Saturday’s tough loss at Oklahoma notwithstanding, Alabama basketball is in the midst of perhaps the best season in school history as evidenced by the unbeaten record through 11 games in SEC play and Tuesday night’s historic beating of Vanderbilt. The Tide dropped from 2nd to 4th in the AP poll headed into this week, but where does Vegas see the Tide from a national contention standpoint?
According to DraftKings sportsbook, I’d say they are looking pretty good.
Currently, Alabama has the third best odds to make the Final Four at +250, just behind Houston (+140) and Purdue (+240). For the uninitiated, this means that a $100 bet would pay out $250 should the Tide reach that round.
Right behind Alabama is conference foe and hated rival Tennessee, sitting at +275 with only one loss in SEC play. If things stay as they are currently, Alabama’s trip to Knoxville on February 15 may well decide the regular season SEC title and corresponding top seed in Nashville.
If you really want to dream a little, Alabama’s odds of cutting down the nets in Houston on April 3rd are tied with Purdue for second-best at +1000, just ahead of Tennessee and Kansas at +1200, and behind only Houston (+600). Imagine thinking just a few years ago that Alabama basketball would be ranked in the top five, get tabbed as the best team in the country by multiple pundits, and sit in February with the second best odds to win a national title.
From an individual standpoint, Purdue’s 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey is currently a strong favorite to bring home the coveted Wooden Award at -1000, meaning that you’d need to bet $1000 to win $100. Alabama’s Brandon Miller sits third at +2500, with Jalen Wilson of Kansas (+900) in between. If Alabama plays the way that they did on Tuesday, with Miller dropping in 22 points and grabbing eight boards, he will have an opportunity to make up some ground there.
Needless to say, all of this is a testament to the work that Nate Oats has put into the program. We’ve spoken about it plenty around here, but it’s high time for Greg Byrne to find a way to make the investment in a new arena and come up with the cash to keep Oats around for the long haul. This will be an interesting test not only for his legacy, but for Alabama boosters to show that they truly are committed to Alabama being a Championship School in sports other than football.
Get it done, Greg.