Dec. 29, 2006
Lipscomb basketball coach Scott Sanderson is proving that you can go home again. He just isn't certain what kind of welcome he will get when his Bisons take the court Friday night in Tuscaloosa against the No. 8-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
"I was born in Tuscaloosa and spend 18 years of my life there," Sanderson said. "I went to Central High School right across from the university. I have a lot of friends that still live there."
Alabama coach Mark Gottfried played for Scott's father, Wimp, the long-time coach at Alabama. Sanderson knows he is going to be renewing acquaintances with a lot of people, but once the game begins all of that will be pushed aside.
"I want let going back there be a distraction to me," Sanderson said. "I will do what I always do. I will try to get our team ready to play to the best of their ability.
"I know a lot about Coleman Coliseum. It has been a long time since I have been there. But once they toss the ball up I want even think about it."
The Crimson Tide offers the biggest challenge for the Bisons so far this season. This will be the last non-conference game of the season for the Bisons. Starting Jan. 2 at Kennesaw State the remaining games on the schedule are all in the Atlantic Conference where the Bisons are 2-0. Sanderson calls Alabama the best team his Bisons have faced in his time with the program.
"This is going to be a great game along the lines of Missouri, South Carolina and Vanderbilt," Sanderson said. "We played well in those games. All these games are preparation for league play."
"They're very good," Gottfried said. "They are very well-coached. Their perimeter players are excellent. They can score. It is kind of a three-headed monster with their three leading scorers.
"Although they're small, they are going to give us some problems. We've got to make sure we really prepare well for them."
And Sanderson agrees that if Fisk, Trey Williams and Ard can all start hitting on all cylinders together that the Bisons can be something special.
Ard scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the 66-61 win over Liberty, his best game of the season.
"Eddie played very well, not only offensively, but he played one of his best defensive games," Sanderson said. "He was very consistent on both ends of the floor. That's the best he has played this year. He just looks more comfortable out there playing."
Sanderson plans a couple of new wrinkles in an effort to slow down Alabama, a team he says has no weaknesses.
"They have really good players," Sanderson said. "Usually when you play a team there is one player or maybe 1 ½ guys you don't have to guard. But with Alabama's starting five you have to guard them all. All of them can score 20 on you on any given night. They have two big guys on the post and three guys on the perimeter that are terrific. They pound you on the backboards. They have a very good inside-outside attack.
"We have to be very good at what we do defensively. They are so explosive. It's like putting a Band-Aid on a bad wound. It doesn't work for long periods of time."