Something About This Team Feels Different…

12/10/22 MBB Alabama Guard Jaden Bradley (0) with a lay up Photo by Robert Sutton

When talking about the prospect of possibly taking down undefeated #1 Houston on the road last week leading up to the game, I stated that a win at the Fertitta Center over Kelvin Sampson’s squad would be the most impressive win of the Nate Oats era thus far. I didn’t give Alabama a huge shot to win the game, and when they went down by 15 early in the second half, you can count me amongst those who thought it was over.

While there have certainly been some highs of the Oats era, what exactly has this team shown you over the past three years that said they’d be able to overcome a 15-point second half deficit on the road against one of the toughest and strongest defending teams in the nation? The short answer to that question is nothing. Last year’s team was marked by some signature wins around this time against good teams but ultimately a lack of heart and consistency that was their undoing.

Alabama has vaulted to No. 4 in the AP Poll after the massive win, their highest ranking since 2006. They will take on Memphis, who defeated them last year, at home tomorrow night before a clash against Gonzaga in Birmingham on Saturday afternoon. SEC play begins in 16 days with a road matchup at No. 17 Mississippi State.

Saturday afternoon in Houston felt like something different. This team is tough, they are resilient, and they did not roll over and die like they did so many times last season. Of course, this is ultimately just a win in December and there is so much season left to play. It can be argued that last year’s team peaked too early, and I understand the same worry with this team. But this team is deeper, they are bigger, they defend and rebound better, and they are just tougher.

To put it more simply, this team just feels different…