March 15, 2007

Jim Farmer's Weekly Dish

A disappointing season ended in disappointment for the Crimson Tide on Tuesday night when a last second bucket by UMass killed any Alabama's chance to end the season on a positive note.

Still, with any bad situation comes some good in the form of experience and lessons learned. The Tide showed in their final game of the season that though they never became a great team this year, they learned a lot along the way.

Before we take a look at the final game, let's go back and look at the Tide's first round loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament.

Final two games sum up Tide season

Mark Gottfried and the rest of the Crimson Tide were hopeful that a few days off might give Ronald Steele the time he needed to heal up for the Kentucky game but in his 12 minutes on the floor during Alabama's 67-79 loss to the Wildcats, it was obvious that Steele would not be able to contribute meaningful minutes to this team until he's had a full off-season to recuperate.

Without a healthy Steele, the Tide suffered through the same issues they have all season. They came out strong and fired up, jumping to an early double-digit lead. But as has been the case with so many games this season, the lead did not hold as the Tide players started to get out of the rhythm that gave them that lead. They started to try and create their own shots rather than run the offense they've been taught and the result was plenty of missed shots and blown opportunities.

Whether it's Brandon Hollinger going for a lay-up under guys a foot taller than him or Alonzo Gee trying to take a defender one-on-one, the Tide offense just isn't set up for players to create their own plays.

Gottfried stuck with his offense because without Steele, he wanted his team to stick to things they were familiar with rather than abandon ship in mid-season and try and teach them a whole new offense. I don't believe any coach would simply give up the season after losing their point guard, which is what Gottfried would have been doing had he decided to teach his team a new offense.

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