Hard to believe that just eight games ago, Alabama was 17-9, boasted an RPI in the 20s, and was playing for the potential to earn as high as a four-line, doesn’t it?
The destruction of Tennessee at Coleman Coliseum was both the apex and the nadir of the season: It would never get better, and it signaled the beginning of a slide that saw the Tide lose its next five games. Alabama was able to stop the bleeding with another much needed Quadrant One victory over Texas A&M. That win ran the Tide’s RPI to 46, with a SOS between 5 and 13 (depending on the selector.) Taking the rubber match against A&M also pushed ‘Bama to 7-6 in Quadrant one games, a far stronger showing than other bubble teams like St. Mary’s or Notre Dame.
Most agree that the following day’s demolition of Auburn was purely for seeding purposes.
Going into today’s Selection Sunday, Alabama now boasts an RPI of 36, with the third-strongest strength of schedule in the country -- as the third-youngest team in the nation. Avery Johnson is not shy about making ‘Bama’s case either:
“Right now, that’s other people (who are) making that decision. All we can do now is build a resume. We feel we have one of the most impressive resumes of any team in the country with all our top-25 wins, quadrant-one wins, winning on a neutral floor, back-to-back games in the SEC tournament against two outstanding teams that are projected and supposedly already in the tournament.
”All you can do is allow what you do on the floor to speak for itself. Talk is cheap. I say that all the time. But we are an NCAA tournament team, if you want to know my opinion. There shouldn’t be any doubt about that.”
Just a week ago, Alabama’s resume was shaken. The Tide had an RPI in the 60s. The energy of the team was absent. Its confidence was gone. What a difference a week makes. It truly is a new season.
And, it is fortunate that Alabama was able to render that talk cheap. This has a been a weekend of bid-stealing. If you’re on the bubble, you’ll be sweating it today: thank Middle Tennessee, Nevada, Bonzie Colson, and a trio of teams in the bottom of the Big 12. Fortunately, Lunardi at ESPN sees zero SEC teams on the bubble today: The eight best from the conference are firmly in.
But, where to?
- CBS has ‘Bama as the 9-seed in the West, Xavier’s region, with a first round game vs. the streaky Virginia Tech Hokies.
- Lunardi projects Alabama 9th in the South, rematching recent postseason nemesis Creighton — and a potential second round date versus Virginia.
- Dobbertean’s Blogging the Bracket has ‘Bama a 10-seed in Xavier’s West, versus Seton Hall, setting up a second round matchup against Duke. This is the projection I like the least.
- Overall, Bracket Matrix has the Tide a composite 9-seed, with no projections leaving the Tide out...even more stable is ‘Bama’s seeding: a few at 8, a few at 11, most at 9 or 10. And that seems about right.
The Tide played itself onto the bubble in two weeks; it played itself back into the tournament in two days. Talk is cheap: the second season begins. So, print your bracket, and get to the television: we’ll know early if Alabama is definitively in. And, as the show progresses, we’ll learn the Tide’s travel schedule and Dancing partner.
NCAA Tournament Selection Shows: Time, TV channel
Time: 6 p.m. EST
Date: Sunday, March 11
TV channel: TBS
And, we have the opponent
No. 9-seed Alabama will face No. 8-seed Virginia Tech in Pittsburgh on Thursday, March 15.— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) March 11, 2018
Lunardi nailed the opponent — although the Tide doesn’t have to travel all the way to the West Coast. ‘Bama will face a team very much like itself, the up and down Virginia Tech Hokies, who one minute look like world beaters and the next game fall flat. The two teams also feature two of the most dynamic freshmen guards in the country. It will be a great matchup.
Here’s the complete East Region:
And the rest:
Alright. Let’s get chatting.
I’ll kick it off: No way in hell is Kansas getting out of the Midwest alive; they may not even make it past the second round. That is a brutal region.
Turns out, Alabama was probably already in before its last-second win over A&M. Here’s the complete seed list: The Tide were 35th in the field.
Finally, help a brother out: Wanna’ show you’re buckled? Love all this #dank #content...free, no less? Then do we have a deal for you:
All proceeds to be divided pro rata between our hoops writers — except Roger, because he’s rich enough that it would just be insulting to give him $35 or so.
UPDATE: Alabama-Virginia Tech tipoff at 8:20pm CT, Thursday March 15 on TNT.
Bama is a 2-point underdog.