Alabama Basketball: What the Tide can and cannot control


Alabama Basketball is on a roll. The outlook for the remainder of the regular season, SEC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament could hardly be brighter. At the same time, much work is left to do. The probability of a 13-0 finishing run, from the Vanderbilt win, through an SEC Tournament Championship win, is some single-digit percentage.

The team must of course focus on the next game and nothing more. Alabama basketball fans are free to enjoy whatever ‘what ifs’ we want to consider. A big unknown, and in terms of the Big Dance, a most important one, is can the Crimson Tide hold onto a projected 1-seed. And if it can how high might that 1-seed be? Though there are exceptions in NCAA Tournament bracket decisions, the main purpose of the NCAA NET Rankings is setting the seed lines from No. 1 to No. 68, also described as the S-Curve. The intent is the top 1-seed gets matched with the lowest 2-seed, the top 3-seed, the lowest 4-seed, and on.

Based on NCAA Tournament history, even more critical is being one of the four 1-seeds.  Since the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field in 1985, through the 2019 tournament, 1-seed teams have reached the Final Four, 40.5% of the time. The percentage for 2-seed teams is 21.6%. NCAA Tournament Champions included 1-seed teams 64.9% of the time, compared to 13.5% of 2-seed teams. Bracketologists contend the difference is a combination of the quality of 1-seed teams compared to 2-seed teams, and that the 1-seeds have easier paths to championships.

The bottom line is Alabama Basketball needs to hold onto its currently projected 1-seed and the higher of the four, 1-seeds, the better.

Can Alabama Basketball do it?

With 11 more wins, beginning against Florida on Wednesday night, Alabama will be a 1-seed and probably the No. 1 overall on the S-Curve. What happens if the Crimson Tide does not finish the SEC Tournament at 31-3? There are too many variables to know the answer, but a 30-4 and 29-5, maybe even a 28-6, Tide might be a 1-seed.

The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s calculation of a five-loss or six-loss Crimson Tide would hinge on the records of Alabama’s opponents and also the records of the opponents of Crimson Tide opponents.

Every time a team Alabama opponent wins is a plus. While the records of Jacksonville State and Jackson State matter little, what the Tide’s top 75 in the NET opponents do matters much.

For example, U Conn beating Marquette on Tuesday night would boost the Crimson Tide. So would a North Carolina win over Wake Forest and a Michigan State win over Maryland. Additional resume value would come from heavily-favored Memphis delivering a win over South Florida and if, Oklahoma could upset Baylor.

Crimson Tide in the NCAA Tournament. dark. Next

One more point on the Big Dance is the Tide’s highest-ever seeds were 2-seeds in 1987, 2002 and 2021. None of the teams advanced beyond a Sweet Sixteen and the 2002 team lost in the round of 32.