Well, that wasn’t much fun at all. After looking like one of the very best teams in the country in the last two outings over Gonzaga and Houston, the Tide laid an egg in Memphis and got themselves blown out.
The first half was exciting but quite sloppy, as the teams combined for 21 turnovers. JD Davison was dropping dimes though, piling up a whopping seven assists before the break. Memphis came in as something of a desperate team, and they played like it on the defensive end to take a 37-32 lead into the half. Alabama didn’t shoot the ball well at all in the first half, which was a huge factor in the halftime deficit.
If the first half was a bit frustrating, the first eight minutes of the second half was a full blown nightmare. The cold shooting and turnovers continued, Memphis heated up a bit, and the Tide fell behind by as much as 19 points. Perhaps the Tide ran out of gas after the late Saturday night brawl with Houston, but for whatever reason they looked like they were moving in slow motion.
Or, in the words of Pam Tillis, maybe it was Memphis. The Tigers have all kinds of talent. They are long on defense and can be quite disruptive when they play cohesively with proper intensity. They didn’t necessarily look polished in that regard, but they turned most of Alabama’s possessions into a street fight.
Worse, the Tide was dominated on the boards as badly as they’ve been all season, and the second half defense was nothing short of pathetic. On multiple occasions five Alabama defenders stood flat footed as one of Memphis’ many athletes dunked the basketball. A Tigers team that hadn’t scored 80 points in a month had little trouble surpassing that number tonight with a 55-point second half onslaught.
To their credit, Alabama gave a valiant effort late and got into single digits a couple of times. Keon Ellis knocked in a couple of late shots and ended up leading the way with 19 points, but it was far too little and too late. Alabama simply didn’t bring their best game tonight, and when you play a talented team on the road, that will get you beat. Memphis used the #6 ranked Tide as a get well game, and Nate Oats’ squad is now the one that will have an opportunity to circle the wagons.
Nate will have plenty of coaching opportunities after this one. Hopefully some lessons are learned.