Basketball Recruiting

I mean, if you want to talk about attention-grabbing headlines, this is it. This is the kind of stuff that might get me hired at the New York Times. “Robert, we need a headline for this new Kim Kardashian story.” “How about ‘Kardashian Story’, sir?” “BRILLIANT”.

This is a basketball recruiting post. I will now discuss basketball recruiting. [Read more…]


May is almost over.  Which means my yearly “I kinda take the month off from writing” month is almost over.  Typically, at the beginning of June, I’m writing about two things: current football recruits and summer basketball recruiting.  Today?  Today, with both, I’m impatient.  [Read more…]

Looks Like University Of Illinois – Mike Thorne Jr.

Six weeks ago, Jalen Coleman-Lands was probably the odds-on favorite for Big Ten Freshman of the Year. There was only one player, a raw PF headed to MSU, ranked ahead of him. Then Indiana, Maryland, and Michigan State all added five-star bigs.  Which means two things: JCL is now the fifth best frosh, and we really need someone to guard all these bigs. Enter Mike Thorne Jr. [Read more…]


Get it? It’s my final REPORT on Austin COLBERT.  My last COLBERT REPORT.  Get it? See, there was this… you know what nevermind.  Austin Colbert is leaving the basketball program, so my dreams of a senior year Chris Gandy (or maybe even a WarCat) are dashed.  So with Colbert gone, what do we do with his scholarship? [Read more…]

Pick My Post – Kool-Aid Edition

Wasn’t sure what to write about before heading to Chicago tomorrow for football practice so I tossed out one of my Pick My Post tweets.  The second and fourth responses were very similar, so that’s what I picked.  And because I (stupidly) restrict myself to 45 minutes for Pick My Post posts, I need to get started.  Here we go: [Read more…]

If This Blog Existed Ten Years Ago Today…

It’s almost 4:00 am.  I haven’t slept.  I might not sleep.  I’m pretty sure it’s Easter right now, and I’m pretty sure I’m due at my fiance’s house at 9:00 to pick her up before church, but I just had the craziest night of my life.  The best win in Illinois history – that’s was this was, our best win ever – and I didn’t get to watch it until 12:30 in the morning.  Let me explain… [Read more…]

PG & C

Did my best to avoid the NCAA Tournament the last four days.  Avoided the blog entirely, too.  Felt like I needed three full days to clear my head.  I organized the home office, took the dog for several walks, went to a dinner party – pretty much avoided all things sports.  With my now clear-ish head, I think I’m ready to evaluate this basketball season. [Read more…]

Back & Forth – Alabama

I’m SO avoiding the tournament today. And this weekend. Can’t remember it hurting like this. For the first time since 1985, I’m not even filling out a bracket. And if I see one single happy Iowa fan I might puke. So here’s Tyler and I rehashing the un-rehashable: that awful, awful loss to Bama. [Read more…]

Low Points

I told anyone who would listen today that we were going to play our best game in months. It just felt like we’d turn it on at just the wrong time and we’d all be left with “where has THAT team been?” emotions. I was completely and totally wrong. The question wasn’t where this team has been – it’s where they went. And where we’re headed. [Read more…]

Ball-You-Man – Alabama

An NIT three seed playing Alabama in post season basketball. That is a thing that is currently happening…

By the numbers

Alabama had a rough season. After getting off to a blistering 12-3 start the Crimson Tide finished 6-11, missed the tournament, and fired their coach. Long time Grant assistant John Brannen will take over the bench in the interim.

On the year, Alabama posted solid numbers on offense and defense, finishing 60th and 90th respectively in kenpom’s adjusted efficiency numbers. The Crimson Tide struggled from outside, shooting 32.1% from deep on the year, but they made up for it and more with dominance inside the paint. A 51.9% 2FG% ranks 41st nationally. Go-go guards Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper along with big man Jimmie Taylor are the key contributors to this statistic, each shoots over 70% at the rim. All those forays to the hoop also draw the expected number of fouls. Alabama finished regular season play 31st in FTA/FGA, with both Cooper and Randolph piling up nearly 5 fouls per 40.

On defense, Alabama continues to employ Anthony Grant’s trademark full court pressure and aggressive zone defense. They do a decent job of limiting teams from the field, giving up 32.4% from three and 47.2% from two. What held them back was an inability to generate enough turnovers with pressure off makes and a proclivity to foul.

Overall this feels like a bad matchup for us. A couple high octane guards that punish weak perimeter defense, and a zone defense built to shut down wing threes while giving up some penetration.

Who are they on offense?

The Alabama offense thrives by getting buckets in or around the hoop. They know this and everyone else knows it, but good offense trumps good defense every day of the week.

Lean a little bit and lead dog Levi Randolph is going to get you every single time.

[Read more…]