After two weeks of practice, University of Alabama men's basketball coach Anthony Grant seems sure that his 2011-12 Crimson Tide can win if it plays at its own pace. But Grant wants to make sure that UA can succeed outside of its comfort zone as well. "You have to have the ability to win in a variety of ways," Grant said at Thursday's SEC Basketball Media Day in Hoover. "We would love to say that we will play non-stop 94 feet every game. But we have to be versatile enough to play our natural way, which is up-tempo, but to win when we can't get that tempo as well."
"JaMychal is one of the elite guys not only in the SEC but in the country," said Anthony Grant, who enters his third season as Alabama's head coach. "I'm very excited to have him back as a senior, not only because of the type of talent he brings to our team but his experience and his leadership. "I like what I'm seeing out of him, and I think he's poised to have a great year."
"I think we're probably ahead of where we've been in the past," Grant said. "We've got guys that have been in the system that understand what we're trying to do that can help bring the guys along more. So I think we've been able to be ahead of where we were in years past at this stage."
I tell everyone the same thing: I don't know which team is better, and anyone who says they know is fooling themselves. You simply cannot look at how these two teams have played and reliably judge which is better. It is plain that both teams are much better than everyone they've faced. Each has essentially named its score against many of its opponents. This is not to say there aren't differences, but even the differences are subtle. This isn't an air raid offense versus the wishbone. Both of these teams rely on power running, play-action passes, and killer defenses. Both play conservatively on offense, take care of the football, and try to crush you on defense.
"I told Bill Self you have an idea how much money is being made in college football when Kansas is thinking about going to the Mountain West because they have nowhere to go," Donovan said. "You're talking about one of the most storied programs in college basketball. "It's shocking to me when you look at college basketball as it relates to college football. Nationally, there is not nearly as much revenue generated in college basketball in relation to college football. I think that's why a lot of these presidents, athletic directors and leagues are being forced to make decisions of how can we pool teams in to have a good football league where we can create and generate revenue."
The challenge is to keep from getting too caught up in the hype. "It's hard to say this is just another game," Vlachos said, "but at the same time, you don't want to change anything you're doing because of the circumstances of the game."
Hightower also has returned to inside linebacker and the comforts of shouting defensive plays again thanks to the faith in his physical durability. His teammates notice. "I think that's the best I've ever seen Dont'a play since I've been here," Johnson said. "He was healthy. It was crazy, just being beside him and just like, 'Dang, he's a wild animal out here.' It was his in-state team and he felt like he had to show a purpose of why he came to Alabama."
"I like smash-mouth football," Alabama's junior inside linebacker said after Wednesday's practice. "I'm not too much about the razzle-dazzle teams like Oregon and Florida."
Adding full cost-of-attendance reform should not be a problem for the BCS conferences — after all, SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany were two of the more outspoken proponents of the legislation, and those conferences are making money hand over fist. But there is a perception that some of the smaller conferences might have trouble coming up with the funds to compete. "While the WAC's member institutions support providing its student-athletes with additional financial support, the current economic climate that exists on university campuses across the country will make this extremely challenging for WAC members," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said in an email.
I’m straying some from the normal culinary article this week to send out a sports salute to the people of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and to everyone else recovering from the April 2011 tornado outbreak. Bama Burgers with Easy White BBQ Sauce.