If there was ever a basketball team that could consider the past to be prologue, that would be this year’s Alabama Crimson Tide.
Through 27 games, the consensus regarding Alabama’s hopes for a second consecutive NCAA Tournament bid depend squarely on what happens in the final four games of the regular season and, perhaps, in the SEC Tournament in Nashville as well.
The website BracketMatrix.com showed on Monday that Alabama was listed on 92 of the 111 bracket projections that it monitors, with a consensus seeding of 11.60 — a projection that would make the Crimson Tide the final at-large team selected for the 68-team field. The two most recognized bracketologists — Joe Lunardi of ESPN and Jerry Palm of CBS — have Alabama in the field as of Monday night. Lunardi, whose most recent bracket update was published prior to Alabama’s Saturday win over Vanderbilt, had UA as a No. 12 seed, facing Minnesota in an opening-round game in Dayton. Palm, who updated his bracket on Monday, also has Alabama as a No. 12 seed playing in Dayton against Seton Hall.
The Crimson Tide is currently No. 53 nationally in the daily NET rankings issued by the NCAA.
With two weeks remaining, all projections are as hypothetical as angels dancing on the head of a pin. Alabama can strengthen its case with wins against the four teams remaining on its schedule — South Carolina, LSU at Auburn — but how many wins are “necessary” varies with the results of other teams (and conference tournaments) around the country.
For the sake of touching all the hypothetical bases, Alabama would be the No. 9 seed in the SEC Tournament if the season ended today, facing No. 8 seed Auburn in a noon game of the Thursday session in Nashville.