4. Alabama (10-5, 2-0)
No matter which way you slice it, Nate Oats has been a breath of fresh air for this Alabama program. They won SEC titles and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in two of the last three seasons, now fresh off three straight trips to the Big Dance. Oats has this program humming along far better than his predecessors and has an interesting team again this season.
That record shows five losses, but the metrics love the Crimson Tide. They’ve played well when expected, and all five losses were against great competition, including Purdue, Arizona, and Creighton back in December. The impressive wins aren’t quite there on the resume, with Oregon and Indiana State standing out, but this is another season where Alabama’s offense is really impressive, with five 100-point outings already this season. Plus, a winning start to SEC play has included a blowout against South Carolina.
Mark Sears is really blossoming this season and is surrounded in other transfer talent like Aaron Estrada and Grant Nelson. Together this Crimson Tide team may be just as potent as recent squads, though they’re flying a bit under the radar due to those nonconference losses. They could cause significant damage in the SEC if this offense continues to fire on all cylinders, especially with the veteran leadership and experience on this roster.