Alabama’s Case for Number One Team In America
Saturday night, Alabama defeated the Missouri Tigers in a 21-point blowout. This victory, which marked Alabama's 8th straight double-digit win, gave the AP voters even more reason to give the Crimson Tide their first-place vote.
As it stands, Alabama arguably has the best resumé in the entire nation. With wins over two top-ranked teams, including at Houston, who at the time had only lost 4 games in the Fertitta Center. The Tide also has 6 Q1 wins, including Michigan State, Arkansas, and Mississippi State. Additionally, Alabama has breezed through league play, being the only unbeaten team remaining, as they have won all seven by double-digits.
Alabama does still have three teams ranked above them, those teams being Houston, Kansas, and Purdue. But, all three of these teams have had their fair share of struggles this past week. Houston lost to Temple at home Sunday, Kansas dropped two games this week, including a 23-point blowout against TCU, and Purdue survived two games against clearly inferior opponents.
Considering that Alabama has already beaten Houston and Kansas has not been playing its best basketball as of late, the only team amongst these three that has a case is the Purdue Boilermakers. To their credit, Purdue has 7 Q1 wins, including wins over Gonzaga, Ohio State, and Marquette. But, with how they've kept some games close recently, it may make some AP voters question their votes.
Other teams around the nation have a strong argument for the No. 1 ranking, such as UCLA, Arizona, Gonzaga, and others, but none have the type of resumé of either Alabama or Purdue.
When comparing Alabama and Purdue's resumés, they seem relatively similar. Both teams have one of the hardest schedules in the country and they've won most of those games. However, Alabama does edge out Purdue in Strength of Record, a stat that "measures a team's accomplishments based on how difficult a team's W-L record is to achieve.". I do believe though that the number of close games Purdue has been in against worse opponents recently and how dominating Alabama has been overall tips the voters toward the Tide.
Whether or not Alabama is the top-ranked team Monday the AP poll has never mattered to this team, as multiple players such as Brandon Miller have come out and said "Rankings don't really matter to us", a sign that this team isn't willing to settle.