Memphis, TN and the Fed-Ex Forum were not fun places for Alabama Basketball Tuesday night. Coming off a four-game losing streak, the Memphis Tigers thumped the Crimson Tide 92-78. Despite its 6-4 record, Memphis is a talented basketball team. Physically, it is both bigger and tougher than the Crimson Tide.
Nate Oats’ team caught the Tigers at a bad time, in an almost must-win game for Memphis. The Tigers played harder and smarter. The result was the respected Alabama Basketball defense was mostly defense-less around the rim.
Memphis played like a future, high seed in the NCAA Tournament next March. The Crimson Tide played like a team that needed a wake-up call. If it got one Tuesday night, the bad loss will likely do it more good, than a close loss.
For Alabama basketball fans interested in the numbers, several stand out. It is very hard to beat a team when it gets 44 points in the paint and 29 points off turnovers. When that team also has double the number of free throws and makes them at an 80 percent rate – that team will almost always win.
A few other disappointing numbers included the combined three-point shooting of Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly. The pair was 3-of-12, with two of the makes coming from Quinerly after the outcome was determined. Keon Ellis was not much better at 3-of-10, but Ellis led the Tide in scoring with 19 points. In a combined 55 minutes of play, Juwan Gary, Charles Bediako and Noah Gurley pulled down a total of four rebounds.
Speaking after the game, Nate Oats said,
"We didn’t come ready to play. That’s on the coaching staff and the players both. Give a ton of credit to Memphis."
Nate Oats made no excuses for Alabama Basketball
To Nate Oats’ credit, he did not make excuses for the Crimson Tide’s poor performance. As reported by Michael Casagrande, Oats said,
"the foul discrepancy tonight wasn’t about the officiating but about a toughness and effort issue for Alabama"
A more direct quote from Oats was the best summation.
"We got what we deserved"
In what can only be considered as a challenge to Jahvon Quinerly, Oats also said,
"We need to find some leadership on this team to step up and address the team"
Some perspective is in order. When Alabama basketball fans first saw the early-season schedule, almost none of us expected the Crimson Tide to be 8-2 in its first 10 games. Until tournament time, one loss, even a bad one, means next to nothing. Alabama should win its next two, and begin SEC play at 10-2. Having now gone down in somewhat of a trap game, the Tide should not slip up against an undefeated Colorado State team.
Most Alabama basketball fans are willing to admit, 10-2 going into SEC play is a better record than many expected.