Team preview: Alabama

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 20, 2004, 4:44 PM ET
Blue Ribbon Yearbook
Editor's Note: Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, long known as the Bible of college basketball, to provide a comprehensive look at all 326 Division I teams.

COACH AND PROGRAM

A year ago, Mark Gottfried told everyone his team wouldn't be any good, and guess what? People bought it. (Even Blue Ribbon.) Was this a case of Gottfried purposely downplaying his team's ability, otherwise known as poor mouthing? Gottfried did play for one of the all-time great practitioners of the art, former Alabama coach Wimp Sanderson, and saw first-hand the benefit of suppressing high expectations.

If Gottfried's assessment of his team was poor mouthing, even he must have eventually believed it. As late as February, Gottfried wasn't sure how good the Tide was. Then along came March, and something magical happened. Defying preseason predictions and achieving something no other Alabama team in the school's long hoops history could, the Tide advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight, where it lost to eventual national champion UConn. If anyone tells you they penciled that into their pre-tournament bracket, they're either lying or they know nothing about college basketball.

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