Happy Monday, everyone. It was a tough Friday for the Gym Tide, as they dropped one to 2nd-ranked Florida. The women’s basketball team keeps rolling along however, sitting at a surprising 15-4 after wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M last week. They have a tough one tonight, however, as 3rd ranked LSU rolls into town. The Tigers are undefeated through their first 19 contests, but they did get all they could handle from Arkansas in their last outing, pulling out a three point win at home to hand the Hogs their fifth loss. The game tips off at 6pm and will be televised on SEC Network.
Of course, the men’s basketball team has earned the talk of the town.
After blowing out Missouri on the road while the top two ranked teams, Houston and Kansas, both dropped games last week, Alabama looks to move up from its 4th ranked position in the AP poll. Yahoo projects Purdue in the top spot and the Tide just behind them, but I’d expect Alabama to get quite a few first place votes. Alabama sits just ahead of Purdue in the NCAA NET ratings, at 3rd behind Houston and Tennessee. According to KenPom, however, Alabama has played a much tougher slate than the Boilermakers, with the 3rd toughest schedule compared to Purdue’s 46th.
AP poll rankings really don’t matter, of course, and if Alabama keeps playing at this level we won’t have much use for Bracketology, either. The basketball committee doesn’t release weekly rankings like the football committee does, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Nate Oats has his squad in the hunt for the top overall seed though, which is nothing short of amazing. #BTDA
Nate mentioned after the game that Mizzou security had to take out some trash from the student section after someone decided that loss of life was an appropriate topic for razzing a basketball opponent.
“If people want to be ignorant and say things that are completely out of line ... this isn’t a case where somebody got in some light trouble,” Oats said Friday. “These are serious matters. There is a 5-year-old that doesn’t have a mother anymore. This is not, to me, something students should be joking about. If somebody does happen to say something, I told our guys ‘You’ve got to be strong enough, tough enough, to just say we’re here to play basketball.’”
He has done a masterful job of keeping the team focused in a very difficult situation.
Alabama got Nimari Burnett back on Saturday, though he played just a bit part.
“I anticipate him getting back pretty quick,” Oats said postgame.”... He’s going to be another guy where Sears or Brandon are struggling, he can make open shots, kind of like Rylan (Griffen - three 3s) did for us tonight.”
In Burnett’s absence, freshman Jaden Bradley moved into the starting lineup. He averaged 8.7 points per game while shooting 43.4% from the field. In the road SEC win on Saturday, the Tide’s guard depth was on display. Mark Sears shot poorly (four-for-12) but still tallied 17 points and eight rebounds. Jahvon Quiinerly also sunk three 3s for 15 points, four rebounds three assists and a steal.
Oats’ comments seem pretty clear: Jaden Bradley isn’t coming back off the court in favor of Burnett. He has solidified the point guard position better than it’s been in some years, and Jahvon Quinerly is his capable backup. Sears makes for a great secondary ballhandler from the two spot. Burnett is an outstanding perimeter defender and will undoubtedly have a role, but considering the way the team has been playing Nate will want to ease him back in.
Auburn fans really aren’t coping well with Alabama’s basketball success.
Can you remind me which team has the most wins in the SEC over the last 5 years? https://t.co/zcTly2xT50— Gianni Parello (247 sports) (@Gianni_Parello) January 22, 2023
Poor little fella. Mild basketball superiority was all he had left.
In football notes, BamaOnline takes a look at the defense for next season. Much of the secondary will be new, but the Tide will return quite a bit of experience in the front seven.
NG JAHEIM OATIS – RETURNING
Games played/started: 12/10
Oatis played in every game he was healthy for as a true freshman and took over the first-team nose guard role in the third week of the season, getting onto the field before senior DJ Dale, who won’t be returning after agreeing to play in the Senior Bowl. Oatis completely transformed his body prior to the start of the 2022 season, which helped him be a Day 1 contributor along the defensive line. With a year now under his belt and another year in the strength program, the 2023 campaign could be a breakout season for the mammoth sophomore lineman.
Oatis has a chance to develop into a monster. Tim Smith is mentioned there as well. He was a guy who made waves in camp as a freshman, with many projecting him to be the next great. While he’s been solid enough, we’re still waiting on him to break out headed into year four. Hopefully this will be his year. Justin Eboigbe’s return would be huge as well. We don’t know the status of his neck issue, but he cryptically tweeted this last week.
Good news— Justin Eboigbe (@JustinEboigbe) January 17, 2023
I hope he comes back because the doctors say he’s good to go, but anything involving the spinal cord is scary stuff. Personally, I’m not terribly concerned about MLB with Deontae Lawson ready to man the position, and of course Dallas Turner will now get his chance to be The Man on the edge while leading a group of explosive youngsters. The secondary will be the big question, as five of the six positions in the starting dime group have been vacated. Terrion Arnold did earn some starts last year and he will likely fill a spot somewhere, but the secondary will look much different this season.
Last, Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith hooked up for another score as the Philadelphia Eagles throttled the New York Giants by a 38-7 score.
After the game, a reporter asked Jalen about being an example of Oklahoma QBs playing well in the NFL. His response:
None of Oklahoma’s starting QBs in the NFL started college in Norman. Baker Mayfield is mediocre at best and Kyler Murray reportedly doesn’t have the work ethic to become great. Meanwhile Alabama boasts the NFL’s 2022 passer rating champ in Tua Tagovailoa plus MVP candidate Hurts. Mac Jones had something of a tumultuous year in New England and we’ll see what the future holds for him, but he seems to have the support of his team.
Right now it sure looks like Philly’s Super Bowl to lose, but there is still much work to do.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.