Soloman Alabi Still Developing Game; Marquette's Incredible Preparation

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer INovember 27, 2009

ATLANTA - MARCH 15:  Solomon Alabi #32 of the Florida State Seminoles jumps for the ball against the Duke Blue Devils during the championship game of the 2009 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament on March 15, 2009 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

ORLANDO -- Soloman Alabi should have had a field day against an undersized Iona roster.

Instead the seven footer struggled mightily to the tune of only six points on 1-of-7 shooting and four free throws.

Alabi never looked comfortable against the Gaels, which is a serious problem for coach Leonard Hamilton.

Alabi's size allowed him to grab five offensive boards, but Alabi is still very raw in his development and couldn't finish his many short attempts.

Hamilton credited some of Alabi's struggles to Iona's pressure, but also the makeup of this year's squad.

"Soloman isn't accustomed to getting trapped like that," Hamilton said. "Last year, we had a different kind of team that was able to stretch the defense. Every time he caught the ball he had three or four defenders on him."

Alabi finished the game with a game-high seven turnovers.

Alabi is critical to Florida State's success as Hamilton needs someone to replace Toney Douglas's scoring.

Standout freshman Michael Snaer doesn't look like he's ready to star in Douglas's place just yet so the scoring has to come from somewhere.

Before the season, Hamilton was hoping it would be Alabi who would step up. But right now, Hamilton hasn't seen that improvement from Alabi or any other Seminole.

The nature of the Old Spice Classic means Hamilton better find someone quickly.

"This tournament is good for us," Hamilton said. "The competition is very forces you to improve very quickly."


It was pretty obvious during Marquette's postgame press conference after the Golden Eagles beat Xavier, that Buzz Williams was a bit concerned with the complexity of Michigan's offense and defense.

"I know they ran 25 different sets today and played four different defenses," William said. "In the next 18 hours we better figure it out. We will have a lot of walk-throughs tonight and in the hotel room."

Williams' team was in good hands with the amount of preparation time the Marquette coaching staff put into scouting the Wolverines.

"The turnover with the time was a quick turnaround," Williams said. "After dinner last night we studied a bit with our staff and then we brought the players in. We were together for about an hour and then I stayed with our staff through early this morning and then we brought our guys in."

The Marquette coaching staff had many of Michigan's offensive sets diagrammed while watching the Wolverines' live against Creighton. They had written down everything Michigan coach John Beilein was calling out for each set as well.

During the Marquette's 79-65 win against Michigan, it sounded like every time Beilein called a set out, the Marquette coaching staff was identifying the set and where the cutters would come from and relayed that information to the Golden Eagles' defense before Michigan ran through its set.

Marquette's alertness on the defensive end of the floor resulted in Michigan struggling from the floor.

Williams didn't collapse on Manny Harris much and this allowed his defenders to contest the Wolverines' bread and butter, the three-point shot.

Michigan shot just 3-of-20 from three including a combined 0-for-9 from Stu Douglass and Manny Harris.

Buzz Williams also decided to start Dwight Buycks and Darius Johnson-Odom together for the first time because he wanted an extra ball-handler on the floor against Michigan's pressure 1-3-1 defense in the half-court.

After Michigan forced Creighton into 18 turnovers, the Golden Eagles turned the ball over just 10 times and were able to easily carve through Michigan's zone.


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