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The secret to beating Alabama has been revealed


Mike Miller

For now, we need to all cool our expectations for Alabama.

It pains me to say that, because I really like the makeup of this team. They are gritty defensively, they have an outstanding presence on the low-block in JaMychal Green and, of course, Mr. POSTERIZED himself, Tony Mitchell.

Alabama’s problem is that they simply don’t have enough offensive weapons. And teams have figured out how to exploit that.

Its simple really.

The first step is to protect the basketball. If you don’t turn the ball over -- or, at the least, if you don’t give up ‘pick-six’ turnovers that lead directly to run-outs -- than you force Alabama to play offense in the half court. Once you get them into the half court, the key becomes a sagging defense that helps defend the paint. Limit the number of touches that Green gets one-on-one on the block and cut off the driving lanes for Mitchell, and Alabama’s offense sputters. They simply don’t have enough perimeter shooting to make their opponent pay for packing it in defensively.

It worked for Georgetown last week, when the Hoyas went into Tuscaloosa and ended a two-year home-court winning streak for the Crimson Tide. But Georgetown is a good basketball team, one that has proven that they were underrated heading into the season.

Dayton hasn’t.

The Flyers won a watered down Old Spice Classic and followed that up with a 29 point drubbing at the hands of Buffalo on their home floor and a 17 point loss at Murray State. It wouldn’t be fair to call Dayton a bad basketball team. They are enigmatic, yes, and downright atrocious at times.

But the Flyers showed their mettle on Wednesday night when they beat Alabama 74-62. Dayton completely controlled the game, jumping out to a double-digit lead midway through the first half and, with the exception of an Alabama run midway through the second half that got the lead down to four, keeping from Tide from making any real threat. Part of the reason they were able to take control of the game was that Green go into foul trouble early, but even with their big man back in the lineup, it was a task just to ask them to make a run in the second half.

Alabama is still going to win plenty of games and should still be considered an NCAA Tournament team.

But until their issues on the offensive end of the floor get ironed out, the talk of the Crimson Tide being a sleeper to make the Final Four has to be quelled.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.