A dark shadow has hung over the Alabama basketball program after Tide player Darius Miles was charged with capital murder. The Crimson Tide continued to make headlines for the wrong reasons. For example,the team continued its pregame patdown routine of star forward Brandon Miller after it was reported he brought a loaded firearm to Miles on the night of the devastating crime.
Despite loads of controversy, Alabama kept winning and remains a national championship contender. The team has finally stayed out of the spotlight in recent weeks. After winning the SEC regular-season title, the Crimson Tide’s odds to win March Madness sit at +800, which is the second-lowest mark. Check out why Alabama will win its first national championship.
Non-Traditional Program Crashes the Party?
Alabama is not a storied college basketball program. The Tide have played in one Sweet 16 since 2005 and have one Elite Eight in program history. Plus, they have never made a Final Four. Will a program like this really go all the way?
Coach Nate Oats has engineered a complete 180 since coming over from Buffalo in 2019. Oats has plenty of March Madness experience. He won two tournament games with Buffalo from 2016-19, and Oats has three March Madness wins with Alabama in two tournaments.
Few people will shy from the Tide in their March Madness picks due to the deep and talented roster. Alabama’s rotation will play as many as 10 players. Nine players average at least 14 minutes per game. Only two players in the starting lineup average more than 30 minutes – Miller and guard Mark Sears.
This luxury keeps the Crimson Tide fresh, allowing them to play at their fast pace. According to Kenpom, Alabama has the second-quickest tempo nationally. This deep rotation is invaluable in the NCAA Tournament, which requires quick turnarounds. March Madness predictions should at least include the Tide in the Final Four. The sportsbook has a Final Four appearance at +165.
Alabama’s length and guard play stand out compared to other contending teams in NCAA lines.
Intimidating Lengthy Lineup
One could argue Miller is the best player in college basketball. The 6-foot-9 freshman forward averages 19.6 points and eight rebounds while shooting 45.3% from the field and 40.4% on 3-pointers. His length makes him special. Miller can easily shoot over defenders, drawing comparisons to NBA superstar Kevin Durant. The Alabama freshman is projected as a top-five pick for the 2023 NBA Draft.
BRANDON MILLER. POSTER. pic.twitter.com/FD7aDvIF8z
— The Field of 68 (@TheFieldOf68) February 23, 2023
In the frontcourt, 6-foot-10 Noah Clowney and 7-foot Charles Bediako man the power forward and center spots. Clowney leads the team at 8.2 rebounds per game, and Bediako’s 1.6 blocks per game rank first on the team. This kind of length cannot be replicated. The Crimson Tide rank first in rebounds per game and are in the 96th percentile with five blocks per game.
Many March Madness expert picks seek great guard play. Floor generals are a calming force in a chaotic tournament full of upsets. Plus, the ability to score in isolation is massive in the clutch. Few teams have managed to win a national championship without excellent guard play. Alabama boasts one of the nation’s best backcourts.
Sears ranks second on the team with 13.3 points per game. Jaden Bradley (7.3 points) and Rylan Griffen (6.4 points) are a talented freshman duo that has flashed at times. For example, Griffen scored at least 12 points in four of five games from Jan. 28 to Feb. 11. Jahvon Quinerly (7.8 points) is one of the best sixth men in the country. He is averaging 17.3 points over last three games.
The Crimson Tide’s combination of length and guard play creates an intimidating team. Furthermore, Alabama ranks 20th in offensive efficiency and third in defensive efficiency. Since 2002, every national champion has finished in the top 25 of both Kenpom categories.
If the Tide win the SEC Tournament, they could secure March Madness’ top overall seed. Per Las Vegas odds, Alabama is the favorite to win the SEC Tournament (+155).