Is Alabama the Best Team in the Country?
I’ll preface this claim with the fact that it’s only January and there is still a ton of work to do, improvements to make, and a whole heck of a lot of season left. But as we sit here on January 12th, Alabama has started 4-0 in the SEC and is dominating everyone in their path en route to a 14-2 record with what has been the toughest schedule in the nation thus far according to KenPom.
On a night where they were far from their best in Fayetteville, the Crimson Tide still came away with a 15-point victory to secure their first win at Arkansas since 2012. Alabama got out to a 12-point lead in the second half and looked like they were going to run away with it when the Hogs pulled themselves back into it through sheer out-muscling the Tide to cut it to a 2-point lead with just over four minutes left.
At this point, Nate Oats decided to use a timeout, and the 50 seconds of game play that followed were some of the best of the entire season. A designed play that got Noah Clowney an open look for three in the corner extended the lead to five, followed by two stops and back-to-back Brandon Miller threes.
Miller’s performance last night was a microcosm of the team as a whole. He was quiet on the offensive end of the ball for pretty much the whole night, but has the ability to explode and put his impact on the game at a moment’s notice. While Miller was quiet, it was Mark Sears who carried the offense for most of the game, finishing with 26 points and perhaps most importantly, going 10-10 from the free throw line on a night where free throws were simply not going down for the Tide.
The argument of peaking too early is foolish. I understand the concern after what happened to Auburn last season. However, this team is showing what they are capable of while still not even playing their best basketball. As I see it, this team has not even come close to their peak yet. They need to continue to establish a consistent level of play and bring it every game.
Like I said, it’s still early and there is a ton of work to be done. Tennessee looks phenomenal and will be Alabama’s biggest threat when it comes to winning an SEC title. But this team should have its sights set on more than just the conference. Because they are that good. It’s not a ridiculous question to ponder anymore. If you told me it before the season, I would’ve called you crazy. But here we are. It’s January 12th, and the Alabama Crimson Tide very well may be the best team in college basketball.