Alabama Basketball continues to improve its resume
Alabama basketball won another tough road game, going into a hostile environment to beat no. 15 Arkansas in a Wednesday night SEC tilt. The Crimson Tide, ranked no. 4 nationally, improve to 14-2 and 4-0 in the SEC with the 84-69 win.
The game was physical and highly competitive throughout, and saw Alabama seize control early in the second half. Arkansas made a couple runs to get the partisan crowd at Bud Walton Arena back on their feet, but the Crimson Tide always answered with resounding spurts of their own to silence the building.
Junior guard Mark Sears put on a masterful display, playing 38 minutes and pouring in game-highs of 26 points, three assists, and three steals.
Freshman forward Noah Clowney was very efficient, and didn’t have many issues with the Razorbacks’ veteran front line. Clowney went 5-6 from the field, including 3-4 from the three-point line, and scored 15 points in the game.
It wasn’t the best performance for Alabama freshman wing Brandon Miller, but he made sure his presence was felt in the game’s most important moments. Arkansas game planned to stop Miller, which resulted in him getting off just four shot attempts all night. While he fell well below his SEC-leading 19.1 points per game average, Miller’s 14 points on just four shots made a huge impact on the game. The future lottery pick made sure all 14 were loud and demonstrative.
Alabama basketball also got valuable contributions from Charles Bediako and Noah Gurley in the frontcourt. On the wing, Dom Welch scored four points in nine minutes of action for the first points of his Alabama career.
Beating a good Arkansas team handily in their own gym is not a feat that should be overlooked. Alabama basketball entered this game already owning one of the country’s best resumes, and this win immediately becomes one of Bama’s most impressive performances.
As the current AP Poll stands, Alabama has only lost to no. 6 UConn and no. 8 Gonzaga, both on neutral courts. It has beaten no. 1 Houston (the Cougars only loss to date) and no. 15 Arkansas in true road games.
It has also beaten three teams, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Mississippi State, who received votes but fell outside of the latest AP Poll. Memphis and Kentucky are also quality wins over teams that were ranked or receiving votes at the time of the game.
Bama hoops will take the court again when it hosts LSU on Saturday afternoon. LSU is another solid team, so the Crimson Tide can’t afford a hangover game.
This Alabama basketball team has been very good at keeping perspective and remaining focused on the game at hand, and I don’t expect that to change this weekend.