After the final buzzer, there was no image more powerful than injured guard Kevin Ware cutting down the net. But as the lights shut down at the Georgia Dome and the stage was cleared, many college basketball fans that weren’t dressed in Cardinal colors began to think about their team for next year, Alabama basketball fans included.
What will the team look like? Will Alabama make the tournament next year? Many Crimson Tide basketball fans are wondering if Grant will finally find the success that he was billed for when he was hired.
ESPN.com’s Jason King answered the call and placed the Crimson Tide #23 on his very early Top 25 for the 2013-14 season.
King notes that Trevor Releford was named SEC Player of the year by many SEC media members and notes many players will be returning and making contributions:
“Trevor Lacey (11.3 points) and Rodney Cooper (10.2) also averaged in double figures. Highly touted forward Devonta Pollard was slow to adapt to the college game as a freshman, but Grant is hopeful he’ll make significant strides during the offseason to be a major factor as a sophomore.”
King also mentions one of Alabama’s top recruits, Jimmie Taylor, who is one of the nation’s best centers according to ESPN. King goes on to say that the 2013-14 Alabama basketball season “could be the best season Crimson Tide team coach Anthony Grant has had since arriving in Tuscaloosa.”
Certainly, next year will a testament to Anthony Grant’s career at Alabama. With Andrew Steele being the only player leaving due to graduation and a more experienced team coming back, Alabama should have some fantastic pieces put together. The only things we don’t know for sure are the schedule and injuries, the latter of which have plagued the Crimson Tide the last couple of years. For Grant, it’s really a 2014 NCAA Tournament appearance or bust. Many fans believe that the 2013-14 season is a make-it-or-break-it for the former Florida assistant.
King also named the Kentucky Wildcats the top team the Very Early Top 25, with the now three-time NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals right behind them at No. 2. He also has Michigan State, Arizona and Duke rounding out the top five.
King has two other Final Four teams in his rankings, with the Syracuse Orange clocking in at No. 10 and the Wichita State Shockers close with No. 11. Michigan, the NCAA runner-ups, is not anywhere in King’s Top 25, although he mentions them as one of the 15 teams to watch for.
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