Last week: 39
This week: 57
Entering March, Alabama can play itself on to the bubble. That would be good news in 2013...not so much in 2018.
With an RPI of 57, the Crimson Tide is all-but certainly staring at another trip to the NIT.
As of Jan. 22, Alabama had played itself into the tournament as a mid/low-seed. We noted that it was a brutal 13-game stretch run facing the Tide — with the biggest fear being that Alabama would go 4-9 down the stretch.
Don’t look now, but going into the regular season finale on the road against Texas A&M, Alabama is 4-8 down the stretch, with three double-digit losses. They have lost three games at home. They were swept on the road against the Mississippi schools. To that, add bad losses to UCF, Vanderbilt, Minnesota, and then...well, whatever the hell that was last night and in Auburn.
In 11 days, the Tide have gone from a 7-seed to off the bubble.
Alabama folded down the stretch last season, which was largely expected given the roster. But, what has happened in the 2018 stretch run can only be called an all-out choke job: a one-through-twelve failure by the players, a coaching staff with zero answers, no mental toughness, no team leader, no way to stop the bleeding — and far too much talent to have to be typing any of this.
There’s no one for the Crimson Tide to blame except the guys they see in the mirror.
Alabama needs a win badly in College Station and then needs to do some work in St. Louis — that’s just to get back in bubble consideration. The Tide has all-but eliminated itself from the NCAA Tournament with its 13th loss. All of those big Top 10 wins aside, the committee doesn’t select 13- or 14-loss teams that have played .355 basketball in the final third of its season.
And, if the Tide loses again on Saturday, we’re in the position of pulling for an outright SEC Tournament win and autobid. The good news, if you’re into bright spots, is that this team could actually tear it up in St. Louis and then make a run in the Big Dance. The bad news — or realistic take here — is that there’s little to suggest that this team will do that.
And you’re forgiven if you’re 50-50 on whether Alabama will win again in 2018.
While I’m not calling for his job, we do need to face the brutal reality here: This year, Coach Avery Johnson has been coaching for a tournament bid. Unless this group shows some signs of life, then next season he very well could be coaching for his job.
One last time, buckle up.
Alabama will finish its season by
This poll is closed
Rebounding, but missing the NCAA tournament
Rebounding, and making the NCAA tournament
Not winning another game