Washington Post ranks Alabama basketball No. 1, CBS puts Tide No. 3 in 2021-22 projections

Erik Hall
The Tuscaloosa News

The 2020-21 college men's basketball season ended Monday night with Baylor defeating Gonzaga 86-70 to complete the 2021 NCAA Tournament. 

By Tuesday, national experts turned their attention to the 2021-22 season, and many focused on the Alabama Crimson Tide as being one of the nation's top teams. 

Alabama is coming off a 2020-21 season that saw them reach the Sweet 16 and win Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament championships. The Crimson Tide finished the year 26-7 overall and 16-2 in the SEC. 

Here is how national publications have ranked Alabama basketball nearly seven months ahead of the 2021-22 season.

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The Washington Post ranks Alabama basketball No. 1

Alabama guard Jaden Shackelford dribbles during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Auburn on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

The Washington Post's Patrick Stevens didn't put any teams ahead of Alabama in his Top 25

Here is what Stevens said about Alabama: 

The Crimson Tide put down a marker this year on how it intends to play moving forward: Lots of three-pointers, a fast pace and a stingy defense. Do John Petty Jr. and Herbert Jones come back for another run? What impact does top-10 freshman JD Davison have in a backcourt with holdovers Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackelford? At this point, Alabama might be in line to have more answers than anybody. 

Other SEC teams Stevens ranked were Arkansas at No. 10 and Kentucky at No. 17.

CBS ranks Alabama basketball No. 3

Mar 28, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Jahvon Quinerly (13) passes the ball during the second half against the UCLA Bruins in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Doug McSchooler-USA TODAY Sports

CBS college basketball expert Gary Parrish put UCLA at No. 1 and Gonzaga at No. 2 as the only teams ahead of No. 3 Alabama. 

Parrish provided a qualifier on his rankings, saying he is "operating under the assumption most meaningful seniors will not return for another season even though the NCAA is allowing it, and that most projected first-round and second-round NBA Draft picks will enter (and remain in) the NBA Draft." 

Here is what Parrish said about Alabama: 

The Crimson Tide should return four of the top seven scorers from a team that won the SEC regular-season title and SEC Tournament — most notably Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly. The expected additions of five-star point guard JD Davison and four-star big Charles Bediako would give Nate Oats a chance at back-to-back conference championships. 

Other SEC teams Parrish ranked are No. 14 Kentucky, No. 16 Arkansas, and No. 20 Tennessee. 

ESPN ranks Alabama basketball No. 8

Alabama's Joshua Primo celebrates a teammate's score against Maryland during the second half of a college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Jeff Borzello compiled the rankings for ESPN, and he went with Gonzaga No. 1 and Alabama at No. 8. 

Here is what Borzello said about Alabama ahead of 2021-22: 

If I had told you two years ago that Alabama would lose three starters and another key rotation player and still be ranked in the preseason 10, you would have thought I was insane. But that's the impact Nate Oats has had on the program in Tuscaloosa. Herb Jones, John Petty, Jordan Bruner and Alex Reese are all likely gone, but Jahvon Quinerly should slot into the starting lineup and Jaden Shackelford and Joshua Primo should thrive with a few more shots. The Crimson Tide also bring in five-star guard J.D. Davison, one of the most explosive players in high school basketball the past couple of years. Davison should immediately become a big-time scorer and playmaker. One potential weakness comes on the inside, where James Rojas and Juwan Gary will have to step forward, along with junior college transfer Langton Wilson.

The remaining SEC teams in the ESPN rankings are No. 12 Arkansas and No. 19 Kentucky. 

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USA Today ranks Alabama basketball No. 8

Mar 22, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats reacts in the first half against the Maryland Terrapins in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Gleeson did the rankings for USA Today, and Gleeson put UCLA at No. 1 and Alabama at No. 8. 

Here is what Gleeson said about Alabama ahead of 2021-22: 

The Crimson Tide are expected to have a lot of talent returning, starting with leading scorers Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly. Nate Oats, USA TODAY Sports' national coach of the year in 2020-21, turned Alabama into a contender and Sweet 16 team in two seasons. Year 3 promises to follow that trajectory, especially with top-10 freshman JD Davison in the fold. 

The remaining SEC teams in the USA Today rankings are No. 9 Kentucky, No. 21 LSU, and No. 23 Tennessee. 

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Stadium ranks Alabama basketball No. 8

Jeff Goodman did the rankings for Stadium, and he slotted Gonzaga at No. 1 with Alabama at No. 8. 

Here is how Goodman framed Alabama basketball entering this offseason: 

Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide will definitely look different next year, but they still return a bunch of key pieces from a team that won the SEC regular-season title and tournament. Shackelford could turn into a star, and Oats will likely have plenty of guards who can make plays in the trio of Quinerly, Primo and Davison.

Other SEC teams ranked by Stadium are No. 14 Arkansas and No. 15 Kentucky. 

Sports Illustrated ranks Alabama basketball No. 9

Kevin Sweeney did the rankings for Sports Illustrated, and he put Gonzaga No. 1 and the Crimson Tide No. 9. He used similar parameters as Parrish while also adding "all transfers are assumed to be immediately eligible." 

Here is what Sweeney said about Alabama basketball entering 2021-22: 

Few programs are on a more positive trajectory than the Crimson Tide under Nate Oats after a breakthrough year two in Tuscaloosa. While a few key contributors will depart, Oats has fully established his style of play and the program’s talent level will continue to rise. Five-star point guard JD Davison will be a great addition to an already-explosive backcourt unit that features the likes of Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly. Expect more help to come via the transfer portal in the coming weeks.

Other SEC teams ranked by SI are No. 15 Kentucky, No. 17 Arkansas, No. 20 Tennessee, and No. 23 LSU. 

Sporting News did not rank Alabama basketball

UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. (4) protects the ball from Alabama forward Juwan Gary (4) in the first half of a Sweet 16 game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Mike DeCoursey put together the rankings for The Sporting News, and he did not include the Alabama Crimson Tide. He ranked Gonzaga No. 1. 

SEC teams that he did rank are No. 16 Tennessee, No. 17 Kentucky, No. 19 LSU, and No. 24 Arkansas. 

Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik.