Can Alabama baseball still make NCAA Tournament? Here's what it might take
In mid-April, Alabama baseball was in prime position to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Crimson Tide started the month with a series win over Texas A&M. Then, Alabama swept then-No. 7 Ole Miss. Right after that, defeated No. 1 Tennessee in the opening game of the weekend series.
The Volunteers won the next two, but the Crimson Tide was trending in the right direction. Or so it appeared.
That hasn't been sustainable. Now, more than halfway through May, the Crimson Tide is going to have to pull off some upsets to have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament.
Alabama (27-24, 10-16 SEC) has lost its last five SEC series. An appearance in the conference tournament seems more likely than not, unless the final series against Arkansas turns out disastrous with Alabama losing all three and the wrong teams winning. Kentucky, Missouri and Mississippi State are the other teams vying for the final two spots.
The Crimson Tide is going to have to change course to have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive year and the second time since 2014.
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Alabama begins a three-game series at home against the No. 5 Razorbacks (37-14, 17-10) on Thursday.
Alabama is fresh off a series loss to No. 18 Auburn. The Tigers won the first two games before the third game Sunday was determined to be no contest because of weather after several delays.
The Crimson Tide will likely need to win the Arkansas series to give itself a decent chance to make the NCAA Tournament. A sweep might not be necessary, but two wins are probably going to be. One win would translate to Alabama needing an even stronger performance in the conference tournament.
In 2021, the Crimson Tide finished with 12 wins in conference play and made the NCAA Tournament, but that also included multiple SEC Tournament wins. First, Alabama defeated South Carolina before an upset of No. 2 seeded Tennessee.
Alabama will likely need to have multiple SEC Tournament wins again if it wants to keep playing after the trip to Hoover.
In D1 baseball's latest Field of 64 projections, Alabama is not included in the field or as one of the first four teams out. Baseball America also did not have the Crimson Tide as one of the first four out but instead the next four out.
Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly