Alabama Basketball has fallen from grace in its last three games. The blowout by Memphis was a body blow that staggered the Crimson Tide. It was supposed to be a wake-up call to be answered against Jacksonville State. Against the Gamecocks, Alabama got an unsatisfying win. Tuesday night, Nate Oats’ team took it on the chin for the second time in three games.
The Jacksonville State game provided an ample warning of where lack of focus and intensity can lead. It should have provided another wake-up call leading into the game against Davidson.
Apparently, the Crimson Tide has chosen to only wake when it chooses. Tuesday night the Tide chose to not wake up until it was too late to avoid a 79-78 loss.
Make no mistake, Davidson has some talent. It is very well-coached and it plays with discipline. The Tuesday game was not a surprise upset for anyone who watched the Memphis and Jacksonville State games.
It is possible to shoot 33 percent from outside the arc and win basketball games. Alabama Basketball came close to a win with that shooting Tuesday night. A plus-12 advantage on the boards helped. Six-for-eight from the foul line helped until the eighth attempt failed to tie the game late.
Such good stats are not enough when the other team shoots 53 percent for the game, including 50 percent outside the arc. Both teams scored 36 points from three-point attempts Tuesday night. It took the Tide 36 shots to get those points. For Davidson, only 24 shots were needed.
The Tide fought back late, after trailing by as much as 13 points in the game. After the game, Nate Oats said,
"It’s good to know that they don’t have quit and will keep fighting. At least we’re fighting but we’ve got to get some maturity about us."
That word ‘maturity’ will come up again. It is suddenly fair to ask how much maturity this Tide team has. Nate Oats also talked about wake-up calls.
"I don’t know how many wake-up calls we’re gonna need to pick up the defense, but we’re not gonna be able to win games in the SEC at a high level until we decide we’re gonna guard at a much better level than we did tonight."
That was not the Alabama Basketball version of coachspeak. Repeats of the defense the Crimson Tide has played in its last three games will lead to more than a few SEC losses.
In case the Alabama Basketball team needed to hear a more direct message, Oats added,
"We got to be disciplined enough to defend for 30 seconds."
That one sentence explained the loss to Davidson. A disciplined Davidson team made the Tide play defense for many long possessions. Too often, an undisciplined Crimson Tide was not up to the task.
If this team does not find the requisite maturity to not need wake-up calls, future results will not be pleasant. At the start of an SEC season, that ‘if’ should not be a consideration.