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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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Alabama Basketball Sweeps Auburn while in pursuit of a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament

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

Alabama has its best SEC record since the 1987 UA team went 16-2.

Alabama can tie that mark Saturday as it closes the regular season against Georgia (1 p.m. CT).

The 1955-56 “Rocket Eight” remains the only UA team to go undefeated in league play, but played only 14 games (14-0). This year’s team finished 12-1 at Coleman Coliseum, the best Alabama home record since the 2010-11 team was a perfect 19-0.

Another day, another Alabama basketball win.

That’s really fun to say, just so you know.

And while Coach Oats and the Tide have built a reputation of being a high-flying, three-point shooting offense, what’s really been the constant for them all season has been a defense that would have made Anthony Grant proud:

Defense wins championships, right guys?

Alabama hasn’t enjoyed seeing the football team and basketball program both capture Southeastern Conference titles during the same academic year since 1975-76.

That’s a long time to wait, but also reflective of just how hard it is to pull this double-double off.

The Crimson Tide men’s basketball team hadn’t won the regular-season championship since 2002, and hasn’t captured the league tournament title since 1991.

While we’re out here winning championships, the football team has accomplished their side of the deal. Can the men’s hoops team pull off the ultimate feat to match the legendary 2006 venture from the Florida Gators?

It’s a long shot, but the Tide have as good a shot as any.

First and foremost, players have more room given the new setup.

There are three rows of socially-distanced chairs, with the coaches making up the front row, and the space stretches from the start of the tunnel to the locker room to midway behind the scorer’s table. With so much room for activities, celebrations after big plays or dunks are must-see TV. Take the excitement following Darius Miles’ thunderous dunk late in the game against Georgia for example. The reaction on the bench nearly overshadowed the highlight dunk.

With fewer fans, players’ voices can also be heard by their teammates on the court, which can be advantageous in detecting what the opponent is trying to run. The extra room also allows for players and coaches to easily chat whenever the former checks out of the contest.

If they’re going to do it, the bench and coaching staff will play a huge role in getting the team properly motivated and ready to take down a gauntlet of increasingly tougher teams in the NCAA tournament.

Swapping over to football:

For the sake of arguing, let’s assume that his options are open. Could he choose to play for Nick Saban and Alabama football?

Alabama has recruited him heavily for a while now. They wanted him to choose the Tide after entering the transfer portal in the first place. Despite the emergence of Jahleel Billingsley, there is a hole at tight end due to Miller Forristall heading to the NFL Draft.

However, Gilbert has already had two chances to choose the Tide. He chose LSU as a recruit and Florida as a transfer. Why would he pick Alabama now?

To be honest, I don’t think Gilbert is going to be an Alabama player at this point. With as much going on behind the scenes as there seems to be, he seems like he may be carrying more baggage than Saban would be willing to bring in, even if he wanted to.

The belief that a mobile quarterback is needed to succeed in today’s game was dispelled this season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl with 43-year-old Tom Brady behind center. Jones has drawn comparisons to the seven-time Super Bowl champ, including one from a former teammate Monday.

“I would say he’s a sly kind of athletic person,” Tagovailoa said of Jones on a Yahoo Sports podcast. “He’s a more mobile Tom Brady. He’s very athletic, very smart too.”

Like Kiper, Tagovailoa also spoke highly of Jones’ intangibles and personality off the field, calling him “a really great person.”

“A lot of the guys, when I was playing at Alabama, they really loved being around his personality and who he was,” he said. “So I’m thinking whatever team gets him they’re going to be very lucky. He’s a great player.”

Finally, here’s a piece outlining many of the strengths of Mac Jones (and dispelling the narrative of him being “surrounded by too much talent”). The national media seems to be getting more and more on board with him being in contention for the top QB in this class.

Roll Tide!