16 March 2010
We got a little behind in the weekly Bama notes, but it's never too late to play catch up. So, here are the bullet points from the last few weeks of Bama athletics.
--- Spring football practice has started. Sure, it was just one practice without pads, but football is football. And for eleven guys, this was the first real football in their careers at Alabama. The team will practice again on Monday, and we'll have our normal reports throughout the three weeks leading up to A-Day on April 17.
--- The men's basketball season came to a close with a second round loss in the SEC Tournament. Bama closed the season with a bit of momentum, winning three of the final four games. The Tide missed out on a bid to the NIT, which is an upbeat way of saying that Bama had a bad season. Some time in the next week I'm going to try to sit down and give my thoughts on the state of the basketball program, but in case that doesn't happen, let's just say that I am very optimistic and hopeful after watching Anthony Grant coach for a full season. No one is happy with a 17-15 record (6-10 in the SEC), but things will improve under Coach Grant.
--- The women's basketball season also came to a close in the SEC Tournament. Bama dropped its first round game against Georgia 73-66. The women also built a little momentum, though, winning two of their final three regular season games, including their first two road conference wins in five years. Wendell Hudson has a top ten national recruiting class coming in for the 2010-11 season, and I expect we'll see the Bama women become competitive again in the SEC as soon as next season.
--- The Alabama baseball team has continued its great start, working its way into the top 25. After scoring two runs in the ninth inning to beat Minnesota on Tuesday night, Bama has pushed its record to 13-1. Taylor Dugas continues to be among the nation's best hitters with a .490 average. Clay Jones leads the Tide in home runs with 5 and RBI with 21. Pitcher Jimmy Nelson is 3-0 with a microscopic 0.82 ERA through his first four starts. Bama will play one more with Minnesota on Wed at 6:35 before kicking off SEC play with a three game home series with Vanderbilt over the weekend.
--- The women's softball team has worked its way back into the nation's top 5 with a strong start to SEC play. Bama dropped its last game at Kentucky 5-4, but the Tide had won its previous three games. Bama will play return home to play Florida International at 6:00 on Thursday before opening the home SEC schedule on Saturday at 1:00 against South Carolina.
--- The women's gymnastics team has maintained its #1 national ranking despite dropping a tough road match at #2 Oklahoma. Road teams rarely win in gymnastics, as scoring totals are routinely inflated for home teams, especially good home teams (Bama benefits from this, too). The fact that Bama was willing to travel to Oklahoma should bode well as they prepare for the championship part of the season. The Bama gymnasts should be road-tested when they head to Florida for both the SEC Title Meet (Jacksonville) and hopefully the NCAA Championship (Gainesville). Up first, though is a Friday night home meet with Michigan at 7:30.
--- The men's golf team is coming off of a two week break this week and will head to Statesboro, GA for the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational on Friday through Sunday. Bama is still considered to be one of the nation's better teams, and they have two more meets before SEC and NCAA Championship meets begin.
--- The women's golf team finished third t the Tiger/Wave Classic in New Orleans during the last weekend. The Tide has moved up the ranks to a #7 spot in the recent national polls. They have two meets left before Championship season begins, starting with the Liz Murphy Collegiate Classic at Georgia on March 26-28. The Tide will host the SEC Championship at the North River Yacht Club April 16-18.
--- The women's rowing team kicked off their spring schedule with a sweep of Kansas State. Bama won all eight races against the Wildcats as Coach Larry Davis continues to build the Bama program from scratch. They will be on the road for the rest of the month, with matches at Clemson and Tennessee before returning home on April 3 for a match with Oklahoma and Old Dominion.
--- The swimming and diving teams competed at the NCAA Zone B Championships, which serve as the regional for the overall NCAA Championships. Swimming results are sadly tough to come by, but we know that these swimmers and divers have qualified to those championships - Aaron Fleshner, Mark Randall, Denes Zubcsek, Carrie Dragland, Agustina di Giovanni, Kate Shannon Gray, and Suzanne Schwee. The women's championships are this coming weekend in Lafayette, IN, with the men competing the following weekend in Columbus, OH.
--- The men's tennis team has had a rough stretch in the last couple of weeks, dropping three of its last four meets. The Tide is currently ranked #32 nationally, and will have a chance to get back on the winning track this weekend at Vanderbilt. The next home match will be March 26 at 6:30 against Southern Miss.
--- The women's tennis team has dropped four matches in a row, and have seen their ranking drop to 69th. Making matters worse, all four of the losses were in conference play, though only one came at home. The next two matched are at home, on Sunday at 1:00 against Tulane and then on the 26th at 3:00 against Vanderbilt.
--- The track and field teams competed at the Indoor NCAA Championships over the weekend. Kirani James earned All-American honors finishing 2nd in the 400 meter dash, leading the men to a team ranking of 26th. The women didn't fare as well, finishing 60th.
--- There has been no word yet on the search to replace Judy Green as the women's volleyball coach. Green retired after the season, having led Alabama to its only SEC Western Division Championship and only NCAA Tournament appearances.
--- Mal Moore has been named a finalist for the Street & Smith's Athletic Director of the Year. He joins North Carolina's Dick Baddour, Boise State's Gene Bleymaier, UCLA's Dan Guerrero, and Ohio State's Gene Smith as a finalist. The winner will be announced on May 20 at the Marriott Marquis in New York. Coach Moore's last trip to Manhattan was for the Heisman Trophy presentation.
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