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Alabama Crimson Tide gets set to make an NCAA Tournament Run

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

We’re going with mostly hoops links today, so buckle up!

(or not... since that’s no longer a good phrase to use around here anymore)

After the 82-78 win over Vanderbilt, Oats took a moment to recognize Reese’s unselfish act but also his play. He scored 10 points, pulled down three rebounds and hit two clutch 3-pointers in a season where he has struggled from beyond the arc. Reese helped lead Alabama to a win, but his actions before the game spoke louder than his contributions to the box score.

“Him and really all the walk-ons, they do so much for us,” Reese said. “They get us ready for every game. They give us good looks on scout team, playing for the other team. So it was just something that just kind of popped in my head. He had never got a start, and that’s one of my best and closest buddies on the team. I just figured it would be good for him to get that experience. I just figured it would make him happy, and I was glad that he did.”

Man, what a cool thing to do. Give this article a read, as Nate Oats talks at length about Alex Reese’s unselfish actions and personality.

That recruiting class brought us Collin Sexton, John Petty, Herb Jones, and Alex Reese, so I’d say the Tide did alright with that crew.

“They are playing harder,” Oats said. “Also, they got healthy and some guys are looking a lot better than they were against us. They also have their rotation altered with some guys playing a lot more minutes.

“I think they have a little swagger about them now.

“They had lost to LSU just before they came to our place and it was fairly public they had gone through a super-long, hard practice and maybe their legs weren’t what they would have been. I think Coach (Eric) Musselman was trying to make a point, and I think his point was received because they haven’t lost a game in the SEC since. His point I think was you’re going to play hard or you’re not going to play.”

As for Alabama, Oats said, “If we don’t bring our A game… We beat them by a large margin here, but it could flip the other way if we don’t bring the appropriate effort.

“Now, I think we have a mature group that understands that. I think we will bring the appropriate effort to the game and it will be a good game.”

This is going to be one of the toughest games of the season for the Tide, but if they win it, they clinch the #1 seed in the SEC Tournament. Sounds like a really nice time for forward Jordan Bruner to be coming back into the lineup!

That, however, is an area for concern when looking at tournament success.

Alabama is making just 56.8% of its shots near the rim, according to hoop-math.com. That’s good for No. 264 of the 347 Division I teams measured by the site and Alabama takes a decent number of those close-in shots. It is No. 49 in terms of the percentage of shots attempted near the rim at 42.1%.

That success rate at the rim is significant, as Sports Illustrated pointed out earlier in February. Since Hoop-Math.com started in 2011-12, all 16 teams who played for a national title shot better than 60% near the rim and all but one was above 64%. That was enough for SI to keep Alabama outside the top-8 contenders for a national title in the piece published Feb. 12.

The top three teams in the new AP poll are in the top 12 of field goal percentage at the rim while fourth-ranked Ohio State is No. 150 at 59.9%.

This is a really good piece from Casagrande comparing many of Alabama’s metrics to current top teams as well as teams that have made big runs in the NCAA tournament in the past. While the Tide has a lot of major strengths (3-point shooting and defensive efficiency), they’ve also got some flaws that could pose an issue (getting shots blocked and turnovers)

Five-star Alabama point guard signee JD Davison was named a McDonald’s All-American on Tuesday afternoon. While the game won’t happen for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prestigious honor is still being bestowed upon the nation’s top prep basketball players.

The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder is rated the No. 1 point guard and the No. 9 overall player in the country by both 247Sports and the industry-generated 247Sports Composite.

Davison is currently helping Letohatchee (Ala.) Calhoun along its playoff run. Last week in the Tigers’ playoff opener, Davison missed a quadruple double by two steals in a 102-57 win over Isabella. Calhoun faces Thorsby on Friday.

This was about as given as it gets in terms of selecting All-Americans... But still nice to know that the Tide is bringing in a McDonalds All-American in the next recruiting class. Davison’s had some major highlights circulating around Twitter the last couple of months, and it’s really easy to get excited about the dude.

Now on to the oblong ball sport.

There’s some clips of him trying to move around, do some athletic movements that don’t look great, but he’s a great athlete. The way he approaches the game and the way he commits himself to try to be the absolute best player, he’s gonna be a guy that’s not only a great player, he’s gonna change the culture wherever he goes. He’s gonna create winners. I’m hoping he’s the first quarterback picked. He should be. But whoever ends up with him is gonna end up with a phenomenal player, a phenomenal guy. I’m excited to see where he goes.

“We’ve been talking, we come as a package deal. We can really run that offense on whatever team we get. Any NFL teams, scouts listening to this, we do come as a package deal so just go ahead and clear that with the GM and coaches because it’s pretty much set in stone.”

Between Devonta Smith and Landon Dickerson, Mac Jones has some serious hype-men trying to get him drafted high.

Nick Saban’s Alabama football team begins its quest to repeat as national champions here soon.

Alabama will begin spring practice on Friday, March 19. Because the University of Alabama does not have spring break on the schedule because of the ongoing global pandemic, the Crimson Tide will have 15 practices without interruption, culminating in A-Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 17. Outside of A-Day in two months, access to these practices will be off limit to the public.

Hey look, spring practice is already almost here! Hopefully it goes better than it did about this time a year ago.

Roll Tide!