Happy Monday, everyone. Alabama basketball is coming off a resounding beatdown of Kentucky, the largest win over the Wildcats in school history, and afterward Nate Oats channeled a little Nick Saban.
“I think he’s got a … make their butts quit I think is his saying, if I remember,” Oats said while substituting for an alternative posterior descriptor. “We were trying to make them quit and trying to make him proud in the stands.”
Alabama led by as many as 31 and won by the largest margin over Kentucky in the history of the series.
“I don’t think Kentucky necessarily quit,” Oats said, “but I think our players were trying to make him. That’s what we were trying to. And I think the students did a great job. We don’t have quarters like football but they did a pretty good job staying through the fourth quarter today. I think he was pretty happy with that, too.”
Having Nick Saban sitting courtside has to provide a little extra motivation for the squad. Of course, the fact that 30+ NBA scouts were in attendance didn’t hurt. And, of course, Kentucky is still the top brand in SEC basketball even if they aren’t playing to their usual standard right now.
‘Cats coach John Calipari wants to forget that game ever happened.
“Wow,” Calipari said. “May want to burn the tape.”
Minutes later inside a crowded media room deep inside Coleman Coliseum, his message remained the same.
“That’s one I don’t know if I want to watch the tape,” Calipari said. “[...] I just don’t even know if I want to look at the tape.”
Brandon Miller continues to get all kinds of attention for his play.
Alabama’s Brandon Miller has been the most consistently productive of any of the potential one-and-done freshmen…another 19 & 7 yesterday in a dominant win over Kentucky showing playmaking, shooting, & the motor to get ahead of the ball in transition. https://t.co/ljHpHTWgR5 pic.twitter.com/lBnF0cWINL— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) January 8, 2023
Brandon, however, is far from the only Tide player that scouts came to see. Finkelstein believes that Alabama has as many as seven “draftables” on the roster. Noah Clowney may have a shot to join Miller as a one and done first rounder.
Fellow freshman, Noah Clowney, who was our NBA Draft prospect of the week last week, has emerged as an unexpected one-and-done and another potential first round candidate. His breakout game came against South Dakota State with a 22-point, 9-rebound, 4-assist effort. He followed that up with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Houston, then 11 and 9 (along with 3 blocks) against Memphis, and 9 and 13 against Gonzaga. He then opened league play with 12 points and 8 rebounds in 24 minutes on the road at Mississippi State.
Talk about a sea change in the program.
Since the beginning of the season, the most impressive thing about this team has been the effort on defense. This is what it looks like when you play hard, and have the length this team has, on that end of the floor while making a few shots at the other end. When shots aren’t falling, you can still win. When they are falling, you roll good teams. This is going to be a fun ride.
Not to be outdone, the Tide women went over to Auburn and kicked the crap out of their bad team.
Brittany Davis led all scorers with 24 points, shooting 10-of-15 from the floor. Sarah Ashlee Barker recorded nine points, eight boards, five assists, three steals and two blocks, while Ryan Cobbins posted nine points, five rebounds and an assist. Additionally, Hannah Barber, Jada Rice and Aaliyah Nye recorded eight points in the win. Rice also secured a season-high 10 boards in the game, in addition to a block and a steal.
The Tide needed that win following a heartbreaking one-point home loss to Mizzou. It’s an odd year so far for the SEC women as only two teams, #1 South Carolina and #7 LSU, are ranked in the top 25. Those two teams are actually the top two in the NCAA NET rating, followed by Tennessee at 15 and Alabama at 18. Kristy Curry’s squad has an opportunity to land a pretty high NCAA seed. Hopefully they can take advantage of it.
In football news, NFL reported Mike Giardi suggests that Bill O’Brien will find no shortage of suitors as an assistant.
Guess we’ll see.
Eli Gold revealed the reason that he took 2022 off from the booth.
The voice of the Crimson Tide announced that he has cancer.
In a statement to the Crimson Tide Sports Network, Eli Gold says he was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer. He also says he’s making progress and hopes to return behind the mic soon. Gold also thanks everyone for their well wishes and prayers.
He seems to be in good spirits and it’s great to hear that it’s treatable.
Blake Toppmeyer notes that for the first time in recent memory, Alabama may not be voted the preseason favorite to take the West.
As it is, Alabama enters an uncertain offseason, a fork in the road and likely a 2023 season marked by a reduction in hype. That may come with a silver lining.
Saban spoke in November about how this team felt an unyielding pressure to deliver an outcome that matched lofty expectations.
“This team put a lot of pressure on themselves, and they wanted to do really, really well,” Saban said after Alabama had suffered its second loss. “They had very high goals and expectations.
“When you have high expectations and you become outcome-oriented … I don’t want our players to be that way.
“I don’t want our team to ever be that way, because we’re very process-oriented.”
It will mostly come down to the QB position next season, which will be the single most intriguing storyline of the spring.
In NFL news, the Eagles wrapped up the top seed in the NFC and DeVonta Smith set a couple of franchise records.
Smith was drafted by the Eagles 10th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft after winning the Heisman Trophy in 2020, and he set a franchise rookie record with 916 receiving yards.
Smith’s first reception on Sunday also set a franchise record for the most catches in a player’s first two seasons. Smith was tied with former second-round pick Jordan Matthews, who had 152 receptions in 2014 and 2015 for Philadelphia.
It wasn’t a huge offensive day for Philly, but they got it done.
Najee Harris became the first player in Steelers history to rush for 1000 yards in each of his first two seasons. He also did this.
We all know Najee Harris has a wicked stiff-arm, but doing this to Myles Garrett from his inside arm?— Geoffrey Benedict (@phantaskippy) January 9, 2023
That's a different level. pic.twitter.com/dQRnfMNfP4
Now, it should be noted that these records are being set with an extra game in the season, but still impressive.
Minkah Fitzpatrick had ten tackles to lead the Steelers, and also hilariously took down this Georgia flag during pregame warmups.
Gonna come as a shock but Minkah Fitzpatrick didn’t sign this Georgia flag. He ran over during stretch and took it down pic.twitter.com/4NxBKsOVGo— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) January 8, 2023
Last, speaking of Georgia, check out the behavior of two of their esteemed former players in #7 Quay Walker and #95 Devonte Wyatt.
Quay Walker is a clown for this man …out of all the weeks …respect the medical staff man ♂️ pic.twitter.com/JW4zvMpaQV— NFL Daily (@SportsContent23) January 9, 2023
Kirby must be proud.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.