TUSCALOOSA, Ala. —Alabama basketball coach Avery Johnson’s program got another shot in the arm when ESPN’s preseason power index was released Thursday and had the Crimson Tide at No. 20.
Alabama had the second-best rating in the Southeastern Conference, behind only No. 13 Kentucky. However, there was a glut of league teams right behind the Crimson Tide: No. 21. Arkansas, 24. Auburn, 27. Florida, 34. Mississippi State, 35. Ole Miss, 38. Texas A&M, 39. Vanderbilt and 47. Tennessee.
Alabama’s exact BPI rating was 7.158507268, which means its considered 7.16 points better than the average team on a neutral court. The Crimson’s Tide’s offensive rank was 61st, but the defense was fifth.
Overall, Wichita State had the best overall score (12.2), ahead of Louisville, Villanova, Notre Dame and Arizona, which Alabama will visit on Dec. 9. The Shockers return nearly everyone from last year’s team that was given a controversial 10th seeding in the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky’s score was 8.33.
The only teams ahead of Alabama defensively were Louisville, West Virginia, Virginia and Wichita State. The top five offensively were Notre Dame, Duke, Villanova, Wichita State and Arizona.
However, one important variable is the preseason BPI does not factor in transfers.
The Crimson Tide were ranked No. 22 in USA Today’s preseason top 25, and No. 19 in the CBS Sports Top 25. The full schedule hasn’t been released yet, but Alabama opens the season Nov. 10 against Memphis in the Veterans Classic at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
The Crimson Tide are in the midst of practicing for its upcoming trip to Canada, with six of the 10 on-campus sessions complete and four more to go next week.
“It’s about development,” Johnson said after giving reporters a brief look at the team on Monday.
Wednesday’s practice will be open to the public at Coleman Coliseum (7 p.m. ET).
The team will leave Friday, Aug. 4, before playing McGill University in Montreal on Aug. 7 (7 p.m. ET), and then heading to Ottawa to play Carleton University (Aug. 9, 7 p.m. ET) and the University of Ottawa (Aug. 10, 6:30 p.m. ET).