The Alabama men's basketball team is coming off of a huge win at home against 22nd ranked Mississippi State, officially making it 20 games into the season. This got me thinking, how does this year's team compare to the 2017 team aka the Colin Sexton era. Well, when I started looking into the nitty-gritty I found that both teams are very similar to each other.
20 games into the season both teams had the exact same record of 13-7. The 2017 team allowed 70 points per game while this years team let up 72. This years team is 2-2 against ranked opponents and last years team was 2-1 against ranked teams (Arizona wasn't ranked when they played, but those dudes were sick). And both of the teams leading scorers were both freshman guards in Sexton and Kira Lewis. So it's safe to say that this one's going to come down to an eye test.
At this point, I believe that this year's version of the team is playing some of their best basketball of the season. After losing at the buzzer to Texas A&M at home, that game seems to have lit a fire underneath Avery Johnson's squad. Since then the team has gone through a very tough stretch of games, and even though their record in that stretch isn't outstanding their overall competitiveness has been impressive. They had two tough road games back to back against Missouri and at the time 3rd ranked Tennesee and nearly came away 2-0 if not for a late loss in Knoxville. Next up was a stretch of games against the likes of both ranked Mississippi teams and at Baylor. They again nearly came away undefeated but what impressed me the most were the wins against the Ole Miss and Miss St. The Crimson Tide dominated Ole Miss and if not for some questionable officiating and shooting 1-15 from 3, they surely would have beaten Miss St by more.
John Petty Alabama Crimson Tide 30 PTS vs Tennessee | Next Ones | 1/19/19 | YouTube
But on the other hand, it always felt as if the ceiling of the 2017-18 team was higher. And that was because of Colin Sexton. Sexton was one of the most exciting players to ever step into Coleman Collesium which are already some tough expectations to live up to. It'd be easy to say that since one of the teams has an NBA lottery pick on their team they're automatically better. But when looking at the overall team, this years team has made massive strides.
Donta' Hall is a double-double machine, John Petty has become more of a well-rounded player and others like Riley Norris, Herbert Jones, and Tevin Mack add much more depth and versatility to the team. So my answer to the question: last years team was fantastic and a lot of fun, but the 2019 team looks poised to take it one step further.