Last season, the Alabama Crimson Tide was another SEC team that should have made it to the NCAA tournament, but were left out and given a top NIT seed. They finished last season with a loss in the quarterfinals of the 2013 NIT tournament to the Maryland Terrapins. All in all, it was a rather disappointing season for Alabama.
This season, the Crimson Tide are one of the more underrated teams in the SEC. Led by junior Trevor Releford, they are the type of experienced team that could go under the radar all season long and win the SEC tournament at the end, like the Ole Miss Rebels did last season.
With four returning starters – Releford, Levi Randolph, Nick Jacobs and Rodney Cooper – Alabama has one of the more experienced teams in the SEC. The only reason they aren’t a surefire top-25 team is that they lost star player Trevor Lacey in the offseason, but Anthony Grant will have his team ready to compete without him.
The Crimson Tide also have the type of schedule that can prepare them for NCAA Tournament play. After facing a decent Oklahoma Sooners team early in their non-conference schedule, they face the No. 16 Wichita State Shockers, the Xavier Musketeers and the No. 22 UCLA Bruins all in a row at the end of December.
These tough stretches of games are exactly the type of games that a potential bubble team needs to win in order to get noticed by the NCAA Selection Committee.
Alabama is picked to finish sixth in the SEC, but they have all of the talent and experience needed to finish closer to the top three. The Crimson Tide are not a team that the SEC favorites like the Kentucky Wildcats and Florida Gators should underestimate, because Alabama should be on their way to the 2014 NCAA Tournament.