Alabama Basketball loose, confident, and ready to ‘let it fly’

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Practice
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Practice / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The advantages of playing the underdog role may already be presenting themselves for Alabama Basketball ahead of its Final Four game against UConn.

The Crimson Tide has proven it is a legitimate team. After ranking very high in various analytical metrics all year, the Tide have made a historic run to its first Final Four, already beating a no. 1 seed along the way. Still, no one is giving Alabama a chance against Dan Hurley’s red-hot UConn squad. 

Sure, the Huskies are a different animal; something the likes of which Bama has not seen in this tournament or all year. However, I would argue that the inverse is also true. At least on the defensive end of the floor, UConn hasn’t guarded anything like Nate Oats’ high-efficiency system. According to North Carolina forward Armando Bacot, the Tide will “really put a lot of pressure” on the Huskies.

Regardless, the national narrative that Bama doesn’t have a chance could play into the Tide’s favor. The lack of respect in some cases is astounding: there are well-respected national media pundits who are only asking the question “Will UConn cover?” and not even discussing the possibility of an Alabama win.

Of course, it’s more of an ode to UConn’s dominance over the last two NCAA Tournaments than it is an indictment on the Crimson Tide, but Nate Oats’ squad has the opportunity to leave a lot of talking heads speechless.

At least on the surface, the lack of belief in Alabama has already done wonders for the Tide’s mentality. Video footage from this week’s Final Four practices has shown a team that is focused but loose. Having already made program history by getting to this point, and not being given a chance to beat UConn, all the pressure is off the shoulders of Alabama. As a result, the Tide is just having fun and enjoying the ride.

This is a confident bunch that believes it can win, and that is the first step to pulling off an upset.