attendance...which is lovely...if they are reading this, I recommend going to Rotiers for a pre-game burger on french bread. Beyond that, I have absolutely nothing to say about this. I will say that the only good thing about tomorrow's game not being televised (besides allowing O'Shea to kick it with American Idol) is that we don't have to suffer through countless cut-aways of the family "rooting" for both teams. Brady Quinn's Sister's jersey was painful enough, thank you.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind seeing Brady's sister without a jersey on.

Anonymous said...

First of all, great page here guys. As an Alabama alum and current grad student I know the house of horrors that Memorial Gym can be for my beloved Tide. That said I look for a very close, competitive SEC showdown tonight in Nashville. While I root for the Dores against all other foes, I must say the Tide rolls tonight 71-68.

J.B., M.D. said...

I'll go with a more conservative score to the tune of 65-53 Alabama.

Anonymous said...

The Vandy Sports Blog is where more Hawaiians get there Vandy sports news than from any other source. That being said, I am the only Hawaiian who gets Vandy sports news. Keep up the great work and Go Dores!