History Predicts a National Title Appearance for Tide Hoops
Alabama basketball is on a historic, dominant run against SEC competition, displaying a perfect 11-0 conference record.
Since the 1980-1981 season, no team undefeated through their first 11 conference games has beat their opponents by more than Alabama. Kentucky (1995-1996) and Duke (1998-1999) are the only teams that compare to Alabama's start to conference play.
While Alabama holds a narrow one-point margin over Kentucky in terms of outscoring opponents, the Crimson Tide has a long way to match Rick Pitino's 1995-1996 Kentucky team. The Wildcats won all 16 regular season conference games, before losing to Mississippi State championship game of the SEC Tournament.
A loss to the Bulldogs did not deter the Wildcats as Pitino coached Kentucky to win the NCAA Tournament, defeating the likes of No. 1 Massachusetts in the Final Four and Syracuse in the national championship.
The 1998-1999 Duke squad, headlined by coach Mike Krzyzewski and star forward Shane Battier, also went an undefeated 16-0 in conference play. The Blue Devils cruised through the tournament, before No. 3 ranked UConn defeated them in the national championship, ending a historic run.
Alabama has a longer path to reaching the feats of 1995-1996 Kentucky and 1998-1999 Duke. The Tide has to play 18 conference games, compared to Duke and Kentucky's 16. It is a notorious accomplishment for Nate Oats to be associated alongside two historic coaches and programs in just his fourth season at Alabama.
The 245-point scoring margin for Alabama has come from large, commanding wins over SEC opponents. Ten of 11 games have been won by double digit margins, including a program-record 57-point win over Vanderbilt on Jan. 31.
There is a reason postseason college basketball is called March Madness, whether that be 15-seed Oral Roberts upsetting 2-seed Ohio State in 2021 or UMBC becoming the first 16-seed to defeat a 1-seed with their win over Virginia in 2018.
There is no doubt that Alabama can beat any team in the country, but will the Crimson Tide be able to do it when the lights are brighter than ever before? All three losses for Alabama have come away from Coleman Coliseum, so will Alabama be able to reach the national championship like Kentucky and Duke.