Alabama men’s basketball had a spectacular Cinderella run last year. Led by eventual number 9 pick Collcoliin Sexton and Coach Avery Johnson, the Tide advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time in Coach Johnson’s tenure and winning a game before being eliminated by eventual champions Villanova. With the main star gone to play in the NBA, this team has a few puzzling questions left to answer. Starting with the reclassification of Kira Lewis Jr. He reclassified to graduate last spring and is now able to start playing for the Crimson Tide immediately. Will be able to fill the shoes of Collin, and being so young how will the transition from the high school game to the college game affect him as a player?
Will the team improve on road games this year? As the team was so young last year it makes sense that we would struggle while away from Coleman, but the team last year had a dramatic drop off. At home the team was 12-5 with wins over nationally ranked teams, but on the road the team was 2-8 which is the third worst mark in the SEC. Seeing improvement in this area is paramount for a successful NCAA run this year.
Free Throws. Need I say more? The team as a whole shot 67% on free throws last year. As a fan we need to see that improve as too many points are left on the board when the team misses free throws. It takes the atmosphere out of the building every time we hear the clank of the ball hitting the iron rim. It is imperative that the team excels this year in free throws because it is the difference between a loss and a win in the SEC.
Lawson Schaffer!! The students favorite little man, will he finally get the minutes he deserves? With many flashes of highlight plays and the ability to shoot, will he be able to get more playing time as a senior and give our fans a reason to chant his name with actual meaning and not a rally call for a crimson tide victory?
Last but not least the question that we as fans have is: Will this be the year when we have no fear? The one team that seems to really get in our heads every year is the Kentucky Wildcats. Will this finally be the year we can compete with Kentucky? As our opening SEC game it will set the tone for our season and a valuable win there could be the jumpstart we need to help boost our team to the SEC title we are fully capable of achieving.
(Photo courtesy of Adam Sieracki and The Crimson White)