Alabama Basketball: Why the Crimson Tide is still on Bubble Watch

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

After the overtime loss to Auburn Wednesday night, Alabama basketball moved up to a No. 39 NET Ranking. NCAA chances are still alive.

Fans of Alabama basketball, now at 13-11, are mixed in their opinions of the Tide. There is wide approval of the team’s grittiness and determination. Nate Oats is solidly embraced for his rebuilding effort and what the future holds.

Crimson Tide fans are split in opinions over this season’s NCAA chances. A not-just-recent history of failing to make the Big Dance has often squashed the hopes of Tide fans. With Alabama basketball having lost three of its last four games, a portion of the fan base has given up on NCAA hopes this season.

There are reasons others have not given up. The path to an at-large bid is tough. There is little margin for error. But, making the NCAA Tournament is possible without winning the SEC Tournament.

Let’s review the current status of Alabama basketball. The Tide has no Quad Four losses. It has only one Quad Three loss (Penn) and the worst Quad Two loss is to North Carolina. If the Tar Heels continue to slide, the North Carolina loss could become another Quad Three loss. Combined, the Tide’s record against Quad One and Two teams is 5-10. The worst resume blemish currently is only one Tide win over a Quad One team. The NCAA NET Ranking is No. 39. Ken Pomeroy has the Crimson Tide at No. 48.  Based on the short history of the NCAA NET, No. 39 is within a ‘Bubble’ zone.

What has to happen for an Alabama Basketball at-large bid?

The team of the last two games, rejuvenated by the quick return of Herbert Jones, must limit losses. The ceiling for a bid is probably 14 losses, with another Quad One win. Beating either LSU or Mississippi State is necessary to earn a bid. With a split in those games, the Tide could sustain another regular-season loss. A loss to South Carolina, even though at home, would be the best other loss. That leaves required wins at home over Texas A&M and Vanderbilt, plus road wins over Ole Miss and Missouri.

Not many prognosticators give the Crimson Tide much chance of finishing 5-2. There are reasons why they may be wrong. Kira Lewis is playing great. Jaden Shackelford is as well, and his scoring prowess means opponents cannot just focus on Kira and John Petty Jr. Petty’s defensive and rebounding skills have become consistent weapons. And Herbert Jones, while not fully healthy is back. How valuable is Herbert? The answer is in the photo below. Even one-handed, he is one of the best defenders in the SEC.

Alabama basketball
Samir Doughty #10 of the Auburn Tigers has his shot blocked by Herbert Jones. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Next. The Tide may have found itself in a loss. dark

It is too soon (and too iffy) to predict an NCAA bid. Denying the possibility is not fair to Nate Oats and his players.