John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Basketball: Transition is Key to Inject Life Into Crimson Tide Offense

The Alabama Crimson Tide is looking to bounce back from one of the worst losses in recent memory against the Auburn Tigers last Wednesday, falling 49-37. It was the worst offensive performance under head coach Anthony Grant’s tutelage. The Tide will have a chance to redeem itself in Baton Rouge Saturday night against the LSU Tigers.

The Crimson Tide’s offense is about as stagnant as it has been in some time. Many woeful Tide fans are wondering how Alabama can inject some life into the offense and create some scoring. Unfortunately, in their offensive sets, they are doing just about all they can do. Alabama simply has personnel limitations that prevent them from being a consistently potent offensive team.

The one thing Alabama does extremely well is play team defense. The Tide can use its defensive prowess to score by creating transition opportunities on defense. One of the main ways to do this is steal the ball, which Alabama has done well all year, averaging 8.82 steals per game; third in the SEC. The other is to hit the defensive glass, which, unfortunately, Alabama has done a poor job of this season. The Tide continues to be ranked dead last in the league in rebounding with 31.6 rebounds per game, as well as defensive rebounding with 21.6 per game.

There must be more emphasis on hitting the defensive boards and getting the ball out in the fast break. The Crimson Tide is easily at its best when they are playing in transition. Trevor Releford is one of the best finishing transition point guards in the country; maybe the best. Alabama has to get out and run, and needs to take advantage of every single chance. Alabama struggles playing against a set defense, so they need to create as many opportunities to play against a defense that is not completely set, or that is in disarray.

They can achieve this by controlling the tempo and getting out in transition early and often. This won’t prove easy against LSU, who is a much better rebounding team than Alabama (38.6 per game); they are also the league leaders in steals per game, averaging 10.25 a game.

Playing a more up-tempo style against a team who likes to force mistakes is risky, but ‘Bama’s offense is so anemic at this point in the season that a bolder approach to our game plan is necessary. Transition is the key to scoring for Alabama. The Tide must get out ahead of the defense and create easier and higher percentage scoring opportunities.

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