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Jumbo Package: Sark watch, Tide NCAA bubble hasn’t popped just yet

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, everyone. We are all on Steve Sarkisian watch, with the latest update coming from Dennis Dodd who wrote last night that Sark “may” be the frontrunner for the Colorado job. Troy Calhoun of Air Force Academy seems to be his main competition. We will simply have to wait and see what happens, but considering the offensive talent on hand, there should be no shortage of suitors if he goes.

So, let’s talk about basketball.

Last night was a really bad night, and an unexpected loss. The prevailing fan reactions afterward were about what you would expect,“same old Alabama basketball.” Mostly, people have decided that tournament hopes are dashed with five games left on the schedule.

After all, “if we can’t even beat Texas A&M at home, how are we going to win enough games to make the tournament?”

Taurean Prince said it best back in 2016.

Look, I know folks always want to look for deeper meaning in everything, but sports really are simple. While we have access to some predictive data that helps with projections, basketball games are ultimately decided by who puts a ball in a hoop more times in forty minutes, with bonus points for distance. The Aggies were able to turn the game into an ugly, no fun, hard to watch slog as Buzz Williams teams are wont to do, and they shot nearly 50% from three. This is an Alabama team that has flaws, and they have a hard time winning when they can’t push the pace. Texas A&M won the night, and as ugly as they have looked at times this season, the Aggies sit at 7-6 in the conference.

Does any of that mean that Alabama won’t put the ball in the basket more often than the two Mississippi teams they play this week? Nope. Doesn’t mean they will, of course. They might lose every game left, as the woe is me crowd would have you believe this morning. Based on what I’ve seen from Nate Oats, however, I’m not counting them out. They will still be favored in four of their last five games, and a 10-8 SEC record would likely make the NCAA tournament with at least one win in the SEC tourney. Four regular season wins plus two in the SEC tournament would have the final record at 20-14 and would just about guarantee a bid. By the end of the season, the Tide will have played 19 Q1 or Q2 games, which is driving a still relatively strong NET ranking of 44.

Hell, if they sweep Mississippi this week, a bunch of folks will be climbing back on the bandwagon.

Of course they have to do it on the court, and it won’t be easy. They’ve played hard all season though, as evidenced by points scored. They don’t deserve to have the fanbase quit on them just yet.

One fan certainly won’t be.

Ratliff calls Coleman Coliseum his “sanctuary” and a place where he feels most comfortable. His increased role with Crimson Chaos over the last two years has given him a new outlook on life.

“It gave me something to work for, instead of working towards,” Ratliff said. “I know I have two nights of the week to look forward to. It is like a reward to me. Whenever there were times where I could not go anywhere and feel safe, Alabama basketball was always there for me. ”

Coach Oats speaks about Luke in the piece as well. Nate clearly appreciates what he does.

This is a take from Brad Crawford at 247sports.

It’s terrifying to even think about if you’re a defensive coordinator tasked with stopping Alabama’s ability to press the issue offensively. Is there really a chance the Crimson Tide could be better without Tua Tagovailoa when they have the football next season?

Those among the nation’s elite hoping Nick Saban’s team would suffer a mass exodus were disappointed last month when Devonta Smith and Najee Harris, two All-SEC players, announced they’d return for their senior seasons. Couple those two with now seasoned passer Mac Jones and the arrival of five-star freshman Bryce Young and Alabama again has necessary the ingredients to be one of the SEC’s leaders in production.

Better than that offense last year?

Nah man, but we are still going to be very good.

Last, Jalen is running a camp in Birmingham soon.

Former Alabama and Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts will be back in Alabama in March, but this time he will be teaching football instead of playing.

In an Instagram post Wednesday, Hurts announced his first football camp will be in at the Hoover Met Complex March 22. There are 250 spots available for players ages six through 16.

People in Alabama love some Jalen.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.