Alabama Basketball: Bold schedule and more thoughts on ’21-22 Tide

Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Basketball coach Nate Oats is a confident guy. Going back to his days at Buffalo, Oats had a zeal for challenging tough opponents. He has grown even bolder as the Alabama Crimson Tide head man.

Wherever the Crimson Tide is ranked and seeded come Big Dance time next season, Oats will have a battle-tested team. Quite a few national, college basketball experts are predicting the Crimson Tide will be a top ten team, a likely 2-seed again and a possible 1-seed come tourney time.

Based on the abundance of added talent in Tuscaloosa, Oats should have a better team in the ’21-22 season. Better, even if Josh Primo remains in the NBA Draft.

The team could be better and go farther in the 2022 NCAA Tournament while not matching some measures of success from last season. A back-to-back, SEC ‘Double’ is always a tall order. The Tide’s ’20-21 ‘Double’ of being the SEC regular season and Tournament Champion was only the program’s second-ever. The other time, in 1987, the Tide failed to repeat as either champion in 1988. C.M. Newton had three straight SEC Championships from 1974 through 1976, but the SEC had no post-season tournaments in that period.

Matching or surpassing last season’s 26-7 record will be a challenge because the schedule looks to be much tougher. The final schedule will not be released for another couple of months, but already the challenges are obvious.

Nate Oats loads up Alabama Basketball schedule

The old adage of becoming the best by beating the best comes to mind. Rosters are so fluid these days, ranking teams before August is difficult. Instead of ranking the SEC teams, it is fair to believe the league will be tougher than last season. If for no other reason than because Kentucky and Mississippi State will be much improved. Arkansas can be a top ten team. Tennessee, Missouri, Florida, Auburn and LSU, with Cam Thomas now out of the NBA Draft, can all become top twenty teams. At least eight of the SEC’s 14 teams have a solid chance to become NCAA Tournament teams.

All the adversity offered by the SEC was not enough for Nate Oats. The Tide will travel to Spokane to take on the early No. 1 favorite, Gonzaga. With the Zags, plus Baylor and Houston on the schedule, the Crimson Tide will play three of last season’s final four teams. NIT Champion, Memphis is on the schedule. In an Orlando Tournament, Alabama Basketball will join a field that includes Kansas, Iona, Belmont, Miami, North Texas, Dayton and Drake.

Lack of experience no problem for Crimson Tide. dark. Next

Alabama Basketball fans are in for a most exciting season. For those choosing to make the trip to Spokane, a tip from experience – try not to change planes in Denver.