The Crimson Tide won the college football championship. Can they do it in hoops, too?
As you get ready to put your money on the line and fill out (multiple) brackets, it’s easy to just go with the chalk this year. But what about teams that aren’t a one seed?
We’re making the case for a few non-one seeds to win it all. A team you should strongly consider making a run to the top is the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Alabama won both the regular season and postseason conference championships in the SEC this year. They’re a deep, good team that some might be happy to put money on, while other may have their doubts.
Our case for them to win the championship comes down to three B’s: boards, balance and bombs away.
Alabama is a terrific rebounding team, which is a critical component of any deep run in the tournament.
As a team, Alabama averaged 40.5 rebounds per game this season, which ranked eighth in the nation. They averaged more boards per game than any one seed in the tournament; the only number two seed that averaged more rebounds per game than Bama was Houston (41.1).
Herbert Jones was named the SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. He averaged 6.5 rebounds and was credited with 34 blocked shots in 30 games this season. He’s a rising star to keep an eye on in the tournament.
Alabama played terrific team defense, and their scoring is spread out as well.
Bama had four players average double figures in scoring this season, let by Jaden Shackelford (14.2). Jahvon Quinerly, from Hackensack, N.J., had a strong SEC tournament and John Petty, Jr., is a big guard (6-5) who creates matchup headaches for opponents. Jones finished the season fourth on the team in scoring.
The Crimson Tide’s defense could be a game-changer for them in the tournament. They averaged 8.63 steals per game this season, which ranked 17th in the nation. Only one team on the one or two line in this tournament averaged more thefts per game (Baylor – 8.96).
Alabama comes at you in waves, they’re deep and they defend the ball incredibly well.
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If you like the three, Bama’s your team in this tournament. Alabama put up 912 three-point attempts this season, the most in the country. But they didn’t just lead the country… Alabama attempted 95 three-pointers more than any other team in the country (Toledo attempted 817).
They’re good at it, too.
Quinerly shot 44.3 percent from downtown. Jones shot 39.2 percent from deep. And Petty shot 37.4 percent from beyond the line. As a team, Alabama shot 35.1 percent from three-point range and they’ll happily put them up all day.
Obviously this can be as much of a danger as it is a potential positive. If Alabama goes cold from deep, it could mean an exit. But if they get hot, they’ll score with anybody in the field.
So when you’re putting your brackets together, keep Alabama in mind because of their boards, balance and bombs away.