38.Alabama Crimson Tide
2017-18 season outlook
Last year the Crimson Tide played a strong schedule, picked up a few big wins, and got into the NCAA Tournament as a 9 seed. The Tide started the year 5-0 but they then lost to Minnesota in the famous 3 on 5 game, where Collin Sexton went off for 40 points. The Tide split their last six games in non-conference play, which allowed them to enter conference play at 8-4. The Crimson Tide got off to a great start in SEC play, starting 5-2 and moving towards the top of the standings. After winning four of their next seven the Tide lost their final five games in conference play to finish the year at 8-10 in conference play, which put them on the bubble. Needing a win against Texas A&M, Collin Sexton hit a dramatic buzzer-beating floater to get them the win they needed to secure a tournament spot. The Tide beat Auburn in the following game but they then lost to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament semifinals. The Crimson Tide entered the NCAA Tournament as a nine seed, they beat Virginia Tech, before losing to eventual National Champion Villanova in the Round of 32, which gave them a final record of 20-16. The Crimson Tide was led in scoring by Collin Sexton, who averaged 19.2 points per game in his only season at Alabama. The Tide had 11 players who all averaged over 11 minutes per game, which meant that they had a lot of people who were decent role players.
The Crimson Tide once again will have a schedule that should give them plenty of opportunities to pick up quality wins that could help them get a better seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson Tide start the season with a couple of buy games but they’ll then go to the Charleston Classic, where they’ll likely have games against Virginia Tech and potentially against either Davidson or Purdue. The Crimson Tide will have a couple of home games against Penn State and Arizona, while they will play games at UCF and Stephen F. Austin in non-conference play. The Crimson Tide will open SEC play January 5th against Kentucky, where they will be looking to make a statement early on. They’ll play an 18 game schedule that includes two games against Auburn, LSU, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State, while everyone else in the conference they will play just once. They’ll also play at Baylor in the SEC/ Big 12 challenge on January 26th. The Crimson Tide have a schedule that will be tough but it will allow them more opportunities to pick up some quality wins to help them get into the NCAA Tournament, which is important for them.
The Crimson Tide will have a lot of weapons to help them this season, as they return almost everyone. The key loss, of course, is Collin Sexton, who almost single-handily won a few games for Alabama last season, his loss will be huge but that’s the only big loss they have. Expect John Petty to have breakout sophomore seasons and take the lead role for the Crimson Tide. Texas transfer Tevin Mack should come in and help out right away for Alabama, as he can help create some lineup versatility to help out their lineup. Dazon Ingram should continue to be a solid 10 point per game type scorer while being a good all-around player. Donta Hall will continue to be a great player inside, likely leading the team in rebounding while being a good low-post scorer. Avery Johnson Jr. and four-star recruit Kira Lewis should split time at the point guard position, both should help get others involved. Herb Jones, Alex Reese, and Galin Smith all will look to have breakout seasons as sophomores, while Daniel Giddins will be a key contributor off the bench. This team has a lot of good pieces that could fit together and create a potential Top-25 team if things break right this season, although it’s more likely they are a middle of the pack team in the SEC.
What to expect
The Crimson Tide will probably be a middle of the pack team in the SEC this season, although they do have the talent to be better than that. The Crimson Tide should start the season pretty good behind a manageable non-conference schedule. They should finish no worse than 2-1 in the Charleston classic and they shouldn’t lose more than two games outside of that in non-conference play. Once conference play hits, the Crimson Tide will probably slow down a little bit and become a .500 team in the SEC. A record of 10-8 or 9-9 in SEC play would likely be good enough to get them into another NCAA Tournament, which is what you want out of this team. If this team plays to their max capabilities, this team could surprise some people and finish near the top of the SEC standings. In the tournament, this team should be right around the 10 or 11 seed range, which means they would need to pull off an upset to make it to the second round.
PG: Avery Johnson Jr.
SG: John Petty
SF: Dazon Ingram
PF: Tevin Mack
C: Donta Hall
Key Reserves: Herb Jones, Kira Lewis, Daniel Giddens, Alex Reese, Galin Smith