Archived Story

UA b-ball looks to be fool’s gold

Published 12:26pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You probably thought I would have to eat my words, didn’t you? My little rant on Alabama basketball head coach Anthony Grant a few weeks ago? Remember that?
After I wrote it, the Tide went on a nice winning streak and got back in the NCAA tourney conversation. For a moment, it seemed Coach Grant had righted the ship — only his team then laid a gigantic egg in the final few minutes of a loss at LSU this past Saturday.
Now, ‘Bama has about as much chance on being in the tournament field as Joe Dirt has of winning a retroactive Oscar.
Alabama completely self-destructed in the last two and a half minutes of regulation when it blew a 10-point lead to the home standing Tigers.
That’s right — the team (and coach) which had been lauded with back-handed praise about its defense all year allowed a below average LSU team to make up a double-digit deficit in seemingly record time.
That, people, is a sign of bad coaching.
The few Grant supporters left love to point to the fact that ‘Bama is still in second place in the SEC or that the Tide has a decent 18-9 record. Those two accolades should be treated for what they are: fool’s gold.
The SEC is a putrid league in 2013. Three or four of the teams are historically bad even by their historically bad standards. Florida is certainly championship worthy and Missouri, Ole Miss and Kentucky can be palatable at times. But the rest of the league is a rainbow of terribleness.
Essentially the SEC is  one Miss America, three moderately good looking local news anchors and 10 post-marathon-on-a-really-humid-day Kathy Bateses.
Therefore, finishing second in this version of the league is hardly worth a contract extension. I would literally rather be a Cyclops with pink eye than watch most of the SEC play basketball.
2013 is year four of the Grant regime, and Alabama has the athletic players, adequate facilities and enough support to be much better than their record suggests.
This squad should be much more worried about tournament seeding rather than worrying about squandering leads against inferior opponents.
What is really disheartening is that the Tide is now being lumped into the “but this is the best Alabama and Auburn can do” conversation. Frankly, that is simply not true.
I know this fact is hard to absorb in a football-mad state like this one, but Alabama has a solid basketball history. If nothing else, Tide fans expect more than the last decade has provided.
To now be grouped with the Tigers as if both programs have never amounted to anything is an even further indictment of how bad things have gotten.
This is not to say the Alabama is on par with Kentucky, Duke or North Carolina. However, I think it is fair for ‘Bama fans to expect to beat the likes of Mercer, Tulane and Auburn without much trouble. Especially when you consider Alabama had double-digit leads in each of those ball games.
A ridiculous number of teams make the NCAA field each year. Why is it so unreasonable to assume Alabama should be among them?
Tide fans aren’t clamoring for a national title. I think they just want more from the $1.8 million their coach is being paid.
Robinson is a columnist for The Outlook.