To learn more about Mississippi State basketball’s matchup vs. the Alabama Crimson Tide, I met up with Zach from Bamahammer.com to talk about Alabama basketball.
This is Zach Breathwaite from Bama Hammer. I am a lifelong Bama fan thanks to my Pops, who was raised in North Alabama. I grew up in eastern North Carolina but have lived in the Atlanta area for close to eight years. I currently live in Covington, GA, where I am a grad student at Georgia State University, and serve as a graduate assistant for the men’s basketball team at Oxford College of Emory University.
1. When is the last time you watched this good of an Alabama basketball team?
This is one of the best Alabama basketball teams I have ever watched, but it remains to be seen how good the team will actually be. College basketball season is long and grueling, as Alabama fans saw last season. The team started 11-3 with some very impressive wins but finished the year just 19-14. I think this year’s team has a little more substance and should aim to be as good or better than the 2020-21 squad, which finished 26-7 and was crowned SEC regular season and tournament champs en route to a Sweet 16 appearance. That was the best team in recent memory.
2. What would you say is the Crimson Tide’s best win this 2022-2023 basketball season?
I think Alabama’s best win so far was clearly the win at Houston. That was a raucous true-road environment, and Houston is one of the toughest teams in the country. Not many teams will win in that building this season.
3. Do Alabama basketball fans think this is a for-sure win vs. Mississippi State basketball?
There are no sure things in college basketball. Winning conference games on the road is difficult anywhere, and Mississippi State is playing with a lot of confidence. Tolu Smith has turned himself into one of the best players in the country, and DJ Jeffries feels like he has been around college basketball forever. It’s an experienced team full of veterans, and it won’t be easy for Alabama’s young team to go into Humphrey Coliseum.
4. How has the Crimson Tide done on the road this season?
Alabama has only played two true road games this year, winning both. They defeated South Alabama early in the year and then had the big win at Houston. It’s a small sample size, but the Tide have been impressive so far. It’s worth noting, however, that both of Alabama’s losses have come in neutral site games.
5. Between pulling for a top 10 football team and a top 10 basketball team, are you guys stressed out enough?
Being an Alabama football fan is always stressful because the stakes are so high every year. To me, it’s almost refreshing to have a good basketball team; it feels like we’re playing with house money. I do know a lot of Alabama fans who have started to raise their expectations of the basketball team to match that of the football team, which is not wise. Even the best college basketball teams are going to lose a handful of games almost every year.
6. Do Alabama fans actually care about basketball?
It would be dishonest of me to insinuate that all Alabama football fans care about basketball, but there is a large contingent of the fan base that cares equally about both sports.
7. Score prediction and analysis?
77-67, Alabama. State has played really well this year, but I think this will be their toughest test yet. Jeffries is a solid defender, and the matchup between him and Brandon Miller is intriguing. Tolu Smith vs Noah Clowney is another must-see matchup between a veteran and a freshman. I think Alabama has better guards, which will ultimately make the difference in the game.