True to the title, today’s PIP will be just that — points.
First up, this is impressive as hell no matter the gender or division or conference:
Sabrina Ionescu just became the first player in Division I history (male or female) with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a career.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 25, 2020
It is doubly so when you consider all of the outstanding women’s players that have dominated the collegiate game over the past two decades: Rebecca Lobo, Dianna Taurasi, Sheryl Swoopes, Dawn Staley, Brittney Griner, Sue Bird, and many others have variously laid claim to the GOAT discussion. But, Ionescu just might be it. We may see this accomplishment be matched again, but I doubt it.
Next up, someone is paying close attention to Alabama basketball on the national scene. And Jon Rothstein is as credible a figure as they come:
It began in December when he proclaimed:
Jaden Shackelford. Buy Stock Now.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 30, 2019
Oh, we did, Jon.
This morning, he followed up that declaration of love with this:
Best freshman in America that nobody's talking about?— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 25, 2020
Alabama's Jaden Shackelford.
Averaging 24.0 PPG in his last four games.
Crimson Tide visits Mississippi State tonight.
Shackelford has had a very good season for a true freshman. He’s had some stretches where he’s gone cold, but Alabama’s season will only go as far as Shackelford will take it. He is the third scorer that Alabama must have on a nightly basis.
On the season, Shack is shooting 41.2% for 15 PPG (36.3% from deep.) Jaden is an 80% FT shooter, that is also chipping in 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists per night. You’d like to see him clean up his TOs a bit (1.5 per game), but he’s playing nearly 30 minutes a night as a true freshman.
Want to see the future of Alabama basketball under Nate Oats? Jaden Shackelford is Exhibit A.
With four left to play, Alabama has one truly difficult contest remaining on the road — tonight, at Mississippi State. It also has one final tough out at home — against South Carolina. The Tide also travels to Mizzou and hosts Vanderbilt. All four of these are winnable games. Conversely, Alabama is capable of losing any — or all — of them.
But, the advanced stats and SOS are still bullish on Bama. Entering tonight’s contest in Starkvegas, the Tide’s NET sits at 40th (KenPom 48) — that is 5th in the SEC, though Alabama sits at 7th in the conference.
And if, as the advanced stats suggest, Alabama is able to end this season on a bit of a run, then the Tide has an 80% chance of making the tournament.
Check out these actuarial tables projected to the rest of ‘Bama’s season:
So, as predicted back in December, 18 wins is the credible at-large goal. Anything over that is almost a lock. Alabama has three remaining chances to pick up Top 90 NET wins and make its own fortunes. And, Alabama as a 10 would be a very interesting seed-line indeed.
But, to get there, every game over the next two weeks is a must-win. The Tide’s margin of error is so slim.
Alabama’s record in its last four regular season games will be:
This poll is closed
4-0 — NCAA-bound
3-1 — sweating it out on Selection Sunday
2-2 — NIT-bound and a good seed at Coleman
1-3 — NIT-bound and not a great seed
0-4 — Playing on Sad Wednesday in the SEC Tournament