The unexpected decision of Charles Bediako to leave Alabama Basketball after two seasons had a quick impact. With no Big Charles on the 2023-24 roster, the CBS Preseason 25+1seriously downgraded the Crimson Tide.
Prior to Bediako’s decision, Alabama was ranked No. 7 by CBS. In the latest ranking, the Alabama Crimson Tide plummeted to No. 18.
Was the adjustment too harsh? CBS continues to factor in returns by Mark Sears and Jahvon Quinerly. The incoming class is solid. Two transfers should give the Tide a boost, especially in offensive output. But, Alabama teams don’t often have to adjust to the loss of two outstanding players like Brandon Miller and Noah Clowney – and then lose a returning starter rim protector.
Instead of CBS being harsh, one could question if the previous No. 7 ranking was at least, a bit too high.
Note: Even earlier CBS had the Crimson Tide at No. 6.
Alabama’s loss of Bediako was the lead story in the latest CBS release of its ranking. Gary Parrish wrote,
"… losing Jaden Bradley to the transfer portal, and Bediako to a draft that likely won’t include him, is a pair of unfortunate developments that should make somebody besides Alabama the favorite to win the SEC next season. The Crimson Tide will probably still be good, if only because Oats is too good of a coach to have a bad team at this point in his tenure."
“Probably still be good” is not much praise for a program coming off its winningest season ever.
The top five according to CBS are Kansas, U Conn, Purdue, Marquette and Duke. An assumption is made that Zach Edey will return for the Boilermakers. The high number of returning scorers in the other four, top-five teams more than justifies their rankings.
Alabama Basketball and six other SEC teams
Seven SEC teams are ranked in the 25+1, with the Arkansas Razorbacks in the SEC’s top spot at No. 9. The conferences with the most teams ranked after the SEC’s seven are the Big 12 with five teams and the Pac-12 with three teams.
Below Arkansas, the SEC has a tight grouping of teams with the Kentucky Wildcats at No. 14, followed by the Tennessee Vols at No. 16, Texas A&M at No, 17 and the Crimson Tide. The two remaining ranked SEC teams are Mississippi State at No. 25 and Auburn at No. 26.
There will be many more preseason rankings. Nate Oats has three open roster slots and time to fill them. Based on early reviews the new assistants are outstanding and a top recruiter is expected to join them in the coming weeks. Alabama basketball fans are justified in thinking the Crimson Tide will be better than “probably still be good.”