Alabama Basketball: Coaches Poll shows fast Nate Oats progress

Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Basketball: Among SEC teams, those ranked and unranked in the preseason Coaches Poll is telling.

Alabama basketball, head coach, Nate Oats has his team ranked in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll. The Alabama Crimson Tide is one of just three SEC teams ranked in the poll. The others are Kentucky and Tennessee.

The Crimson Tide ranked No. 25 is well below Tennessee at No. 14 and Kentucky at No. 9. According to Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News, the preseason ranking stands out. It is only the second time Alabama basketball has been in the preseason poll since 2006.

No other preseason poll has the Crimson Tide at such a high ranking. That does not indicate Nate Oats’ team is going unnoticed. The preseason AP Poll has the Tide outside the Top 25, but with equivalent votes to be No. 29. Kentucky (No. 10), Tennessee (No. 12), LSU (No. 26) and Florida (No. 28) were voted higher in the AP Poll than the Crimson Tide.

Alabama basketball fans will relish the Crimson Tide being ranked by the coaches while LSU, Florida, Auburn and Arkansas are not.

The Coaches Poll also shows the challenge built into the Alabama basketball season. The Crimson Tide will have two games against the Kentucky Wildcats, along with a game versus the Tennessee Volunteers. No. 18 ranked, Houston comes to Tuscaloosa on Dec. 19. One or more games against ranked teams are possible in the Maui Classic. In the Asheville, NC field are No. 16 North Carolina and No. 22 Texas.  The Tide’s opening game in the tournament is against Stanford.

As always, SEC road games will be difficult for the Tide and every other SEC team. The Crimson Tide will travel to Knoxville, Auburn, Lexington, College Station, Columbia, MO  and Columbia, SC; along with its traditional road trips to SEC West rivals.

Other top out-of-conference contests are Clemson in Atlanta and Oklahoma in Norman.

Nate Oats has a bench filled with new talent in six new Crimson Tide players. In addition, Oats has three seniors (John Petty, Herbert Jones, Alex Reese) and sophomore Jaden Shackelford to rely on. Jahvon Quinerly and James Rojas who sat out last season are expected to be impact players. The same could be said for Juwan Gary, but Gary is not expected to be fully recovered from last year’s injury in the early part of the 2020-21 season.

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The Alabama Crimson Tide opens the season in Tuscaloosa. The season-opener is Nov. 25 against Jacksonville State.