The NCAA Tournament Selection Show came and went on Sunday with the Alabama Crimson Tide not among the 68 teams invited to the Big Dance. Instead, for the second time in three years, the Crimson Tide earned a No. 1 seed in the NIT. Alabama will open the NIT on Tuesday night, March 19th against Northeastern.
Northeastern earned an automatic bid into the NIT by winning the regular season Colonial Athletic Association Championship. The Huskies finished with a 20-12 overall record and a 14-4 conference record to earn the regular season title. They lost in the Colonial Conference Championship game to James Madison to narrowly miss out on a bid to the dance.
Of course, missing out on the NCAA Tournament is a disappointment considering what the expectations were for the Crimson Tide coming into the season. Alabama made the tournament as a 9-seed last season and lost to Creighton in the first round. In 2010-11, Alabama was the No. 1 overall seed in the NIT and made it all the way to the championship game before falling to Wichita State at Madison Square Garden.
Getting back to Madison Square Garden for the NIT Final Four will be the ultimate goal for the Crimson Tide, but the road will not be easy. Fortunately, the Crimson Tide will get the benefit of all home games before going to New York, assuming they are able to make it that far. Alabama has posted an impressive 46-6 mark at home in the last three years.
If Alabama is able to get past Northeastern on Tuesday, they will turn around and host the winner of Stanford and Stephen F. Austin. If they are able to get past them, they could very well end up facing a very tough Maryland team with a spot in New York on the line.
Here’s a full look at the NIT bracket.
Follow John on Twitter.