Alabama Basketball has enjoyed a stress-free 4-0 start to the 2023-24 season. The Crimson Tide has beaten Morehead State, Indiana State, South Alabama, and Mercer by an average score of 102-67.
One of the telling marks of a great team is the ability to consistently dominate inferior competition, and, so far, Bama has checked that box. Still, the Tide won’t be considered a proven commodity until it can play at the same level against quality opponents.
That opportunity is coming, as the Alabama Basketball schedule is about to get a lot tougher. The Crimson Tide heads down to Destin, Florida this week to compete in the Emerald Coast Classic. It will face Ohio State on Friday evening, and then will play either Oregon or Santa Clara the following day depending on Friday’s results.
Following the Destin trip, Bama Hoops will come home to host Clemson in ACC/SEC Challenge. Clemson is a tough and well-coached team under longtime head man Brad Brownell. The Tigers will be led by veteran standouts such as forward PJ Hall, guard Chase Hunter, and Syracuse transfer guard Joe Girard. All three have been standouts in the ACC for multiple seasons.
After a bout with Arkansas State, Alabama Basketball will enter into what is without a doubt the most difficult portion of its non-conference schedule. First, Bama will hit the road to play Purdue in Toronto on December 9th. A week later, it will play Creighton in Omaha. Finally, it faces Arizona in Phoenix on December 20th. All three future opponents are currently undefeated and ranked in the top-10, with Purdue and Arizona in the top three nationally.
Bama ran a similar gauntlet last season, facing five ranked opponents in a 7-game stretch that spanned three weeks. The Tide went 5-2 in that stretch, losing only to eventual national champion UConn and perennial west coast powerhouse Gonzaga. Among its wins were conquests over two no. 1 teams, North Carolina and Houston.
Just like last year, this month-long stretch will determine how legitimate this Alabama Basketball team is. There will be ample opportunities for the Tide to rack up quality wins and begin to build an impressive NCAA Tournament resume once again.