Alabama Basketball: Early Joe Lundardi look has Tide in ‘Big Dance’

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images) /

In the vein of ‘it’s never too early’ Alabama basketball fans can enjoy the latest Joe Lunardi ‘Bracketology.’

For Alabama basketball fans, preseason NCAA bracket predictions have value in spinning optimism for the coming season. The Alabama Crimson Tide has just two NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 14 seasons. Alabama basketball fans long for a return, like earlier periods in Tide roundball history, when March Madness frequently brought excitement and joy.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi is one of the best-known bracketologists. He will publish dozens of brackets between now and Selection Sunday next Mar. 14. Expecting Lunardi or any of his counterparts to accurately predict much more than 35-40 teams in a preseason bracket is unrealistic.

Early brackets, while flawed and having little value in predicting seeding, can indicate what teams are likely to rise and fall during the season. Count the Alabama basketball team as one of the ‘risers’ based on Joe Lunardi.

The Nov. 17 version of Lunardi’s Bracketology has Alabama basketball solidly in the 2021 NCAA Tournament field. Lunardi has the Crimson Tide seeded as a No. 10.  Ten-seeds avoid play-in games unlike the eight teams seeded at 11 and 16. Some college basketball junkies contend being a 10-seed is better than being a 9-seed. If a 9-seed wins its first game, up next is usually a No. 1 seed.

Currently, more important than seeds is the credible potential of going to the ‘Big Dance’ as coined by former Marquette, Head Coach, Al McGuire.

For the Crimson Tide, the path forward is filled with challenge and opportunity. The Tide currently has 27 games scheduled. Eleven of those games are against teams projected by Joe Lunardi to make the NCAA Tournament. A 12th and possibly a 13th could come from possible games versus North Carolina and Texas in the Maui Classic Tournament. More games against NCAA teams should happen in the SEC Tournament.

Nate Oats has created an aggressive schedule. It is a risk-reward proposition. There will be losses as the new Crimson Tide roster comes together. There will also be resume-building wins. For Alabama basketball fans it should be great fun.

Lunardi projects seven SEC teams will make the NCAA Tournament field. Other SEC teams Kentucky (4-seed); Tennessee (5-seed); Florida (6-seed); LSU (8-seed); Arkansas (10-seed) and Ole Miss (11-seed).

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The NCAA is discussing having an NCAA Tournament Bubble in Indianapolis and perhaps a few close-by Indiana cities. Though not finalized, it is clear the Tournament will not be staged at facilities across the nation.