If Saturday night in Auburn is any indication on how we are going to perform in the state of Alabama, I’d like to move our home games there. I loved the fight our guys showed. I loved Ryan Harrow’s squeaky trash talk. I loved the passion.
Coming off their best performance of the year, the Cats look to keep the momentum going as they return to the state of Alabama to face the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. Bama is fighting the injury bug this season but they have some very good pieces and will be tough to beat at home. In fact, they just beat the same Texas A&M team that we lost to by a score of 50-49 on Saturday. Another thing about this Alabama team; their mascot is an elephant and has nothing to do with Crimson or Tide.
You might remember UK traveling to Tuscaloosa as a favorite two years ago only to return home with a big shiny loss. I remember it. I was there. Terrence Jones was there, too. I bet he remembers it. He was accused by John Calipari of being bad at sharing.
But that’s in the past. Let’s stay in the moment. And let’s take a look at what we’re up against. Today I’ve enlisted the help of the biggest Alabama homer on the planet, @HunterLJohnson.
I met Hunter in Lexington the last time Alabama played football there. How did we meet? My roommate at the time and I were on the patio at Cheapside. Hunter was outside of Rosebud. My roommate yelled this at him across the street : “Gene Stallings was gay with Wimp Sanderson!” Hunter, in mid conversation with a young lady, stopped what he was doing and walked directly to us. Initially I thought he was mad, but he wasn’t. We talked with him for a while and we’ve been hanging out at SEC tournaments with him ever since. He is unapologetic about his love for Alabama. He is borderline unbearable during football season, but he’s very entertaining and often times tweets about pageants. Hunter appeared last night on everyone’s favorite ESPNU show, “UNITE” to talk about the game. Some of his thoughts will be scattered throughout today.
Let’s get to Know Your Enemy: Alabama Crimson Tide.
The University of Alabama is located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Tuscaloosa is home to some of the best looking collegiate coeds and best college football players our country has to offer. Outside of Athens, GA, Tuscaloosa is my favorite college town to visit. Whether you’re drinking a yellow hammer at Galettes, wading through the throng of tailgaters on a fall Saturday, or meeting C.M. Newton in the hospitality room at a basketball game, Tuscaloosa is always a good time.
Tuscaloosa is home to 2008 Olympic boxing heavyweight bronze medalist, Deontay Wilder. Wilder is the last U.S. team member to medal in the sport. Known as “The Bronze Bomber,” he currently has an undefeated record of 26-0 with 26 knockouts. Might as well call him “The Anesthesiologist.” Ba Dum, Chh!
Hunter’s thoughts on Tuscaloosa: “I loved growing up in Tuscaloosa so much that I decided to spend 7 years on my undergrad there.”
Hey, lots of people go to school for 7 years. They’re called doctors.
Robert Horry- One of the most clutch shooters to ever play the game, “Big Shot Rob” was an NBA champion 7 times. He won two with the Rockets, three with the Lakers, and two more late in his career with the Spurs. This video documents his biggest moments as a pro.
At Alabama Horry led the Crimson Tide to three SEC tournament titles and two NCAA Sweet 16′s.
Hunter’s thoughts on Robert Horry: “Robert Horry has more rings than Saturn. He also saved the world in ‘Independence Day.’”
Joe Namath- Namath guaranteed a Superbowl III victory for his Jets against the Baltimore Colts in 1969. Most notably to younger sports fans, he told Suzy Kolber he wanted to kiss her during a live sideline interview on Monday Night football in 2003. Hunter has a great take on that situation.
Hunter’s thoughts on Joe Namath: “Joe Namath is a Hall of Fame QB who is kind enough to tell a woman he wants to kiss them before he attempts it. He is a true gentleman.”
Latrell Sprewell- A four time NBA All-Star, Sprewell once turned down a three year $21 million contract offer because “I have to feed my family.” Hey Latrell, maybe use the $21 million dollars to do that.
Latrell hasn’t exactly stayed out of trouble in his post Alabama days. He once choked his coach, PJ Carlesimo and was suspended for 68 games. During his suspension he was placed under 3 months of house arrest due to a reckless driving charge that injured two people. He also fought two teammates, threatening one with a 2 X 4. Most recently, Sprewell was arrested on New Year’s Eve for disorderly conduct.
Hunter’s thoughts on Latrell Sprewell: “Latrell Sprewell kept a yacht on Lake Michigan called “Milwaukee’s Best.” Also, he not afraid to choke a Carlisemo.”
Cheerleading Scouting Report:
Just keep the silver chick with the long nose in the front away from me and we won’t have any problems.
Alabama plays it’s home games within the friendly confines of Coleman Coliseum. With 20 NCAA tourney appearances, 8 Sweet 16′s, and an Elite Eight in 2004, Alabama’s basketball history is by no means desolate. They are a six time SEC tournament champion and have 3 players currently in the NBA (Alonzo Gee, Gerald Wallace, & Mo Williams).
Hunter’s thoughts on Alabama’s basketball history: “For a team that has never made the Final Four, we actually have a pretty decent history. We have the 2nd most SEC tournament titles. Sure, it’s still 21 less than Kentucky has, but at least it’s 2nd.”
Kentucky Basketball: People are honored to be 2nd to you.
Anthony Grant doesn’t have the privilege of wearing suits. Suits have the privilege of being worn by Anthony Grant. If someone was going to make a “Coaches looking good in suits” calendar, he’d be on the cover and represent every month. Also, they’d have to come up with a better name for the calendar.
Grant played his college basketball at Dayton University. He did some high school coaching before assistant coaching stops at Stetson, Marshall, and Florida. After being at Florida for 10 years he took the head coaching position at Virginia Commonwealth in 2006. Grant led VCU to two NCAA tournaments and in 2007 defeated #6 seed Duke to advance to the second round.
Grant was hired at Alabama in 2009 and is in the middle of his 3rd season at the helm. He is 74-45 thus far and took the Tide to the NCAA tourney last season where they lost in the last second on a controversial no call to Creighton.
Take it away, Hunter: “Aaron asked me for my thoughts on Anthony Grant and the first thing I told him was ‘That’s gonna be tough to do without sounding gay.’
I am kind of known as having somewhat of a man-crush on him. Look, Anthony Grant is pretty hot. THE MAN IS CHIZZLED OUT OF FREAKING STONE. Just an absolute beast of a dude. His suits? My gosh. The man can wear a suit. If I was married, I would have no problem with him fathering my wife’s kids. Again, no homo. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
Players named Trevor:
Trevor Releford- Averaging 16.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists, junior point guard Releford is unquestionably the leader of this team. From Kansas City, Missouri, Releford’s brother Travis is a senior guard at Kansas. You guys may remember Kansas. We beat them in the National Championship game last season.
Trevor Lacey- A former 5 star recruit from Huntsville, Lacey chose to stay at home in Alabama to play his college basketball. The sophomore is averaging 12.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. He is a great shooter, currently making three point field goals at a 45% clip (35-77). He has scored in double figures in each of Alabama’s last three games and will have to have a big game for Alabama to beat UK. Look for Archie Goodwin to draw this assignment defensively.
Hunter’s thoughts on Alabama’s players: “Well, we only have two post players, which makes things kind of difficult. Moussa Gueye is a 7 footer but really only impacts on the defensive end. Nick Jacobs is a pretty good low post scorer, but Jim Abbott thinks he used his left hand a lot. We are pretty good on the perimeter. Releford has really expanded his game this year and become a much better deep threat. He and Trevor Lacey are out best scoring threats.”
Kentucky won 77-71 on January 21, 2012 in Rupp Arena. Alabama was led by JaMychal Green with a game high 22 points and 12 rebounds. As was often the case last season, Kentucky won the game behind the strength of balanced scoring and defense. They placed 6 players in double figures and had 9 team blocks. Kentucky also made late free throws to seal the victory.
A lot of people are looking at the Auburn game as the turning point in the season. The team brought energy and excitement and for the first time this season really looked like they were having fun on the court. To keep this momentum going you can’t lose to Alabama. They aren’t awful, but if you’re going to be a team to be reckoned with in the conference and nationally then you win this game.
Like Auburn’s fans, Alabama fans will get up for this game. It’s another late tip in a hostile environment. Getting out to an early lead can quiet the crowd, though. Alabama has won two football national titles in a row. This isn’t a do or die game for their fan base.
Thanks to Hunter for his input and for saying what everyone is thinking about Anthony Grant.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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