Alabama basketball lands 6 seed in NCAA Tournament, to face Rutgers or Notre Dame in opener

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama basketball is going dancing in back-to-back years for the first time in 16 years. 

The 2021 and 2022 bids to the national championship event mark the first time since 2005 and 2006 that the Crimson Tide has reached the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons.

The Crimson Tide wasn't a bubble team entering Selection Sunday, but it's now official that Alabama will be part of the March Madness field. Alabama received No. 6 seed Sunday when the field was revealed and will face the winner of Rutgers and Notre Dame in San Diego on Friday. 

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If the Crimson Tide wins that matchup, it will face the winner of 3-seed Texas Tech and 14-seed Montana State on Sunday. 

Alabama will head to the big dance for the second consecutive time in Nate Oats' three seasons. The Crimson Tide reached the Sweet 16 in 2021 as a 2-seed. It lost to eventual Final Four participant UCLA in overtime. 

This season marks Alabama's fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the past decade. This year also marks the 22nd March Madness in which the Crimson Tide will have taken part. 

The farthest any Alabama team has reached in the tournament is 2004 as the No. 8 seed. The Crimson Tide made it to the Elite Eight in Phoenix, Arizona. It lost to Connecticut, the eventual national champion. Antoine Pettway, a current assistant coach, played on that Alabama team. 

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With the chance to go to the NCAA Tournament this year, Oats will have coached in five of the past six. Buffalo participated in March Madness three out of his four years as coach. The only two years Oats hasn't reached the tournament is 2017 and 2020, but it was canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19. 

The Crimson Tide has an overall NCAA Tournament record of 21-21, dating back to 1975. 

Alabama enters the NCAA Tournament on a three-game losing streak. It lost the final two regular-season games to Texas A&M and LSU. Then the Crimson Tide was upset by 11-seed Vanderbilt in the second round of the SEC Tournament this past Thursday.

Contact Alabama reporter Nick Kelly: nkelly@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly.