Coming off of a 109-92 road win over LSU on Saturday, Alabama Basketball reclaimed its spot atop the SEC standings.
Ugly losses by Auburn and Tennessee gave the Tigers and the Vols three conference losses each, which allowed the Crimson Tide to remain at least a full game ahead of both rivals in the standings. This is a critical development, given that Bama’s two league losses came at the hands of Auburn and Tennessee. Only South Carolina, with a 9-2 SEC record, stays knotted with the Tide in first place.
In the win over LSU, Alabama also re-affirmed that it is a historically great offensive team. Bama is one of the highest scoring teams in the country, and hit the century mark for the seventh time on Saturday. The Tide has also eclipsed 90 points in 11 of its 24 games.
Is Alabama guard Mark Sears the best player in the SEC?
Guard Mark Sears posted 23 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in the win, further cementing himself as one of the SEC’s top performers.
The 6’1” senior from Muscle Shoals is averaging 20.5 points per game to lead the league, and has been incredibly efficient in doing so. He is shooting over 51 percent from the field, an almost unheard of number for a small guard.
Sears is a marksman from the three-point line, connecting on over 44 percent of his attempts on fairly high volume (5.25 attempts per game). This is the fifth-highest percentage in the SEC; Sears ranks 4th in the league in made triples while falling outside the top-10 in attempts. Additionally, he is a physical driver who is adept at finishing amongst the trees and gets to the free throw line over six times per game, converting at an 85-percent clip.
Mark Sears has been much more valuable to Alabama Basketball than just being the most efficient scorer in the conference. He is a complete player in the backcourt, posting 4.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.7 steals per outing. Sears is tied for fifth in the SEC in total assists and ranks seventh in the league in steals. An underrated rebounder for his size, he is 22nd in the conference in boards per game and has recorded the most rebounds in the SEC among players under 6’4”.
More SEC POY contenders
Tennessee wing Dalton Knecht (20.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG) and Texas A&M guard Wade Taylor IV (19.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.8 APG) have both been outstanding this season, and are likely Mark Sears’ toughest competition for SEC Player of the Year.
For the moment, Sears’ numbers and Bama’s spot atop the SEC standings give him the slight edge in my opinion. Before the regular season concludes, Alabama will have home games in Coleman Coliseum against both Tennessee and Texas A&M. These head-to-head matchups, both in terms of game outcomes and individual performances, could very well decide the award. Mark Sears is a true competitor, and there is little doubt that he will come to play.
There is a very good chance Mark Sears gives Nate Oats and Alabama Basketball its third SEC Player of the Year in four seasons, joining Herb Jones (2020-21) and Brandon Miller (2022-23). This speaks volumes about Sears as an individual player, as well as the impressive program Oats has built in Tuscaloosa in such a short amount of time.