“On the bubble” is a phrase every Alabama Crimson Tide basketball fan has to be tired of hearing. The Tide has been considered a bubble team all season and it seems that without a win at Florida on Saturday their bubble may burst.
Before coming to Alabama, Anthony Grant was known for taking VCU to the NCAA Tournament. He was able to take the Rams to the promised land two out of his three years in Richmond, Virginia. But what has changed in his time at Alabama?
Grant has the chance to carry the Tide to their second straight NCAA Tournament birth, but Alabama missed the NCAA Tournament in 2011 after securing the SEC West regular season title. Alabama fell victim to several weak loses outside of conference play much like the 2013 team. The 2011 team would later make a deep run in the NIT and finish as runners-up to Wichita State.
As of Wednesday, Alabama sits in Joe Lunardi’s “Next Four Out” with St. John’s, Boise State, and Maryland. The Tide made the jump to the “First Four Out” in USA Today’s big board rankings of NCAA Tournament bids. They are joined by Ole Miss, Boise State, and Tennessee in that ranking.
If the Tide can pull off the upset against Florida on Saturday, Alabama’s tournament chances will be alive and well, but some other teams have been doing their part as well. Tennessee hung on for a win over Florida earlier this week which raised Alabama’s RPI a bit. Alabama split their regular season series with the Volunteers, winning the game in Tuscaloosa. Villanova is also one of those “bubble” teams, but right now Joe Lunardi has the Wildcats in the tournament. Alabama destroyed Villanova on a neutral floor in mid-November. Finally, Mercer could even help the cause. Although the Mercer loss is one of the biggest blemishes on Alabama’s record, the Bears may be able to help. Sure, their RPI ranking is an abysmal 144, but they are favored for the A-Sun title and would receive a bid if they win their conference tournament.
Alabama will travel to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida to take on the Florida Gators on Saturday. The game is slated to start at 11am CT on ESPN and on the radio across the CSTN affiliate network.
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