Bama Hoops Hype

Early Top 25s Believe in the Alabama Hype for Next Season

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016-17 college basketball season ended on Monday night while crowning the North Carolina Tar Heels as national champions. The new narrative for the media was the Carolinas are the kings of college sports, bringing up some unfavorable memories for Alabama fans.

Coastal Carolina won the 2016 College World Series and, of course, that was followed up by Clemson’s win over Alabama in the college football title game. Then, South Carolina and North Carolina took home the basketball trophies over the last weekend.

The Crimson Tide’s football team is expected to be right in the thick of things again in 2017 but maybe Alabama should be thinking about holding two of those trophies by this time next year. Alabama basketball has the well-known recruiting class for next season and everyone can agree that the future is bright for the Tide.

Alabama has 80-to-1 odds to win the national championship next year according to the LasVegas Superbook. Those odds rank in the top 35 of the country.

So how big will the hype be? Well this list of everyone’s “Way Too Early Top 25” may give us a good idea.

Sporting News – 21st

“No, it’s not just because Avery Johnson’s team beat Final Four squad South Carolina twice this season. That doesn’t hurt, but mostly it’s because Alabama’s strong group of returning players is joined by a recruiting class that’s ranked No. 5 by ESPN, led by five-star guards Collin Sexton and John Petty.” – Ryan Fagan

The article puts the Crimson Tide as the third-ranked SEC team behind Florida and Kentucky. Alabama is listed just ahead of Oregon, a team that beat the Crimson Tide each of the last two seasons and went to the Final Four in 2017.

NBC Sports – 21st

“The Crimson Tide bring back a talented young core and add two five-star guards, including Collin Sexton, who could lead the conference in scoring.” – Rob Dauster

I have a little bit of beef with NBC Sports not listing Alex Reese or Herb Jones on the list of key newcomers. However, the article does mention transfer Daniel Giddens as a projected starter in next year’s lineup.

USA Today – 18th

“The Crimson Tide should hit their stride with five-star recruits Collin Sexton and John Petty joining a team headed by sophomores Braxton Key and Dazon Ingram.” – Scott Gleeson

Gleeson names Alabama as one of six teams with an A+ recruiting class for next season. The Tide are ranked just ahead of Gonzaga and Villanova in this article but are still third in the conference behind Kentucky (3rd) and Florida (4th).

FOX – 17th

“After nearly making the NCAA tournament in 2017 they welcome back virtually their entire team, headlined by leading scorer Braxton Key and Donta Hall… Add them in with a loaded freshman class and Alabama will be in great shape to make the first NCAA tournament appearance of the Avery Johnson era.” – Aaron Torres 

You have to love that this article calls out Donta Hall as a meaningful piece of next year’s team. The writer went on to say that Hall, despite modest stats, has the eye of many NBA scouts. This is the closest that Alabama gets to either Florida or Kentucky, being just four spots behind the Gators.

Yahoo – 23rd

“The class of newcomers is the reason Alabama is in this top 25. But don’t sleep on the returning core either. Key and Ingram were solid as freshmen, and should improve. Norris is a capable secondary scoring option.” – Jeff Eisenberg and Henry Bushnell

It’s good to see the returning players getting some love and really, they are likely going to be the key to the Tide’s success next season. This article clearly did not give that much love to them though, as Alabama was the fourth SEC team ranked, sitting just behind Texas A&M.

SBNation – 20th

“Avery Johnson’s program is about to be a problem in the SEC. He returns sophomore standouts Braxton Key and Dazon Ingram from a team that took down eventual national semifinalist South Carolina twice.” – Mike Rutherford 

Alabama sits ahead of seven of 2017’s Sweet 16 participants in Rutherford’s rankings. And at this point, a Sweet 16 appearance may be the expectations for the Tide in 2018.

ESPN Bracketology – 10 seed 

Despite not being ranked in ESPN’s Top 25 next season, Joe Lunardi puts Alabama as a 10-seed in his opening bracketology for next season. He has the Tide as one of the last four byes in the field. While that may seem a little low right now, it would still be progress. And according the Lunardi’s bracket, the Tide could get a chance at Duke in the second round.

Caleb Turrentine is an editor for Bama Hoops Hype. You can follow him on Twitter for in-game updates at @CalebTurrentine.

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