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Your Maybe Too Early RBR Alabama Bracketology-Buster

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Will the Tide go dancing this March?

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Alabama
Donta Hall wants to go out BIG. What will it take?
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

With the arrival of February comes the beginning of crunch time for many college basketball teams. Alabama is no exception. With a record of 13–7 (4–3 SEC), there is not much room for mistakes.

If you have been checking out the latest Bracketology reports, the Crimson Tide is in a familiar spot - on the bubble. Currently, the Mothership and ESPN both have Alabama as one of the LAST FOUR IN, which means they would have an extra play-in game against a co-11 seed. On occasion, this is not such a bad thing. Syracuse was in that position in last year’s tournament and made it to the Sweet 16, but that is a rarity. It is never an advantage to have an extra game to play against a formidable opponent in post-season play.

What’s it going to take?

Alabama got into last year’s tournament as a 9-seed with a 19–15 (8–10 SEC) record. To be honest, I think having a future lottery pick on the team helped. Coach Avery Johnson’s squad does not have that luxury this time around. The Crimson Tide have some nice wins (Kentucky, Miss, State) but also have some ugly losses (Georgia State, Northeastern, Texas A&M), in addition to some wins that don’t look so great now (SF Austin, Wichita State).

For 2018, the NCAA has replaced the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) as its primary tool for evaluating teams’ resumes for the NCAA tournament with a new ranking system called the NCAA Evaluation Tool.

Below are their rankins as of January 31.

WINS
RANK SITE OPPONENT SCORE
7 Home Kentucky 77-75
26 Home Mississippi State 83-79
37 Home Ole Miss 74-53
49 Home Murray State 78-72
56 Neutral Liberty 84-75
66 Home Arizona 76-73
84 Home Penn State 73-64
92 Away Missouri 70-60
103 Neutral Ball State 79-61
133 Neutral Wichita State 90-86
260 Home App. State 81-73
274 Away Stephen F. Austin 79-69
342 Home Southern 82-62
LOSSES
RANK SITE OPPONENT SCORE
5 Away Tennessee 68-71
16 Away LSU 79-88
34 Away Baylor 68-73
42 Away UCF 64-70
105 Home Texas A&M 80-81
107 Neutral Northeastern 52-68
128 Home Georgia State 80-83

This index rates the Crimson Tide at No. 43, which is okay but not great. Although it is a 68-team field, only 36 “at-large” bids are awarded. This no time for complacency.

As mentioned above, Alabama won 19 games last year and got into the NCAA tournament with a sub-.500 conference record. Although the SEC is much improved this season, I am not so sure that will be enough this go-around. Winning two games in the SEC tourney - including an 81-63 throttling of No. 1 seed Auburn - put last year’s team over the top. As of right now because the first half of their SEC schedule was top-heavy, the number I am feeling is 21 wins. With 20 games played and 11 regular season games plus two SEC tourney games left to play [yes, I am saying 1-1 in the SEC tourney, which is covered below. Go ahead and flag me], that would mean the Crimson Tide would need to go 7-4 and 1-1 to reach a 21-12 record.

The remaining regular season schedule for Alabama is somewhat favorable from here out, including four games against the bottom three teams in the league, seven against the lower half of the SEC. That is great for winning percentage but not as much for the NCAA Evaluation Tool calculations.

02/02/19 @ Auburn ESPN2
02/06/19 UGA SEC Network
02/09/19 @ Vandy SEC Network
02/12/19 @ Miss St SEC Network
02/16/19 Fla ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU
02/19/19 @ TAMU SEC Network
02/23/19 Vandy ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU
02/26/19 @ SCar ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU
03/02/19 LSU ESPN/ESPN2
03/05/19 Auburn TBA
03/09/19 @ Arky SEC Network

Seven Wins

4 A pair of face-offs against Vanderbilt (9-11, 0-7 SEC) is fortunate but the Crimson Tide has historically struggled in the ‘Dores weird arena. Georgia and Texas A&M both have one SEC win each. Alabama cannot afford to lose any of these games.

2 If they follow the above criteria and get four wins from the cellar dwellers like they should, they will need to win AT LEAST two victories among @ Auburn, @ Miss St, Florida, @ SCar, LSU, Auburn, @ Arky. Realistically, you can probably expect a split with Auburn [flag] but it’s no lock. A win in Starkville where the Bullies are 10-1 would be very surprising, and a win at Arkansas is going to be tough. If they can take one from Auburn, that leaves home games against Florida and #16 LSU or a road game against the Gamecocks to get that one last win.

1 SEC Tournament win. If the SEC Tournament started today, Alabama would be the 6 seed and face the winner of Vanderbilt-Missouri. That would likely mean a win for the Tide, but the next foe would be 3-seed Kentucky. It would be farfetched to think that Bama would defeat the Wildcats twice in one season. Of course the standings could change but it is dangerous to depend on a deep SEC Tournament run to get into the Big Dance.

So, there is it. Your Maybe Too Early RBR Alabama Bracketology-Buster. Tell us how you REALLY feel.

Poll

How many wins will get Alabama in the Big Dance?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    18
    (7 votes)
  • 12%
    19
    (44 votes)
  • 44%
    20
    (154 votes)
  • 23%
    21
    (80 votes)
  • 17%
    22 or more
    (62 votes)
347 votes total Vote Now