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January 23, 2013

Analyzing the Enemy: South Alabama







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Analyzing Your Enemy: University of South Alabama

We're the mighty Jaguars
Stand up and cheer,
In our colors we take pride;
On to vic'try lead us year after year
We will stand here side by side.
Through the years we've prov'n
Our glory and fame.
Honor be to the victor's name,
U-S-A FIGHT!
FOR THE RED, WHITE & BLUE, GO JAGS!











Location:

Located in the tropics of Alabama, Mobile is the second best Sun Belt city to live in. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest municipality on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans, Louisiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida.

With the close proximity to one of the south's most popular vacation getaways, students can enjoy the beaches of Gulf Shores, a day on the links, and Lambert's Café.

I usually like to poke a little fun at the enemy's hometown but you can't really bash Mobile. Personally I love going to Mobile because it means I'm about 20 minutes away from the beach and some of the best seafood in the country. While we are freezing our butts off in Kentucky, thousands of South Alabama coeds are soaking up the sun. I can't hate on that.

Let's just move on to the rest of South Alabama's breakdown.

Oh yeah I almost forgot about Mobile's sister cities; Cockburn, Australia and Worms, Germany.


Mascot:

The USA mascot is none other than the cute and cuddly, South Paw.

In the late 1970's a mascot-naming contest was held and the name "South Paw" was chosen. In 1986, under the direction of Happy Fulford and Susie Olsen, USA's began its first structured mascot program, building the image of South Paw that exists today. A new costume with an enlarged soft head with comical expression replaced the old paper mache head.

The ever-flirtatious and mischievous "Miss Pawla" joined "South Paw" in 1992. Today, the duo of "South Paw" and "Miss Pawla" represent the Jaguars at USA athletic competitions and other events throughout the Mobile community.

Somebody better keep and eye on Paw & Pawla or we're gonna have a few jaguar cubs running around Mobile. Ain't nobody got time fo dat!










Notable Alumni:

Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki served as the president of the Muslim Students Association at South Alabama. Abu enjoys shooting his rifles, flying airplanes, and being a terrorist in his free time. He is also a leader of the Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabaab.

In 2007 a federal warrant for his arrest was issued.

What's Al-Amriki up to these days? Perhaps relaxing on the beach down in Gulf Shores. If you see him though, you should contact the federal government. The FBI added Al-Amriki to its "Most Wanted Terrorist" list last year.

Rodger McFarlane was an American gay rights activist who served as the first paid executive director of the Gay Men's Health Crisis and later served in a leadership position with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

McFarlane committed suicide at the age of 54 in a city called Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Yep, that's a real place and it sounds rather appropriate for the reasons he was there.

Major League Baseball Players: There are many MLB players from South Alabama. Here is the list Wikipedia provided me with- David Freese, Marlon Anderson, Glenn Borgmann, Steve Falteisek, Luis Gonzalez, Jon Lieber, Adam Lind, Mike Mordecai, Juan Pierre, Eddie Stanky (my favorite last name ever), P.J. Walters, and Turner Ward.

Eddie Stanky also coached at the university. Coach Stanky sent 43 players to the pros during his 14-year tenure at USA, including big leaguers Dave Stapleton of the Boston Red Sox, Mike O'Berry of the Cincinnati Reds and Pat Putnum of the Texas Rangers.


The Venue:

The Hilltoppers will be visiting the Mitchell Center aka "The Jungle" on Thursday night. The 10,041-seat arena was completed in 1998 replacing the Jaguars former home, Jag Gymnasium. The Mitchell Center is named after multi-million dollar real estate developers, the Mitchell family, and hosts many events throughout the year. Some of the many events that go on at the arena include theatrical performances, concerts, the circus, and auto racing. I'm really not sure how they pull off auto racing in there but they do.

The Sun Belt Conference tournament was help in the Mitchell Center in 2001 and 2008. How about we move it back there. Mobile is much more attractive than Hot Springs and the Mitchell Center is on of the best arenas in the conference.


Cheerleader Scouting Report:

A "pair" in poker is sometimes a decent hand. It really just depends on how high of a pair it is. Don't think you're gonna win the pot with pocket 4's though. I'll beat you every time.

What's better than a pair?

That would be "trips".

South Alabama just pushed the rest of the Sun Belt all-in with this set of triplets on their cheer squad. How often have you even seen triplets in real life much less on a Division I cheerleading team?

Never is the correct answer for that question.

The Sun Belt cheerleading scouting report keeps on impressing me each week. Don't worry, MTSU is up next. I'm sure they will somehow let me down.


Coach:

Interim head coach Jeff Price was put in charge after longtime coach Ronnie Arrow unexpectedly retired ten games into the season. Price has 17 years experience as a head coach at the collegiate level with most of those years at Division II programs. His overall record as a head coach is 293-186.

The Jaguars are 4-3 under the leadership of Price this season. The Jaguars are 69th in the nation in rebounding.


Players to Watch:

Augustine Rubit will be in the running for Sun Belt POTY, averaging 19.5 points per game to go along with 10.8 boards per game. Rubit wears the #21 uniform and is a threat in the post. The 6'7" junior is shooting 50 percent from the field, has 1.4 blocks per game, and is getting to the line about 8 times a game. Don't "hack-a-Shaq" Augustine though, his free throw shooting almost 80 percent.

Mychal Ammons might cause some trouble for the Hilltopper defense. The 6'6" guard/forward is scoring 11.1 points a game this season. Ammons is also a threat on the board, pulling down 7.4 rebounds per contest. Don't leave him open because he will shoot from behind the arc. The sophomore from Vicksburg, MS is shooting 41 percent from the three point line.

Key Wins:

The Jags defeated the Florida State Seminoles in their first game of the season. At the time Florida State was ranked 25th in the nation. The Seminoles now hold a 10-7 record.

Not saying this is a huge win but South Alabama defeated Arkansas-Little Rock 77-62 earlier in the season.

We may have our hands full tomorrow night.

Recent History:

Western Kentucky is 4-2 against South Alabama in the last 3 years. Last year the Tops split the series with the Jags.


Summary:

This is going to be a tough one for the Hilltoppers. If the offense in nowhere to be found on Thursday night we can go ahead and chalk up another loss for the Tops. George Fant will most certainly have his hands full in the paint with Rubit. We will see how tough Fant is when trying to defend the best big man in the league.

My Prediction: The Tops fall in Mobile 72-61.












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