Can Alabama be a Basketball State?

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By Ashley Thompson

Auburn and Alabama have both seen success in their football programs, each winning the BCS national championship title, but both schools have failed to see that same level of success with their basketball programs.

Another team just won the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, but not from the state of Alabama. And with zero appearances in the final four, some wonder if Alabama could ever be a 'basketball state.'

We asked Auburn and Alabama fans if they thought one day our state could be as competitive in college basketball as they are in college football...

We got more NOs then YES's and there may be a few reasons why. Alabama has been to the NCAA tournament 20 times. Auburn has eight times. Although both schools have reached the Elite Eight, Auburn in 1986 and Bama in 2004, neither school has seen the final four. Sports Analyst John Longshore says he believes both basketball programs are inconsistent.

"Every five or six years isn't going to cut it," he says. "People get excited and then they forget about the program once again."

Longshore says both Alabama and Auburn must expand their recruiting base if they want a shot at an NCAA basketball title.

"If you look at Auburn and Alabama's roster for this year in particular, the majority of the players come from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. I think Auburn and Alabama really need to make a push to recruit into the midwest, into the Big East area. That's a basketball hot bed."

Others seem to agree with Longshore.

"If we get that commitment from the high school players to come to the college, then yeah we can get where we can be a top notch basketball team," says Alabama fan Onterria Wright.

"Recruit more," says Auburn fan TaMarcus Warren. "Recruit more basketball players than football players."

However, there may be more to it than just better recruiting. For the 2012-2013 season, Alabama went 23-13 while Auburn went 9-23. Longshore says these records also reflect leadership.

"Is the coaching as good as it can be?" he asks. "I know there's a lot of talk about Tony Barbee and Anthony Grant. Are they really the good coaches or are they the best they could have acquired? The jury's still out."

 

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