A streaking Alabama Crimson Tide, SEC chances and national rankings

The Alabama Crimson Tide is the SEC's pack-leader at the halfway point of the regular season and the SEC's top team in the most important national ranking.
Feb 3, 2024; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama guard Kai Spears (32) watches his three-pointer fall
Feb 3, 2024; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama guard Kai Spears (32) watches his three-pointer fall / Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

It was a sweet Saturday night for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Bama crushed a pretty good Mississippi State team, 99-67. Near the end, new Alabama scholarship player, Kai Spears drained a three. The Alabama bench and the Coleman crowd erupted in celebration.

Somewhat out of character for the season, even while scoring 99 points, the Crimson Tide's defense stood out. The Bulldogs were held to 40% shooting, including just 25% from outside the arc. Alabama had 13 steals to MSU's seven and five blocks to zero for the Bulldogs.

At the SEC halfway mark, Alabama has become the favorite to win the SEC regular season. However, it will not be easy. The Crimson Tide has won 10 of its last 11 games, but the schedule in the next nine games is tougher than the first half of the SEC regular season. Five of the nine games are on the road. At Auburn, at Kentucky, at Ole Miss, and at Florida are serious challenges. Plus there is Tennessee at home and no sure wins in home games against Texas A&M and Florida.

The Crimson Tide has improved dramatically since the December losses to Purdue, Creighton, and Arizona. A 6-3 run in the final nine would produce a 14-4 conference record. That should be enough to win the SEC; 15-3 certainly would be.

At this point, Nate Oats' team is good enough to win all nine of the remaining regular season games. If the Tide can prevail in Auburn on Wednesday night, being favored in the other eight games, could result in a 16-2 SEC record.

As important as the SEC Regular Season Championship is, there are other pressing matters. JBR Bracketology projects there are 10 current locks for the NCAA Tournament. The SEC has two of the 10; the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Vols. The projection is early evidence the Crimson Tide is playing for a strong NCAA Tournament seeding, along with playing for championships.

Alabama Crimson Tide and other SEC Teams Rankings

Note: Only two rankings sources are listed; the NCAA NET and Ken Pomeroy. The are other credible sources, but the AP and Coaches polls provide no value.

  • Alabama Crimson Tide - NCAA NET, No. 5 and KenPom No. 7
  • Tennessee Vols - NET No. 6 and KenPom No. 6
  • Auburn Tigers - NET No. 8 and KenPom No. 5
  • Kentucky Wildcats - NET No. 26 and KenPom No. 27
  • South Carolina Gamecocks - NET No. 38 and KenPom No. 43
  • Florida Gators - NET No. 39 and KenPom No. 33
  • Mississippi State Bulldogs - NET No. 44 and KenPom No. 40
  • Texas A&M Aggies - NET No. 49 and KenPom No. 46
  • Ole Miss Rebels - NET No. 61 and KenPom No. 63
  • Georgia Bulldogs - NET No. 85 and KenPom No. 73
  • LSU Bengal Tigers - NET No. 93 and KenPom No. 79
  • Arkansas Razorbacks - NET No. 130 and KenPom No. 116
  • Missouri Tigers - NET No. 137 and KenPom No. 126
  • Vanderbilt Commodores - NET No. 226 and KenPom No. 187

Nine SEC teams have four or fewer SEC losses and potentially any of the nine could win the regular season. Realistically, Alabama with one SEC loss and South Carolina, Auburn and Tennessee, each with two SEC losses, are the only championship contenders.

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