Records Alabama basketball can break after torrid start to the season
Alabama basketball made history when it rose to No. 2 in the Associated Press poll and USA Today Coaches poll on Monday.
It was the first time in over 20 years the Crimson Tide rose to those heights at the national stage since the 2002-03 season when it became the No. 1 team in the country right before Christmas. While Alabama will aspire to become the top team in the nation with another perfect week, here's a look at four records the team can break thanks to its fast start to the 2022-23 season.
Most wins in a season: 28* (1986-87)
Will Alabama break the record? Yes
It's going to be close as Alabama only has 12 games remaining on the schedule, but this rendition of the Crimson Tide is playing the best basketball in program history. While Alabama is playing well so far, it will have to face Tennessee on the road and then have its yearly home-and-home with Auburn. Both teams were ranked at the start of the season and have maintained their form with the onset of conference play.
Now if Alabama can't break the record by the end of the season, there is the opportunity for the team could pick up wins during the postseason to make up the difference. However, as Nate Oats and diehard Alabama basketball fans are painfully aware of, the postseason poses different challenges than the regular season. Teams that may have been easier to defeat during the season have the extra level of motivation to beat Alabama in March. Despite that, with Alabama's play so far this season, it should set the mark for most wins in a single season.
There is an asterisk for this record that needs to be addressed. Alabama did win 28 games in the 1986-87 season but had two wins vacated by the NCAA. Technically the most wins in a single season is 27 wins in the 2001-02 season. However for the purposes of this list I decided to use the 1986-87 season because the team recorded an astonishing 28 wins.
Undefeated conference record: 1956
Will Alabama break the record? No
Remember that stretch where Alabama had to play Tennessee on the road and then a home-and-home with Auburn before the end of the season? That's just a brutal stretch with not only both teams likely being ranked when the Crimson Tide come to town, but both teams sport a combined 18-1 record at home. The lone loss is when Tennessee fell to a resurging Kentucky squad where the Volunteers lost by seven.
According to KenPom, Tennessee and Auburn, both sit in the top 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency which will mark Alabama's toughest defensive test since he defeated Houston on the road earlier this season.
Alabama's last 20-point scorer: Michael Ansley, 20.4 (1988-89)
Will Alabama have a player average 20 points or more? Yes
It's rare for teams to have a player that will average 20 points or more throughout the year. Throughout its 110-year history, only 16 players have averaged more 20 points or more in a season. Names such as Reggie King, Wendell Hudson and Leon Douglas litter the list but it has been more than 30 years since Alabama has had a player get above that plateau.
That includes Colin Sexton who got above 19 points per game in 2017 but 20 points alluded him in his lone season with the Crimson Tide. However, Alabama may need to make room for another name — Brandon Miller.
The freshman phenom is already averaging 19.8 points per game so far and has already shown flashes of brilliance, especially on offense. Miller should finish above that 20 points-per-game mark and with 12 games remaining he has plenty of time to get above the plateau.
Alabama's last top-five pick: Antonio McDyess (1995)
Will Alabama graduate a top-five pick? Yes
While this is a mere forgone conclusion at this point, Miller's dominance this season has all but guaranteed that he's a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Miller is one of six players in Division I, the only player in the SEC and the only freshman in the country that has scored 360 points and recorded 150 rebounds this season which has propelled him to the top 20 in scoring.
With Drew Timme, John Calipari and others just raving over the skill of Miller, one can safely assume he'll be the next great to leave Alabama for the NBA.