Here's a fun game to play anytime the ODK trophy is being presented: count the number of empty seats you see once that ceremony is finished. In the case of last night's game -- on a Tuesday night, with a basketball team that isn't going anywhere unless the boosters buy the roster a ticket block -- the answer was "a lot," possibly more than half.
As it turns out, that mentality carried over to the teams -- Auburn rallied after halftime for a "dramatic" 77-73 victory.
I don't want to dwell on the game itself too long, because obviously that would take the focus off the main event for the evening, which was this:
A few thoughts in the aftermath -- and this will likely be the last post about 'Bama basketball until the new coach is hired:
-- It's beyond frustrating to watch this Alabama team play. Blessed with athletic ability in excess on both ends of the floor, they seem developmentally challenged in terms of basketball acumen. No player exemplifies this better than Alonzo Gee, a senior who hasn't gotten one iota better as a basketball player in four years. After four years in Tuscaloosa -- and it feels like he's been there a decade -- 'Zo still takes the same ill-advised shots, still doesn't rebound 50 percent of the time, still only defends when he feels like it (and that sentence describes the whole roster). Thank God he's graduating this year -- if he hung around one more season, I might have attacked him, Nature Boy-style.
-- Bama Hoops discussed this somewhat today, but it can't be overstated how badly Jeff Lebo thumped Phillip Pearson in the second half last night. Lebo figured out he could go small against 'Bama and force one of Alabama's big men (slow, lazy and poorly-coached) to guard on the perimeter; Lebo kept switching defenses at every dead ball, preventing 'Bama from ever developing an offensive comfort zone. Alabama responded by briefly switching to a zone when the game got close, enabling Auburn to get two wide-open looks at 3, and failing to pound the ball inside to JaMychal Green, despite a mismatch in the post similar to a DB vs. Andre Smith; and, of course, the Tide failed to foul down the stretch, a tactic which might have extended the game for at least a few more posessions.
-- Speaking of Green, if he spends the summer learning how to be a basketball player and getting something resembling coaching ... he could potentially be a beast in 2010.
-- Finally, there's been much discussion about whether people in the state of Alabama -- 'Bama fans and Auburn fans -- really care that much about basketball (by extension, sports other than football). And the answer is "yes," but ... not really. To wit: the last time Alabama lost to Auburn in football, I was genuinely bummed out for a day or two before pulling myself together.
Last night? I fumed for a minute or two, then shrugged my shoulders and went to bed.
And with that, we move on. Today is a "Lost" day, so look for more of that later on.