Alabama Basketball’s toughest regular season game?

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament  - Practice Day - West Regional
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Practice Day - West Regional / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Alabama is gearing up for the 2024-25 season, and there is boundless excitement surrounding the program. The general belief is that Coach Nate Oats has assembled the best roster in school history, and he will not let it go to waste. Oats has always put together difficult schedules, and this season could be Bama’s toughest gauntlet yet

The Crimson Tide will take on such opponents as North Carolina (SEC/ACC Challenge), Houston (Players Era Festival), Illinois, Purdue, and Creighton in the non-conference schedule. All five of these opponents reached the Sweet 16 in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, and all except Illinois are in the top 16 of ESPN’s way-too-early rankings. Houston and North Carolina figure to be top-10 teams. Bama will also face a projected top-25 team in Rutgers, as well as dangerous mid-major opponents in South Dakota State and Will Wade’s McNeese State. 

In league play, Bama will take on formidable foes like Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and more. Among SEC teams, Texas A&M, Florida, Ole Miss, and Texas join the others as preseason top-30 teams. This is undoubtedly one of the deepest leagues in college basketball, and will offer night-in and night-out battles for the Crimson Tide. When its non-conference and conference schedules are put together, Bama could very well finish no. 1 in strength of schedule for the second consecutive season. 

We won’t know the schedule in its entirety until the league lineup is released. I would argue that Alabama’s most challenging regular season game will be one of its road rivalry games in conference play. As good as Houston, North Carolina, and the rest of the non-conference schedule is, Bama sees a different level of hostility in opposing SEC arenas. The Crimson Tide really struggled on the road against good teams last year, and will need to improve in 2024-25. 

The Tide’s toughest game all season will likely be either at Tennessee, where it hasn’t won since 2020-21, or at Auburn, where it lost by 18 last season. These games will test not only Alabama’s talent, but its grit and mental fortitude. If it can go into these hostile environments and beat very good rivals, the Tide will solidify itself as a national contender.