Alabama Crimson Tide all-time Elite 8 history

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Saturday night will not be the first Elite Eight game for the Alabama Crimson Tide. In the 2003-2004 season, Alabama advanced to the Phoenix Region Final against the UConn Huskies. Alabama went into that season's Big Dance as an 8-Seed. The Huskies were a 2-Seed.

In the Crimson Tide's 2004 First Round game, Alabama came close to not winning. Playing in Seattle Mark Gottfried's team took on the Southern Illinois Salukis. The Salukis outscored the Crimson Tide in the first half and had a one-point lead until Antione Pettway hit a short runner with five seconds to go. A last-second shot by Southern Illinois did not find the net and Alabama moved on to the NCAA Tournament Second Round.

Playing on the west coast, against 1-Seed Stanford, Alabama was given little chance of winning its second March Madness game. Alabama went into the game with 19 wins. Stanford was 30-2.

After halftime, Alabama missed 16 of its first 17 field goal attempts. With less than eight minutes left, Alabama trailed by 13 points. Then the Alabama Crimson Tide went on a 16-0 run. In the game's final minute, Alabama made 10-of-14 free throws to hold on to a 70-67 win.

The Stanford game was the first time an Alabama team beat an NCAA Tournament 1-Seed. Until Thursday night, many Alabama basketball fans considered the Stanford game Alabama's greatest-ever win. After knocking off 1-Seed North Carolina, some Tide fans think Alabama has a new 'best-ever' win.

In the 2004 Sweet 16 Alabama took on Syracuse. The Orange were the defending National Champions and a Big Dance 5-Seed. Syracuse was famous for Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone. The Crimson Tide shot Cuse out of the zone. Four of Alabama’s first five baskets were threes, including one Antione Pettway hit 37 seconds into the game.

Pettway, along with Earnest Shelton and Kennedy Winston made nine threes, at a clip of 45%. In the second half, Syracuse switched to a man-to-man defense. The move by Boeheim limited the Tide's opportuities outside the arc. Instead Alabama went inside to Chuck Davis who scored 19 points on a 66.7% average from the floor and 75% at the foul line.

The three-point succes rate for Syracuse was only 35.7% and even while dominating Alabama on the glass, the Orange did not have the fire power to best the Crimson Tide. Alabama won 80-71.

Alabama Crimson Tide 2004 Elite Eight

In the 2004 Elite Eight Alabama was matched against 2-Seed U Conn. The Huskies were coming off a thrashing of 6-Seed Vanderbilt, 73-53. The Regional Final was even more one-sided. At halftime, the Crimson Tide was down, 53-29 and the game was essentially over.

Mark Gottfried's team kept battling and outscored the Huskies in the second half, 42-34. It was not nearly enough, as Jim Calhoun's team cruised to an 87-71 win. Talking about his team's first-half performance, Calhoun called it, "probably as good basketball as we could possibly play."

ESPN's summary of the game was tough for Alabama fans to swallow, but it was no exaggeration.

"... the upstart Crimson Tide had no shot against an assemblage of UConn talent coming together when it matters most"


In its second-ever Elite Eight appearance on Saturday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide will be no upstart.

Next. Belief and a new Crimson Tide ceiling . Belief and a new Crimson Tide ceiling . dark