First of all i'd like to wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. This holiday is a day to reflect on all the things we are truly thankful for in life, for example I am extremely thankful that monstrosity of a game is over and at the conclusion of this article none of us should ever speak of it again.
It wasn't the blowout aspect of this game that made it borderline unwatchable, in fact it was a highly competitive game for about 25 minutes. No, it was the fact that Alabama regressed back to Grantsketball levels of futility on the offensive end today. The Tide had more success on 3 point field goals in the 2013 Iron Bowl than it did today (sorry for bringing that up, I promise never to do it again) shooting only 5-28 from downtown.
The game started with Alabama crashing the offensive glass to get out to an early 9-2 lead and the Tide defense was as impressive as it has been all season, holding the Musketeers without a field goal until midway through the 13-minute mark in the first half.
Things were going fairly well in the first half until Xavier Head Coach Chris Mack went to a 1-3-1 zone that changed the momentum of the half. Alabama looked completely unprepared for the 1-3-1. No one drove the gaps at the top of the defense and kicked out to open shooters in the corners, instead players just passed around the perimeter which led to turnovers and forced shots.
Alabama was also hurt by senior guard Retin Obasohan picking up his 3rd foul with 4 minutes left in the first half, Retin was never really able to regain a rhythm, finishing 0/6 from the field with 2 points. Still the Tide kept hanging around and went to the half only down 24-27 after Shannon Hale hit a deep three at the buzzer. It appeared as if Alabama was going to give Xavier a run for their money.
Then the 23rd-ranked team in the country remembered how to shoot in the second half. Xavier come out of the locker room and nailed a three, but the Tide would register two straight steals, including a 360 dunk from freshman Dazon Ingram to cut the lead to 30-28.
The game would never be close from there.
Alabama needed a go-to scorer to keep up, but until Terrance Ferguson signs on the dotted line, they simply don't have one. Shannon Hale went missing offensively in the second half after scoring all 10 of his points in the opening period, and if Hale isn't scoring Alabama isn't either. If there is one positive to take from this game it was the defense. Alabama still needs to work on playing solid defense without fouling, but otherwise there was noticeable improvement on that end against a good offensive team.
Today won't be the last time Alabama gets blown out this season, in fact there could be many more lopsided losses coming. But going back to Thanksgiving, I'm incredibly thankful to have Avery Johnson as our head coach. Next year Alabama will have the shooters to compete and maybe win a game like this, just please be patient and don't forget to buckle up.
You can follow Caleb on Twitter at @C_Perry5