Alabama’s performance in Monday night’s CFB Playoff National Championship Game could forecast how tomorrow night’s game on the hardwood unfolds between Kentucky and the Crimson Tide. History tells us that when Kentucky plays the Alabama basketball team near an Alabama football national championship, the Wildcats benefit on the hardwood from the Crimson Tide’s success on the gridiron.
Tonight Nick Saban is seeking his seventh title in 12 years when Alabama kicks off against Ohio State at 8 pm on ESPN. Twenty-four hours later John Calipari’s will host Alabama in a battle between the top two teams in the SEC. It’s a small sample size, but if Alabama wins tonight, history backs Kentucky tomorrow at Rupp.
On Jan. 5, 2019 Alabama’s Tevin Mack hit six first half three-pointers to score 22 points and help Avery Johnson’s team build up a large first half lead in Tuscaloosa. Trailing by 11 with three minutes to play, Kentucky came storming back and had a chance to win in the final seconds. Tyler Herro’s three from the top of the key looked good, but clanked off the back iron.
Two days later Nick Saban suffered the most embarrassing loss of his coaching career. Clemson curb-stomped the Crimson Tide at Levi’s Stadium, absolutely smoking Alabama 44-16 in a shocking CFB National Championship Game.
Clemson’s dominant title win in 2018 served as vengeance for Alabama’s 45-40 win over the Tigers in 2016. Saban’s first CFB Playoff National Title was two days after Alex Poythress scored 25 points in a 77-61 UK win at Alabama.
Even when the games aren’t as close in proximity, an Alabama football win spells good fortune for the Kentucky basketball team.
A month after taking down Georgia in overtime in the 2018 CFB Playoff Championship Game, P.J. Washington propelled Kentucky to a 10-point win at Alabama. If you go back to the first Alabama bowl that was designated a title game, Gene Stallings’ team defeated Miami 34-13 on New Year’s Day 1993 in the Sugar Bowl, two weeks before Jamal Mashburn had 24 points and 11 rebounds in a 73-59 win over Alabama.
It’s easy to confuse correlation with causation. (Can you believe Alabama football and Kentucky basketball are good at the same time? NO WAY!) Regardless, if Saban is covered in confetti tonight you have another reason to feel good about the Wildcats’ chances Tuesday night at Rupp Arena.