Alabama Basketball: SEC player rankings reveal talent disparity


As the regular season winds down, Alabama basketball fans are asking why the 2021-22 Alabama Crimson Tide has underachieved. After last season’s success, some expected this season Nate Oats would field a potential final four team. Big wins in December and January fueled those expectations.

SEC losses to Missouri and Georgia dented the high hopes of Crimson Tide fans. Since upsetting Baylor on Jan. 29, the Crimson Tide is 3-3, with a loss to Auburn and two losses to Kentucky. It is as obvious to fans, as it is to Nate Oats, defensive efficiency and team, three-point shooting have failed the Crimson Tide.

So what is the problem? Is it Nate Oats’ chosen systems of play? Or is it, that the ’21-22 roster does not have the talents necessary to execute what Oats’ demands?

A close look at some national player rankings provides insight. A massively detailed trove of college basketball analytics is available from Evan Miyakawa. Miyakawa graduated from Baylor with a Ph.D in Statistics. His basketball research has been featured by Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports and ESPN.

What follows is a result of taking Miyakawa’s current, college basketball player rankings to review the player talent of SEC teams. Based only on players who have participated in 250 possessions for their teams this season, the top 500 Division 1 players were sorted.

For SEC teams, two points of comparison are shown below. The top six players on teams and the top three players are averaged to measure relative roster talent.

Seven SEC teams have six or more Top 500 players. An eighth (Mississippi State) has five. No other SEC team has more than two and two teams have none.

SEC Basketball Top 6 Players by team

  • Kentucky Wildcats – Oscar Tshiebwe (8); TyTy Washington (14); Keion Brooks Jr. (70); Sahvir Wheeler (79); Kellan Grady (126); Davion Mintz (145). The Wildcats six-player average is 74.
  • Auburn Tigers – Walker Kessler (45); Wendall Green (49); Jabari Smith (50); KD Johnson (86); Jaylin Williams (179); Dylan Cardwell (283). The Auburn six-player average is 115.
  • Tennessee Vols – Kennedy Chandler (16); Josiah-Jordan James (31); Santiago Vescovi (58); Justin Powell (165); Zakai Ziegler (188); John Fulkerson (250). The Tennessee six-player average is 118.
  • LSU Bengal Tigers – Tari Eason (29); Darius Days (44); Xavier Pinson (91); Eric Gaines (200); Brandon Murray (247); Mwani Wilkinson (284). The LSU six-player average is 149.
  • Alabama Crimson Tide – Keon Ellis (93); Jaden Shackelford (232); Juwan Gary (256);  Jahvon Quinerly (260); Darius Miles (324); Noah Gurley (417). The Crimson Tide six-player average is 263.7
  • Arkansas Razorbacks – Jaylin Williams (61); JD Notae (71); Davonte Davis (291); Connor Vanover (296); Stanley Umude (395); Chris Lykes (472). The Arkansas six-player average is 264.3.
  • Mississippi State Bulldogs – Iverson Molinar (193); Cameron Matthews (264); Garrison Brooks (266); Andersson Garcia (374); Shakeel Moore (473). The Mississippi State five-player average is 314.
  • Florida Gators – Colin Castleton (199); Myreon Jones (321); Anthony Durugi (402); Niels Lane (413); Jason Jitiboh (423); Tyree Appleby (448). The Florida sux-player average is 368.

SEC Basketball Top 3 Players by team

Unlike football, a small percentage of players; two or three players can carry a basketball team to success.

  • Kentucky’s three-player average is 31.
  • Tennessee – 35
  • Auburn – 48
  • LSU – 55
  • Arkansas – 141
  • Alabama – 195
  • Mississippi State – 241
  • Florida – 307

Alabama basketball fans may question why Charles Bediako was not ranked inside the Top 500 players. But looking at rankings of an individual player misses the key points of team, talent ranges.

The compiled rankings of the SEC teams clearly show why, over the course of a season, a few teams excel, while others lag behind – and others cannot be competitive.

Nate Oats’ Alabama Basketball System

Based on this data, a conclusion offered is Nate Oats’ system is not Alabama Basketball’s biggest weakness. Rather the greatest deficiency is Oats has not recruited and developed the players needed to run his system at a consistently high level.

dark. Next. Crimson Tide NCAA Tournament Bracketology

The illuminating data provided by Evan Miyakawa is not an indicator of outcomes of individual games. In individual games, players perform in a wide range of their worst to their best. When enough are near their best, Alabama Basketball can win any game.