ST. LOUIS — Almost as soon as the University of Alabama’s 86-63 loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament was over on Saturday, UA basketball coach Avery Johnson was queried about the Crimson Tide’s NCAA Tournament chances.
The questions, though, were not as pointed as they had been before the tournament. High-value wins against Texas A&M and Auburn have enhanced the Alabama portfolio to the point that most observers feel that the Crimson Tide is safely in as an at-large selection in the 68-team field.
Alabama is 19-15, a high number of losses for an at-large selection. However, UA has a No. 3 strength of schedule and seems to have a similar profile as the 2017 Vanderbilt team which was also 19-15 and was selected as a No. 9 seed after reaching the SEC Tournament semifinals.
“I think we’re well-positioned,” Johnson said. “We haven’t (got) a flawless resume. There’s nobody in the country, I think, that has a flawless resume, but, boy, we got some outstanding wins and we’ve played in some tough environments. Basically, everything that the committee said was criteria for being one of the 68 teams, we think we’ve met the criteria. So we’ll see what happens.”
The Bracket Matrix, a website which conglomerates more than 100 different bracket projections, had Alabama in the tournament as a No. 9 seed on Saturday night. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi also projected Alabama as a No. 9 seed and predicted the SEC would have a record eight teams in the field.
Alabama has not appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 2012, when it lost a first-round game against Creighton. The Crimson Tide last won an NCAA Tournament game in 2006 when it defeated Marquette in San Diego beside being eliminated by UCLA in the second round.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.