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Jumbo Package: 4th ranked Tide hoops host Memphis tonight, assessing the WR room after transfers

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. For the first time in the Nick Saban era, Alabama’s basketball team is ranked higher than the football team. Nate Oats’ squad came in at 4th on this week’s AP poll, with a tough test tonight against a veteran Memphis squad that just handled Auburn.

Nate Oats is not letting his team forget the beatdown they suffered in Memphis last season.

“We know what happened last year,” Oats said. “We have some business to take care of this year. Like, we have to be locked in. The whole program talked about it.”

In a month of tests, Oats called this one the ultimate pass-fail.

“I told the guys, if you can’t get yourself ready to go after we talked about this for as long as we talked about it,” Oats said. “It’s going to be hard to forget. … Like, we’re going to know who bought into the message that we’ve been sending for the last six months and whose not based on who is ready to go (Tuesday) night.”

That was perhaps the ugliest performance of the season. Tip-off is at 8pm CT tonight, and we will have coverage on it later as usual.

No reported change as of this morning on Mike Leach’s condition. Many folks have shared their stories about him though, and this is a great one.

Things don’t sound all that great, but he’s still fighting.

Freshman WR Aaron Anderson is in the portal.

Anderson, who was known for his speed in high school in Louisiana, suffered “a little knee injury” during the summer that Nick Saban revealed early in fall camp. However, he did not play in a game until Nov. 19 against Austin Peay, his only appearance for the Tide this season. He did not record any statistics.

“He’s finally healthy and you can see what his potential might be,” Saban said Nov. 16. “But it’s kind of late in the season to try to get these guys involved in what’s happening. But I’m very encouraged about that group.”

Anderson was the highest rated of the Tide’s 2022 WR group, but it sounds like he was a healthy scratch for a few games. Jermaine Burton hasn’t officially announced anything but indications are that he will return alongside Ja’Corey Brooks for next season. That may have had some impact on Anderson’s decision. Despite all of the attrition at the position, Alabama still returns six blue chip WRs, plus highly rated incoming freshman Jalen Hale and the nation’s top JUCO transfer in Malik Benson.

So, for those keeping score:

Since Georgia is in the playoffs, most of their portalers won’t announce until later on. Saban will undoubtedly do a little shopping of his own before all is said and done. Welcome to what will be an annual silly season in college football, much like the one that basketball programs across the country have already grown accustomed.

RB Justice Haynes still seems quite solid to Alabama according to the AJC, and may practice as soon as Saturday.

Is there a finish line in sight to his recruiting process?

“That’s probably coming up here in the next couple of days,” Justice Haynes said. “I’m about done. I feel happy in my decision. Confident in my decision with ‘Bama. I feel like that’s the school for me to develop on and off the field.”

What’s the short-term plan?

“I will have in-home visits this week,” Haynes said. “The plan is to be practicing possibly with ‘Bama next Saturday.”

He and Caleb Downs will be a bit of a concern until they sign and/or show up, just because of their proximity to Georgia. Saban and company seem to be in good shape though.

Kind of a slow news day, so that’s it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.