12 Days Til Selection Sunday: Bama's Position

The Crimson Tide basketball team now has just one week left in the regular season before heading to New Orleans for the SEC Tournament. That means we're now less than two weeks away from Selection Sunday, when the Tide will learn its postseason fate. Yesterday we discussed what it would take for Alabama to lock up a bid to March Madness. Today, we'll take a look at the Tide's current projections and a closer look at Bama's resume.

Latest RPI rankings

Latest bracket projections

  • As of Monday's update, ESPN's Joe Lunardi has the Tide as a #10 seed in his latest bracketology projection. Having studied Joe's bracket carefully, I honestly think he focused on who was in the field and who the top seeds were. He has some really curious ordering in his 5-10 seed range, and objectively, I think he has Bama low when you compare the Tide to the 8, 9, and 10 seeds in his bracket.
  • As of today's update, CBS's Jerry Palm had the Tide as a #8 seed in his latest bracketology projection. Palm (unfortunately for Bama fans) was the most accurate bracketologist last year has been one of the more accurate bracketologists in recent years. His seeding projections right now seem more in line with the way the committee has behaved recently. I used his seedings for Alabama's resume below.
  • Sports Illustrated's Andy Glockner will be releasing his bracket projection later today. However, he told me last night via Twitter that he has Alabama projected as a #8 seed. (Edit: Upon reading this post, Glockner--correctly--pointed out that he was more accurate than Palm last year. He did so with a ":)", for the record).
Latest look at the resume

Resume0228_medium

Resume breakdown

  • Bama is 3-6 against projected NCAA Tournament teams. Neither of Alabama's final two regular season opponents are expected to make the NCAA Tournament, so unless Bama faces Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt, or possibly Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament, the Tide will have no more games against NCAA Tournament teams. However, that doesn't mean this record won't change, even if Alabama doesn't play one of those teams in the SEC Tournament. Three of Alabama's opponents are squarely on the bubble: Mississippi State, Dayton, and VCU. It would be in Alabama's interest for all three of those teams to finish strongly, but that would be especially true for Mississippi State and VCU, as those teams right now represent Bama's 3rd and 4th best wins this season.
  • Bama is 2-5 against RPI top 50 teams. This record is probably the biggest weakness on Bama's resume, but really it's not all that bad. Still, if the Tide has hopes of getting a higher seed than the 7-10 range, another win against a team in this category will very likely be required. Again, neither of Bama's final two regular season opponents is expected to finish in the RPI top 50, so if the Tide gets another game against such a team, it will have to come in the SEC Tournament against one of the league's top teams. Two of the teams that beat Alabama, Kansas State and Dayton, are near the cut-line of this category, so it is possible they could each end up on either side of the top 50. Meanwhile, VCU continues a steady climb through the RPI, so keep an eye on where they end up. Obviously if they can crack the top 50, that would improve Bama's record here.
  • Bama is 8-3 against RPI 51-100 teams. The Tide's 8 wins against teams in this category is better than every single team in the country except for Duke (tied with 8 wins). Obviously these wins are not as good as top 50 wins, but it is a big strength of Alabama's resume considering the 2-5 record against top 50 teams. Bama will have at least one more shot at such a win with the road game at Ole Miss on Saturday, in addition to possible SEC Tournament matchups. Teams near the cut-line are Tennessee, Maryland (currently on the good side of the cut-line), Georgia, and Oklahoma State (currently on the bad side of the cut-line)
  • Bama has 10 total wins against RPI top 100 teams. Alabama's biggest resume strength right now are the 10 total wins against RPI top 100 teams. To give you an idea of just how strong that is, Michigan State, currently projected to be a #1 seed, has 11 such wins.
  • Bama is 9-1 against sub-100 RPI teams, with at least one such game remaining. As Tide fans know all too well, these wins really do nothing for your resume, but losses to these teams can be killer. Alabama's road loss to South Carolina looks really, really bad and is a big reason Bama isn't 100% safe right now. There's nothing that can be done about that now, though, except hope that the Gamecocks don't fall all the way out of the top 200. What Alabama can do, however, is ensure that no more such losses appear. This means that the Tide must at all costs avoid losing at home to an Auburn team that is currently ranked 140th. There is also a good chance that Alabama will face a sub-100 team like South Carolina, Georgia, or Auburn in the opening round of the SEC Tournament if Alabama does not earn a first-round bye.
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