Alabama Basketball and a Final Four, why and why not

A recent computer simulation projected the Alabama Crimson Tide as a Final Four team. Check out why that simulation could be wrong or could be right.
Doug Engle/Ocala Star Banner / USA TODAY

Evan Miyakawa is a respected statistician and a recognized college basketball expert. On Monday he got the attention of Alabama Crimson Tide fans with a tweet that predicted Alabama Basketball will make to this season's Final Four.

Based on a simulation from his algorithm, Miyakawa's projected Final Four teams include three SEC teams. Along with Alabama, he has Tennessee and Auburn in college basketball's 2024 elite. The fourth team is TCU. Simulations can produce some questionable projections. In this case, the biggest surprise team is not Alabama but TCU.

Not many college basketball fans will embrace the results of Miyakawa's simulation. Alabama could be the most doubted team among Miyakawa's Final Four. How can a team that lost to Tennessee by 20 points, along with losses of 17 points to Auburn, 22 points to Kentucky and 18 points to Florida become a Final Four team?

On the surface, it is so implausible to almost be folly for a team that lost six games by double-digits to be worthy of a Final Four run. Still, a deeper look provides reasons why the Crimson Tide might gain the program's first Final Four this season.

There are solid arguments for both the folly claim and what many would call the fanciful claim that the Alabama Crimson Tide can make a Final Four run. Admittedly there are more reasons why Alabama will not win four NCAA Tournament games. To some three wins and even two are suspect.

Reasons Alabama Crimson Tide will not be a Final Four team

  • The Alabama Basketball program has no history of advancing past an Elite Eight. Unlike Alabama Football, Crimson Tide Basketball has no retained memories of National Championship success.
  • This season the Crimson Tide has been tested against six of college basketball's best teams in eight games. Seven of the eight resulted in Alabama losses.
  • The Crimson Tide offense orchestrated by Nate Oats is at times the best in college basketball. But three times in February and March, Crimson Tide losses occurred from teams using physical play and aggressive perimeter defense to take the Tide out of its offensive rhythm.
  • After a recent loss, Nate Oats commented saying, "Everybody knows that we don't really guard at this point." Teams still learning how to play defense in March don't win championships.

Reasons Alabama Crimson Tide could become a Final Four team

  • Nate Oats never wavers in pushing his players to deliver his offensive system of play. When the Tide is near the top of its offensive game, Alabama can compete against any team.
  • Alabama is better at finishing at the rim than last season.
  • At 78.6%, Alabama is an outstanding free-throw shooting team. In addition, when three of Mark Sears, Latrell Wrightsell, Rylan Griffen, Aaron Estrada, and Sam Walters are draining threes, it is almost impossible to defend the Crimson Tide.
  • Nate Oats has developed a roster deep in talent. Young players Mo Dioubate, Jarin Stevenson, and especially Sam Walters have made rapid late-season improvements.

The Crimson Tide in the Final Four? With some luck, it is not impossible.

Note: Alabama team stats provided by Sports Reference.