Alabama Basketball: State of the SEC after weekend action

After Saturday’s big Alabama Basketball win, Crimson Tide fans are jubilant. Taking down the Kentucky Wildcats, in record fashion is cause for celebration.

Two conclusions jump out about the Tide’s 26-point win. One is Alabama being legitimately very good. The other is at this point in the 2022-23 season, Kentucky is not Kentucky. Calipari and the Cats may turn it around, but currently, Kentucky is not one of the SEC’s top teams.

No one is asking if Alabama Basketball is a top SEC team. Instead, the conversation is about the Alabama Crimson Tide being a Final Four contender.

Nate Oats is not willing to talk past Wednesday night’s road game with Arkansas. Oats was quite complimentary of his team after Saturday’s game. From 247Sports, Oats said,

Can’t say enough about our guys, how hard they played on defense, how locked into the scouting report they were. I thought Sears was unbelievable. He got in there and made a bunch of tough plays, rebounds. I thought Charles was great on Tshiebwe. And Kentucky’s gonna be alright. They had a bad shooting night. They didn’t shoot it well. Our guys did a good job defensively on them.

Alabama basketball fans derided the Cats, taunting UK with an “NIT, NIT, NIT” chant. Nate Oats was appreciative of the enthusiasm of Alabama fans but predicted Kentucky will be an NCAA Tournament team.

Oats added,

… we’re learning game to game. We’ve got young guys, playing four freshmen a lot of minutes, playing new guys, transfers, whatever a lot. But we’re learning. That’s really all we’re trying to do every game. I thought we definitely got better this game from the Ole Miss game.

Arkansas lost to Auburn on the road Saturday night. The Hogs shot poorly, less than 34%, including 12.5% outside the arc. Arkansas was not good at the line either, 19-of-32 for 59.4%. They decisively outrebounded Auburn, but when a team misses so often, there are many opportunities for rebounds.

Arkansas has lost two of its last three games. Both were SEC road losses. Playing short-handed for what now appears to be the rest of the season, the Hogs need a quick turnaround. They remain a dangerous team, particularly in Fayetteville.

Alabama Basketball and Tennessee Tops in SEC Hoops

Even though 10 teams have played just three SEC games and four more, just two, Alabama Basketball and Tennessee are the only teams undefeated in SEC play. It is beginning to look as if the Crimson Tide and the Vols are the class of the SEC and none of the 12 other SEC teams are close.

Tennessee has what should be an easy win Tuesday night, home for Vanderbilt. Alabama is not likely to have as easy a time getting to 4-0 on Wednesday night.