12. Alabama (7-1)
There’s plenty of reason for optimism and excitement if you’re a fan of the Crimson Tide. They’ve been one of the best teams in the SEC in recent years, and that’s a trend that will continue this season. They seem to have the pieces to make another run at the conference title while leaning a bit more on that defense this season.
Back home after a wild trip to Portland last week, the Crimson Tide played just one game this week, a 78-65 win over South Dakota State. Noah Clowney had 22 points and 9 rebounds, Mark Sears had 19 points, and talented freshman Brandon Miller added 16 points and 9 rebounds. The Crimson Tide were challenged but pulled away late in the second half for another solid win.
The season has consisted of a solid showing in Portland and five double-digit wins over mid-major programs. Aside from a rough performance against a great Connecticut team, Alabama has looked the part of a top-tier type team this year and will certainly play a factor in the SEC title. However, they can’t exactly look ahead to SEC play because there’s a murderous stretch coming up for the Crimson Tide, who will play Houston, Memphis, and Gonzaga in an 8-day span very soon.