College basketball bracket guru Jerry Palm appeared on the Finebaum show yesterday, where he discussed the weakness of the SEC West, the historic nature of Auburn's sucking, and more importantly, what Alabama would have to do to secure an NCAA bid.
He basically says what I've been saying for a while, that realistically Bama won't be able to win enough SEC games to get an at-large bid, that with 5 bad losses, only 1 good win, and with our SEC West opponents all being down, we just won't get enough chances down the stretch to make up for our poor start.
When pressed by Paul to say exactly what Bama would have to do, he essentially said we must win all of our home games against all five West opponents and win at LSU, and then lose no more than two of our road games at Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Florida, and our home game against Georgia. And all of that would just put us on the bubble, where we'd need another win or two against East teams in Atlanta to punch our ticket. In other words, he's saying we have a chance, but only in the "Dumb and Dumber" sense.
That doesn't mean Bama doesn't have a lot to play for, though. We are in excellent shape in the West standings, where a top-two finish would give us a bye in Atlanta, where of course one team will walk away with an automatic berth to the Dance. An NIT berth is very realistic if we keep up our current pace, which would be a great reward at the end of the season for a rebuilding program. Also, don't forget the SEC Championship is up for grabs to the team that finishes at the top of the overall SEC standings. Even with the way we're playing, I don't think we're quite ready to compete for that, but it's worth keeping an eye on since we will play an easier conference schedule that the East teams.