The Alabama men's basketball team moved to 16-7 on the season and 5-4 in Southeastern Conference play with a decisive 68-50 victory over Auburn inside Auburn Arena Tuesday night. The Crimson Tide has now won three consecutive conference games and four in a row over the Tigers. Auburn falls to 13-11 overall and 3-7 in the SEC. "Obviously any time you put these two teams together there's going to be a lot of excitement," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "Our guys understood the challenge that we had. I thought we were able to create some transition opportunities. We handled the changing defenses well and everyone that stepped on the floor for UA gave a great effort."
Crimson Tide coach Anthony Grant did not mention Mitchell specifically, saying only that "the guys who played tonight did a great job." "Our guys understood the challenge, weathered the storm early and handled the atmosphere well. They executed our plan. We wanted to get the game going up-and-down, and we did that. "The energy, emotion and passion our guys played with was great to see."
The Tigers spent the past two weeks sparking a renaissance of sorts with aggressive de fense and improved play from point guard Varez Ward. Consider that run fin ished. Auburn regressed spec tacularly against Alabama on Tuesday night, losing sight of the behaviors that recently made it more suc cessful. Ward finished with just three points while a meltdown late in the first half allowed Alabama to build a double-digit margin it never relinquished. That's how Alabama rolled into Auburn Arena and earned a 68-50 win. "At the end of the day, it came down to toughness. We got out-toughed," Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. "It was disappointing."
Tony Mitchell didn't play at all, and Andrew Steele started because Trevor Lacey began a game on the bench for the first time in 12 games. Imagine how thin Alabama's bench was Tuesday night in a key Southeastern Conference road game at Auburn Arena. Was this the depths of despair? No, it was a display of depth. The bench made a big difference as the Crimson Tide (16-8, 5-4 in the SEC) defeated Auburn 68-50, handing the Tigers their worst home loss in series history and their worst loss in two-year-old Auburn Arena. Previously the Tigers' worst home loss in 52 home games against Alabama was 80-65 in 1990
Alabama used a 19-6 run to build a 19-point lead by the midpoint of the second half and coasted to its fourth consecutive win in the rivalry. Green made 8 of 13 shots, including his second 3-pointer of the season. Releford capitalized on three first-half technical fouls against Auburn and was 9 of 10 from the free throw line. He had six turnovers and five steals. Charles Hankerson scored 14 points for the Tide and made 3 of 5 from 3-point range. He came in averaging 3.4 points and finished within two points of his career high. "They were huge," Grant said of Hankerson's three first-half 3s. "We've had our struggles from the perimeter, so for Hank to be able to come in and knock those down when they were in the zone really helped us out a lot."
Alabama coach Nick Saban has been awarded the Grant Teaff "Breaking the Silence" Award, the school announced Tuesday. The award recognizes Saban for his efforts in youth suicide prevention. According to a press release, Saban exceeded expectations as a National Awareness Ambassador. He has talked at various office opening receptions for The Jason Foundation (JFI), and participated in public service announcements.
"We have received unprecedented interest in tickets for the Cowboys Classic game with Alabama," said UM chief marketing officer Hunter Lochmann in a press release. "The demand is on par or greater than our athletic department has ever seen."
How good is Nkemdiche? He is definitely a better prospect than any of the nearly 200 Georgia seniors that signed last week, and was probably better as a sophomore than any kid that signed last year. His high school coach played on Alabama’s 1992 national championship team that was stocked with future NFL stars and says Robert is more talented. Lowndes coach Randy McPherson pretty much summed it up with this scouting report: "Once-in-a-generation player." With the seniors out of the way, the spotlight will now focus on Nkemdiche, if it hadn’t been there already. "Well, it has been pretty crazy since Robert was a sophomore," Grayson coach Mickey Conn told the AJC. "I can’t imagine it being crazier than it already has been. So, you know, we’ll be prepared. We might have some touchdown club people out there directing traffic for spring practice if we need to do that."
Of the dozen schools now committed to playing football in the Big East beyond 2013, nine of them are less than a decade removed from a mid-major, "Have Not" conference. One of the others, UConn, is barely a decade removed from its transition out of I-AA, as is South Florida. Navy hasn't been relevant since Roger Staubach was the quarterback 50 years ago. Of the eight charter members for Big East football in 1991, the only one left is Rutgers, which is still in the process of building a relevant football program after 100 years of wishing it was in the Ivy League. The hope for Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville and South Florida when they were "promoted" to the Big East to replace Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech was that the newcomers would rise to the level of the new surroundings as emerging, "big time" programs. For brief stretches (Louisville under Bobby Petrino, Cincinnati under Brian Kelly) they managed to look the part. But the reality is the opposite: The addition of mid-major schools has brought the Big East that much closer to becoming a mid-major conference. Since 2004, six different head coaches have won the Big East championship at five different schools — Walt Harris at Pitt, Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia, Petrino at Louisville, Kelly at Cincinnati, Randy Edsall at UConn and Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia — and all but Holgorsen have accepted more attractive offers from outside of the league immediately after winning the title. (Holgorsen's team, of course, has accepted a more lucrative offer from the Big 12.) The architect of Rutgers' rise, Greg Schiano, just bolted for the NFL.
On signing day, the Bulldogs went 2 for 9 on targets that held UGA scholarship papers – and could’ve signed with them. However, the devastating news arrived a couple of days later when three members of last year’s "Dream Team" recruiting class were dismissed for team violations (DB Nick Marshall, DB Chris Sanders, and WR Sanford Seay). All of sudden, UGA has at least seven scholarships to fill – if it chooses – by this summer. Expect UGA to sign one by then, maybe more. The top candidate would be a junior-college prospect somewhere in the middle of nowhere who was "overlooked" by scouts. Also fitting the profile would be a star player in prep school or currently in high school who is a borderline student and ends up qualifying late. (ed.- cutting players to make room for mystery recruits? how evil. sounds like something nick saban would do.)
Initially thought to be a team strength heading into the 2012 season, Georgia’s defensive backfield is suddenly left precariously thin and extremely vulnerable after head coach Mark Richt booted off the team Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders. Including the departure of three other defensive backs since the start of last season — Jakar Hamilton, Derek Owens and Jordan Love all left, allegedly of their own volition — that leaves the Bulldogs with just nine scholarship defensive backs heading into spring practice next month. Included in that number is senior and starting cornerback Sanders Commings. However, Commings is not expected to be available for at least the first couple of games next season due to his arrest on a domestic violence/simple battery charge last month. Unless those charges end up getting dropping, Commings is likely looking at a suspension of at least two games. (ed.- how evil. sounds like something nick saban would do.)
Look at what we do, I think to myself. What we do with all the free time we have on our hands as modern, evolved humans -- free time that our ancestors died to provide for us, thinking that the luxury of idleness was the pinnacle of human experience. What we do with the Internet, this vast and awesome creation that links people in ways no previous generations ever conceived of. We make Captain Karl's Supreme Pizza Dip. This is what we do. And here I am writing about it. The most absurd thing of all. (ed.- nothing to do with sports, but funny anyway you guys.)