Alabama Basketball: Tide and Irish seeds should have been reversed


The Alabama basketball season came to a close Friday afternoon in San Diego. The closing game loss, 78-64 to Notre Dame was hardly shocking. For Crimson Tide fans who watched the Tide flourish early in the season and whither late, the end was not surprising.

After opening the SEC season with wins over Tennessee and Florida, Alabama was 11-3. The Crimson Tide went 8-11 the rest of the way, stumbling to a 19-win season, with a closing, four-game losing streak.

Against Notre Dame, the Tide played more like the 11-seed rather than the Fighting Irish. When an 11-seed beats a 6-seed, it is supposed to be an upset. The Notre Dame win was no upset. It wasn’t, because Alabama was highly over-valued as a 6-seed.

Some Alabama fans will blame the Tide’s defense for the reason the Irish made 62.5% of their threes. There were, characteristically, some Crimson Tide defensive lapses. But many of the Irish threes were solidly contested.

An excuse could be made from the injury loss of Jahvon Quinerly, after only three minutes of play. But a healthy Quinerly could not have made up the 14-point deficit by himself.

Officiating could be another excuse, given at least two terrible calls that favored the Irish. The inclusion of SEC official Doug Shows made the crew suspect to Tide fans. But games are not lost by 14 points because of bad calls.

The reality is on Friday afternoon, Alabama had three basketball players that performed at a level required to compete in an NCAA Tournament game. They were Keon Ellis, Juwan Gary and JD Davison. Jaden Shackelford was the Tide’s second-leading scorer with 13 points. It took Shack 17 field-goal attempts and four free throws to reach 13.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame’s Cormac Ryan was 10-for-13, including 7-for-9 from outside the arc. Ryan didn’t need much scoring help from his teammates, but as a team, the Irish shot 53.7% to 40.6% for the Crimson Tide. Giving that stat some perspective – Alabama took 64 shots to produce 60 points; Notre Dame took 54 shots to produce 68 points. The Irish were also 10-for-11 from the foul line.

Talking about the team and the season, after the game Nate Oats said,

"I don’t think buy-in was as much as the issue as maturity and experience were."

Despite the disappointing ending to a once-promising season, it should be acknowledged Nate Oats has raised expectations for Alabama Basketball. There is little reason to doubt him, though next season, with a roster built by his recruiting, performance needs to match promise. Also, in fairness to Oats, it has been clear for a few weeks he did not know what to do with this team. Perhaps no coach could have figured it out. Oats will learn from the experience and the Crimson Tide will be better next year.

Note: Team and player stats in this post are courtesy of ESPN.

Next. What Tide Hoops has become since Mark Gottfried. dark

The preliminary medical diagnosis on Jahvon Quinerly is he incurred a serious knee injury.