Christopher Walsh’s All Things CW notes column will appear in five parts this week, one each day as Alabama Crimson Tide prepares to host Austin Peay.
That is …
The Alabama Crimson Tide men’s basketball team already knew they would face their first strong test of the 2022-23 season at next week’s Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore.
Now it looks even tougher.
When Alabama plays the nightcap game on Thanksgiving, scheduled for 9:30 pm CT, they face Michigan State in the first round.
Tuesday night, the Spartans stunned No. 4 Kentucky in the Champions Classic, 86-77.
Joey Hauser, a fifth-year transfer from Marquette, led the Spartans with 23 points and added eight rebounds. He was 8-on-16 from the floor, including 4-on-7 from 3-point range.
It’s an interesting matchup. Tom Izzo’s team has excellent transition defense and lots of toughness and balance but not much depth.
The Spartans also played the Armed Forces Classic on the USS Abraham Lincoln where they lost to No. 2 Gonzaga 64-63 on the buzzer. They’re also hosting Villanova this Friday at the Breslin Center for those who want to do their own scouting.
If organizers could redraw the brackets for the eight-team tournament, they probably would because one of those teams will end up traveling across the country just to end up in the consolation round. Granted the field is so strong that the games would still be interesting but of course it wouldn’t be the same.
Notably, before Michigan State upset Kentucky, SportsBetting.ag had North Carolina at +135 as Phil Knight Invitational favorites, Alabama and UConn at +500 in second, and Villanova in fourth at +525. The state of Michigan was listed sixth after Oregon with +1000.
After the Spartans weathered the commotion, the odds changed to North Carolina +160, Michigan State +350 and Alabama +525.
• Circle December 5th in the calendar and the transfer portal will open. It’s the morning after the Alabama football team’s banquet and two days after the SEC championship game.
• According to his contract, Nick Saban receives a $100,000 bonus and the football program has met the required mark with its APR score and recently released NCAA graduation success rate of 89 percent. That ranks among the top four SEC soccer teams (with South Carolina in third place behind Florida and Vanderbilt).
Also of note from the NCAA is that the overall success rate of the year-long graduation for Division I student-athletes has remained constant at 90 percent, the highest rate on record. Over the past 20 years, black student and athlete graduation rates have increased from 56 percent to 81 percent. Hispanic/Latinx rates rose from 64 percent to 88 percent.
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• If the 12-team College Football Playoffs were already played, according to the selection committee’s rankings, Clemson would play eighth-seeded Alabama in the first round, with the winner going against top-seeded Georgia.
Meanwhile, the BCS computers (remember?) don’t see par with the selection committee’s CFP rankings when it comes to Alabama. The computers have the same top five of Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, TCU and Tennessee. But then they have the Crimson Tide in sixth ahead of LSU and Southern California.
Did you notice?
• Mississippi State coach Mike Leach was asked on the weekly SEC coach teleconference with the media how he would rate the role this season. Leach called it a ridiculous question, adding: “Go ahead and send me a check. I think $30,000 will cover it. You mail me the check and I’ll give you a hell of a reply.’”
• Vanderbilt, Florida, Georgia and Pittsburgh are the latest programs to partner with the NFL on a $60 million concussion study using data from mouthguard sensors worn by volunteer players.
• sports illustrated had previously reported so, but SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey reiterated this week that the league is leaning heavily towards going into a single division. The four-team pod system is no longer widely considered.
Please be thankful
As we move towards the holiday season, please take a moment to reflect on what happened in Virginia, where a deadly campus shooting killed three football players: wide receivers Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler as well linebacker D’Sean Perry running back Michael Hollis in critical condition at a Charlottesville hospital.
Virginia canceled Saturday’s football game against visiting Coastal Carolina.
No decision has yet been made on the Cavaliers’ scheduled November 26 game at Virginia Tech, which not long ago had its own horrific campus shooting that left 32 people murdered, 17 wounded and six others injured, as they jumped out of windows to escape from the shooter in 2007.
You may also want to check the pending reporting of sports illustratedis Ross Dellenger The following is included.
There’s also the story of former Alabama center Ryan Kelly and his wife Emma, who was 19 weeks pregnant and lost their baby daughter. They are now trying to help others who may have gone through something similar.
Get your Crimson Tide tickets from SI Tickets HERE.
Take 1: Did Alabama Play The Road Schedule From Hell?
Take 2: Why the Strength of the Schedule Is Alabama’s Greatest Playoff Asset
Take 3: Throwback Thursday? AJ McCarron, Memphis Showboats both back