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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Crimson Tide's first game of the college basketball season is November 9 against Louisiana Tech, and with the season soon-to-begin the AP Poll released its preseason Top 25 rankings of the season.

Alabama is ranked No. 14 heading into the year, with Kentucky four spots above as the only SEC team ranked ahead of the Crimson Tide. To round out conference rivals in the Top 25, Arkansas is No. 16, Tennessee is No. 18 and Auburn is No. 22 as the fifth of five ranked SEC programs.

Under third-year coach Nate Oats, Alabama returns guards Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly and forward Keon Ellis as its main contributors from the 2020-21 team which won both the regular season and conference tournament championships.

However, both the SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, Herbert Jones, departed to the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans, and guard John Petty Jr. is also a player whose significant production the program must replace. 

The schedule for Alabama basketball features games against eight teams ranked in the preseason poll, Gonzaga (December 1), Houston (December 11), Memphis (December 14), Tennessee (December 29), Auburn (January 11), Baylor (January 29), Arkansas (February 12), with the possibility of also playing Kansas in its early-season tournament.

AP Top 25 poll

Team, conference, points

1. Gonzaga, West Coast Conference (1562)

2. UCLA, Pac 12 (1459)

3. Kansas, Big 12 (1427)

4. Villanova, Big East (1332)

5. Texas, Big 12 (1315)

6. Michigan, Big Ten (1255)

7. Purdue, Big Ten (1213)

8. Baylor, Big 12 (992)

9. Duke, ACC (963)

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10. Kentucky, SEC (894)

11. Illinois, Big Ten (861)

12. Memphis, American Athletic (831)

13. Oregon, Pac 12 (775)

14. Alabama, SEC (713)

15. Houston, American Athletic (694)

16. Arkansas, SEC (673)

17. Ohio State, Big Ten (581)

18. Tennessee, SEC (563)

19. North Carolina, ACC (547)

20. Florida State, ACC (381)

21. Maryland, Big Ten (294)

22. Auburn, SEC (267)

23. St. Bonaventure, Atlantic 10 (238)

24. Connecticut, Big East (161)

25. Virginia, ACC (125)