Things Look Bleak For Tide Basketball

Alabama's basketball season has barely begun, but already it appears to be in a death spiral. After back-to-back NCAA Tournament teams in 2011 and 2012, there was cautious optimism that Coach Anthony Grant had the Crimson Tide on the right path.

The past few weeks have cast doubt. Alabama has not been ready to play at the opening tip in its past three games. There was a nice comeback for only a two-point loss at nationally ranked Cincinnati. Not too bad. Then the Crimson Tide hosted Dayton and was romped, although the final five-point margin of defeat was deceptive.

Saturday afternoon in Richmond, Bama didn't score a field goal until almost halfway through the first half and Alabama fell by 19 points to Virginia Commonweath. The Rams took a 73-54 win over the Crimson Tide.

Alabama scored 18 first half points and trailed by 15 points, 33-18.

VCU led by as many as 26 points.

Alabama made only 16-41 field goals (39 per cent) and only 3-11 three-point shots (27.3 per cent). Meanwhile, the Tide allowed VCU 24-51 on field goals (47.1 per cent) and 9-25 on treys (36 per cent). Bama made 18 turnovers, VCU 11. The Tide had 8 assists, the Rams 16. VCU blocked 5 Alabama shots, while Bama had 1 block. VCU had 11 steals, Alabama 7.

VCU outscored Alabama in the paint, 26-24; the Rams had 17 second chance points, Bama 5. Fast break points: VCU 6, Alabama 0.

Alabama has made a huge financial commitment to basketball since hiring Grant, including palatial new coaches offices, player dressing rooms, player meeting room, and practice court. That in addition to the extraordinary improvements made to Coleman Coliseum prior to Grant's arrival. The investments were designed to affect recruiting.

Last year Alabama signed one player, Devonta Pollard. A case can be made that was good recruiting, because on Saturday Pollard was Bama's leading scorer with 13 points on 5-7 field goal shooting and 3-4 foul shots and he was the Tide's top rebounder with 8. The only other Alabama player in double figures was Levi Randolph with 10 points.

Alabama remains on the road for its next contest, traveling to Lubbock, Texas to take on Texas Tech Wednesday at 7 p.m. CST. The Tide then returns home next Saturday, Dec. 22, for a game vs. Mercer, which gets underway at 1 p.m. CST.

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