Alabama basketball seasons end in March. That is not a prediction – it is a fact. Since the Crimson Tide has never advanced to the NCAA Tournament Final Four, it has never played a basketball game in April.
Predicting post-season fortunes for Alabama Basketball has never been easy. This is not to say the Crimson Tide has never had post-season success. The Crimson Tide has won seven SEC Tournament Championships. Only Kentucky has won more. Make that a lot more at 31.
Alabama basketball teams have won more than they have lost in the NCAA Tournament with 24 wins, against 21 losses. Crimson Tide hoops fans don’t want to think about Alabama’s NIT Tournament history. But the Tide has a winning record of 24-19 in the consolation event.
The point is, Crimson Tide roundball, March celebrations exceed March disappointments. However, March losses take a bigger toll on Crimson Tide dreams of someday reaching a Final Four.
This season, many Alabama basketball fans, while relieved the Tide is not an NCAA bubble team, are concerned March will be another disappointment. With three games left in the regular season, the Tide has proven it can beat very good teams and lose to bad ones as well.
How far will Alabama Basketball go in the Big Dance?
None of us can predict the Tide’s future but we can consider its past NCAA Tournament performances as an indicator. Other than the 2021 NCAA Tournament, none of that history will be in the minds of this season’s players. But if you believe programs have DNA-like legacies (and what Alabama football fan doesn’t) then the past can influence the future.
The Crimson Tide is 14-6 in opening games in the NCAA Tournament. It is 9-6 in second-round games. These numbers do not include the loss to Indiana in 1976. It was the Tide’s second game of that Big Dance, but in that 32-team field era, it was also what we now think of as a Sweet Sixteen game.
Including that heartbreaking loss to the eventual National Champion Hoosiers, the Crimson Tide’s Sweet Sixteen history is one win and eight losses.
This season is not the only time a Crimson Tide team has been capable of losing to any opponent. In the 2002 NCAA Tournament, Alabama lost to 10-seed Kent State by 10 points. A Bruce Pearl coached, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 12-seed team beat the Tide 83-73 in 2005. An 11-seed South Alabam team edged the Tide, 64-62 in 1989. In the Tide’s worst NCAA Tournament loss ever, 11-seed Lamar destroyed the Tide 73-50 in 1983. A first-round 49-48 loss to Illinois State in 1984 and a Sweet 16, 62-60 loss to Loyola-Marymount in 1990 were two other unforgettable failures.
None of this history much matters to today’s fans. Unless, on a sad day this March, we are writing about another Crimson Tide NCAA Tournament disappointment.