Alabama basketball won’t catch anyone by surprise next season.

This spring, the college basketball world learned what the SEC has known for years: UA is a hoops school, too. Nate Oats took the Crimson Tide to its first Final Four in program history this season.

Seemingly soon as Alabama’s 2023-24 season came to an end, talk of back-to-back Final Fours began.

That hype picked up as Oats assembled a standout portal class to go along with top-ranked freshman signees. The biggest piece, though, was a question mark.

Mark Sears declared for the 2024 NBA Draft in April. Like many top prospects, he maintained his eligibility while testing the draft waters.

Wednesday was the final day for players to withdraw from the draft and play in the NCAA’s 2024-25. Sears took to social media to announce that he will be one of those players.

Nate Oats knows it could be a special season for Alabama

With Sears back, a consensus is building that Alabama is the preseason favorite in the SEC. Being a top SEC team means you’re one of the top teams in college basketball.

At FanDuel Sportsbook, Alabama is in the top 4 odds to win the 2025 NCAA Tournament. The Crimson Tide is priced at +1200, meaning a $100 bet would win $1200 for a $1300 if UA wins it all.

  • UConn +1000
  • Kansas +1000
  • Duke +1200
  • Alabama +1200
  • Houton +1800
  • Baylor +2000
  • North Carolina +2000

While many coaches might downplay preseason hype in May, Nate Oats isn’t shying away. With Sears, Grant Nelson and Latrell Wrightsell back, and an elite incoming signing class, Oats knows that this could be a breakthrough year in Tuscaloosa.

“I think we’ve got a roster that we’re gonna compete for a national championship this year,” Oats recently said during a sit down with Andy Katz.

Alabama’s season will be determined by how that talented roster meshes to play together. Tide fans, though, have a lot to be excited about.