Following a 1-1 weekend for the Alabama Basketball team at the Emerald Coast Classic the Crimson Tide has fallen to 23rd in the AP Poll. Entering the week, the Alabama Basketball team was ranked 17th, the loss to Ohio State obviously played a big role in the Alabama Basketball ranking. On Tuesday, the Crimson Tide will host the 5-0 Clemson Tigers before hosting Arkansas State on Monday night. The 23rd ranking leaves Alabama as the fifth-rated team in the conference with Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State leading the way.
The Emerald Coast Classic was a clear step up in competition for the team, facing its first two power five schools of the season. The main issue for this team continues to be defense, with the team allowing 92 points to Ohio State and 91 points to Oregon. Nate Oats’ team will always score points with its fast-paced style of play however, if they continue to allow opponents good looks this team won’t go as far as many hope. In the past few seasons, Oats’ teams have been able to get key stops while exhausting teams with its up-tempo style of play.
Alabama Basketball: Opportunities on the Horizon
The next few weeks will be a true test of this Alabama Basketball team as it will undergo a gauntlet of non-conference opponents. The first test will come this Tuesday as Alabama plays host to an unbeaten Clemson Tigers team. The Tigers are averaging 79.6 points per game which could provide an issue for a team that’s struggled defensively.
Then on December 9th, Alabama will face off with the nation’s top team in Purdue. The Boilermakers rose to number one after winning the Maui Invitational beating Gonzaga, Tennessee, and Marquette along the way. The concern against Purdue will be defending the reigning player of the year Zach Edey. The big man’s size will provide a daunting challenge. Alabama’s tallest player is 6’11. Zach Edey is a bulky 7’4.
Following Purdue, Alabama will face the eighth-ranked Creighton Blue Jays, followed by former Alabama Basketball player Jaden Bradley and the 3rd ranked Arizona Wildcats. The two teams will continue to provide an opportunity for players to step up and show their defensive abilities as both teams rank in the Top 20 in KenPom’s adjusted offensive ratings.
This stretch will provide Coach Nate Oats to evaluate where his team stacks up against the nation’s top programs before Alabama opens up conference play. Oats will likely cut players out of the rotation going forward after these games finding his eight best guys for the SEC stretch.