Feb 2, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide center Moussa Gueye (14) celebrates his team defeating the Vanderbilt Commodores 58-54 during the second half at Memorial Gym. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Basketball: 3 Things the Crimson Tide Must Do to Get Back on Track

After a gruesome loss in Auburn on Wednesday night, Anthony Grant and the Alabama Crimson Tide need answers. The Tide started the game on a 15-2 run, led at halftime, and still lost by 12 points.

Alabama’s offense came to a screeching halt in the second half against the Tigers. The Tide shot an abysmal 28.6 percent (14-49) from the field and 10.5 percent (2-19) from outside. So, with an inside game that has been a weakness all year and the lack of scoring down the stretch over the past four games, where does Alabama find answers? The Tide has gotten into a habit of falling into long scoring droughts, and there aren’t many teams that can play through a 15-2 scoring drought and win the game.

So what does the Crimson Tide do to get back on track? Here’s the formula for Alabama’s offense:

Attack early.  Several times on Wednesday night Alabama would take twenty seconds to set up a play and then waste the possession with a rushed shot. If you are going to spend that much time setting up a play you simply have to execute. There’s just no excuse for milking the shot clock down to less than ten seconds and then taking a contested shot from outside. Alabama plays their best basketball when they are ready to attack within the first ten seconds of the shot clock. Early attacks on offense don’t allow the defense to gain optimal position and it disguises Alabama’s weaknesses down low.

Limit their contested shots from outside.  It’s no secret that Alabama is one of the most improved shooting teams from a year ago. But you can’t just fire up a contested shot from outside early in the shot clock. Sure, Alabama is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the SEC, but that is due in part to attempting good shots. The Tide will slip back into the shooting slump that they experienced last year if they don’t look to create open shots.

Disguise their weakness down low.  I’m sure the first point on every opposing team’s scouting report reads “soft inside.” It’s no secret that the Crimson Tide lack some big time post players. Although Moussa Gueye and Nick Jacobs have had their moments of glory, they just can’t hold their own on a regular basis. Anthony Grant has gone with a four-guard lineup for most of the year, and that is a testament to Alabama’s lack of depth and talent on the inside. The Crimson Tide’s success rests solely in the hands of their guards. If the guards hit a cold shooting streak, begin to turn the ball over, and don’t convert on layups, Alabama is destined to lose. There is only one way for the Tide disguise its weakness down low and it’s not with outside shooting. Alabama’s physical guards like Trevor Releford, Andrew Steele and Trevor Lacey have to make controlled cuts to the rim. Even if the cut doesn’t result in a made basket, this motion-style offense will free other players up. This will hopefully alleviate the opposing team’s ability to lock down the post in a man-to-man defense.

These three key aspects are a start for Alabama’s improvement, but it’s going to be an uphill battle for the Tide to finish out the season strong. With road trips to Gainesville, FL and Oxford, MS left on the schedule, Anthony Grant and the rest of the Crimson Tide coaching staff need to find answers quick in order to save Alabama’s remaining chances at an NCAA Tournament bid.

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Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Basketball

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