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Bama Basketball Breakdown - Emerald Coast Classic: Oregon

After a humbling loss yesterday, the Tide try to take at least one victory home from Destin

NCAA Basketball: Hall of Fame Series-Las Vegas-Georgia at Oregon Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Woof, that was an ugly showing yesterday. Clearly, the defense is still a major issue. Ohio State shot at an unbelievable rate, but still, it’s not like they were draped in Crimson jerseys all night. Combine that with a regression in shooting from the Tide and a stark contrast in physicality in the post, and you’ve got Alabama taking one on the chin from the Buckeyes in their first loss of the season. Roger mentioned this in his postgame recap last night, but I would expect a shakeup coming soon in the starting line-up. I’m not generally in the business of calling out players unless they are a problem off the court or generally just not trying, so I’ll defer to the coach:

The silver lining to the loss - other than it being a good lesson that the team clearly needed to learn - is that the Tide will still end up playing the team we expected them to meet in the Championship Game - the Oregon Ducks (4-1). Dana Altman’s team was also upset last night, as they fell to Santa Clara 88-82. Their loss was due in large part to the absence of their two big men - N’Faly Dante and Nate Britt. Dante hasn’t suited up for the Ducks since their opening win over Georgia, and Britt has been sidelined for the past week as well. That’s two seven-footers that averaged a combined 20.7 PPG/13.5 RPG/2.0 APG/2.6 BPG last season; quite the void in the middle of the paint for Oregon right now.

The Roster

Starting Five

POINT 6’2 Keeshawn Barthelemy: 11.8 PPG, 2.2 APG, 3.2 RPG

GUARD 6’3 Jesse Zarzuela: 10.8 PPG, 2.3 APG, 2.5 RPG

GUARD 6’4 Jermaine Couisnard: 10.2 PPG, 2.0 APG, 4.2 RPG

WING 6’5 Jadrian Tracey: 8.2 PPG, 0.8 APG, 4.6 RPG

POST 6’9 Kwame Evans Jr.: 7.0 PPG, 1.6 APG, 5.8 RPG

Off the Bench

GUARD 6’0 Jackson Shelstad: 8.0 PPG, 1.0 APG, 2.0 RPG

GUARD 6’3 Brennan Rigsby: 9.2 PPG, 1.2 APG, 3.2 RPG

GUARD 6’4 Kario Oquendo: 7.8 PPG, 1.8 APG, 3.2 RPG

POST 6’10 Mahamadou Diawara: 4.2 PPG, 0.4 APG, 4.0 RPG

Dana Altman has been having to experiment with the rotation a bit since losing his two bigs, so don’t be surprised if it looks a bit different today. Jermaine Cousinard and Kario Oquendo should both sound familiar to Tide fans, as they both transferred to Oregon from the SEC - Cousinard played a few years in South Carolina under Frank Martin and Oquendo was Geogia’s most explosive player the past few seasons. Suffice to say, the Ducks may be down a few guys, but they have talent.

Keeshawn Barthelemy is the driver of the offense (48.9%/46.7%/57.1%; 14.7% AST%), while Brennan Rigsby and Jadrian Tracy provide perimeter shooting at strong clips (Rigsby: 50.0%/44.3%/66.7%; Tracy: 45.2%/46.7%/60.0%), the former as a true spot-up shooter and the ladder as more of a stretch forward. In the post, Kwame Evans is a more polished player than the larger Mahamdou Diawara (6.6% BLK%; 92.1 DRtg), but Diawara will likely get a lot of playing time today in order to match Alabama’s length.

Three Keys to Victory

  1. Better Hustle on Transition Defense. There are a lot of areas that Alabama needs to work on defensively, but most of them aren’t going to be rectified in less than 24 hours. One thing the guys can do better is getting back on defense when the other team pushes it in transition. Ohio State carved the Tide up in this area of the game last night. Oregon is another team well-equipped to move the ball quickly down the court with their litany of ball-handlers, so Alabama needs to hustle back and stop the ball a heck of a lot better than the fellas did last night.
  2. Win the Three-Point Battle. The Tide also lost this match-up decidedly against the Buckeyes, which was not expected given Alabama’s top-ranked three-point shooting standing coming into the game. The Ducks have a bevy of guys who can get hot from downtown, so the perimeter defense has got to be better tonight. Ohio State had WAY too many guys get loose as our defense was reacting and not attacking. Offensively, we knew regression in this metric was coming, but 9/30 ain’t coming close to cutting it.
  3. Be the Bullies. The Tide got big-boy’d by the Buckeyes - losing the rebounding battle 32-24 and allowing Ohio State to hit the free throw line for 30 attempts. With Dante and Britt both still out, Alabama has the opportunity to flip the script on the Ducks, who got pushed around themselves last night by Adama Bal and Santa Clara. Alabama needs to be attacking the rim on offense, especially knowing that foul trouble for the Ducks’ big men could really put them in a bind.

The last thing Alabama wants is to leave Destin empty-handed this weekend. The defensive work is only just beginning, but the Tide can definitely still rely on its elite offense to get out of here with a win today. With a few tweaks and some tape, a decent enough defensive effort should be able to get the job done with Oregon being so banged up on the interior, but the Ducks have some real talent still in the cupboard, so it’ll take the Tide’s best.

Alabama is favored by seven over Oregon today. Unfortunately, the entirety of the game will be played during the Iron Bowl. And even worse - it’ll only be available via streaming some site called FloHoops. I’ve attached the link to it here. Get those laptops/phones/tablets ready, because we all know what happened the last time Tide Hoops played a non-conference tournament game on a sketchy streaming site while the Iron Bowl was going on: