Alabama basketball's Brandon Miller will win SEC player of the year, plus other bold predictions

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama basketball is about to start its 2022-23 season, but there’s still time for a few more predictions.

Regular, any old day predictions don’t cut it, though. Those just fall into the noise of the preseason, when speculation is high and there’s no shortage of hypotheticals and question marks.

To stand out, predictions must be bold.

As No. 20 Alabama prepares to face Longwood on Monday (7:30 p.m., SEC Network+) at Coleman Coliseum, here are a few of our bold predictions for the season.

1. Brandon Miller will win SEC Player of the Year

There’s serious buzz around the program about the five-star freshman forward and what he will be able to do for the Crimson Tide in his first season. He might need some time to adjust to the college game, but Miller has a chance to be a difference maker for Alabama early and could very well end up being the best player in the conference this season. He’s got that kind of potential.

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2. Alabama will have one of the best groups of point guards in the country

Trying to decide how to distribute minutes among the point guards is a good problem with which coach Nate Oats and staff will have to deal when Jahvon Quinerly returns from his knee injury. There’s Mark Sears, the Ohio transfer who showed in the exhibition game against Southern Illinois he’s going to be a catalyst for the Crimson Tide. Then there’s Jaden Bradley, the five-star McDonald’s All-American. If Quinerly plays to the level he showed in the 2021 SEC Tournament, Alabama could be one of the most well-off at point guard in the nation.

3. Alabama will struggle in premier nonconference matchups in 2022

Oats has shown he likes to schedule tough games early, and this season is no different. No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 3 Houston are the highlights. There's Michigan State, Memphis and potentially others in the Phil Knight Invitational. With as much change as this roster has had, it’s going to take some time to build chemistry and get everyone on the right track. That’s going to come with some growing pains, which might mean losses in some of tougher matchups. Don’t be surprised if Alabama has trouble in late November and early December. That won’t be reason to panic, though, because ...

4. Alabama will win the SEC regular season title

The reason Oats likes to schedule a tough nonconference schedule is that it’s excellent prep for conference play. The Crimson Tide has mainly been picked as a fringe top five team in the SEC, but it has the talent to be a contender for the top spot. It all depends on how that talent is handled and how well these new players come together.

5. Alabama will hit 3-pointers on a consistent basis

Bold? For this team, it is. The Crimson Tide shot 30.9% from beyond the arc last season, which ranked in the bottom half of the SEC. Three-point shooting was far from consistent for a team and system that relies on success in that area. The exhibition in late October wasn’t encouraging either as the Crimson Tide shot 3-for-22. Oats recruited and added via the transfer portal to help fix this problem, so there is reason for optimism. Still, the inconsistency of last season and the poor shooting from beyond the arc against Southern Illinois provide reason for skepticism. So, saying this team will shoot 3-pointers well is bold.