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Points in the Paint: Crimson Tide kicks in the door of the Top 10

...and adopts some of Nate Oats swagger along the way

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Nate Oats is decidedly a confident man. It takes a pair of stones for a young coach to call out legendary Dookie Coach K (and, incidentally, wind up being correct — Mike’s heart just isn’t in this season). It has taken about 50 games, but this Crimson Tide program is starting to adopt the swagger of their head man as well.

And why not be confident — cocky, even? This week the Crimson Tide kicked in the door of the Basketball Top 10: They sit at 10th in the Coach’s Poll and 9th in the AP. Alabama is not getting there via smoke and mirrors either. It is a matter of talented players living up to their potential, being coached to their strengths, being put in a system that shellshocks opponents, and a lot of confidence following.

All of those thins, and this team, are being raved about. Here’s a smattering:

From the performance on the court

To the raw talent

To the coaching

To the recruiting

To the national talking heads raving about the Tide overall

Hell, even Vegas is in on the act. The Tide started the season at +2000, and now sit at 36/1 to win it all. And that has likely even moved further — it edges closer to the Iowas and Gonzagas of the world more each week.

And, finally, Alabama itself has begun to hype this team and this program in the manner they deserve

Again, folks. This is real. This is happening because of hard work, buying-in, great coaching, and talent hustling their ass off. Check out these stats for Alabama on the season:

Pace of Play: 20th
Tempo: 10th
Steal percentage: 11.8%
Assist percentage: 51.2%
Three Point Attempt Rate: .479
Points per 100 Possessions: 109.8
KenPom Off. Efficiency: 13th
KenPom Def. Efficiency: 14th
KenPom Rating: 10th
Adjusted Team Efficiency: 10th
Luck: 170th — these aren’t miracle Ws

And, folks, it’s not just showing in the advanced stats either. ‘Bama is up to 9th in NET Rating. And every Bracketologist of repute has the Crimson Tide sitting on a 2- or 3 seed-line.

Larger goals remain on the horizon, of course. And Alabama must take it game-by-game, but it is not foolish to say “Why not us?” any longer.

Finally, speaking of “why not us,” thank you everyone for your engagement in our latest Coleman Coliseum / Nate Oats extension piece. If you missed it, that’s right here. If you want to make your voice heard, contact info is in the comments.

Make no mistake, this success can be taken from us with just one phone call from a down-on-their-luck “basketball school.” Investment in the program, the facilities, and the coaching staff are urgent matters. And here is where our voice matters. You have to believe me on this one: Alabama can be a basketball school too. Let’s prove it.