Alabama Basketball: NCAA Tournament Hopes Turn to March Sadness

Dan GruczaContributor IMarch 1, 2011

Alabama head coach Anthony Grant loses in first return trip to Gainesville
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant loses in first return trip to GainesvilleAndy Lyons/Getty Images

Alabama entered tonight's game against Florida with a chance to clinch at least a tie for the SEC regular season title, and got swamped by the Gators.

That sound you hear is the last nail in the coffin of Alabama's hopes of reaching the NCAA tournament.  They will now have to win the SEC tournament to watch their name be called on Selection Sunday.

The lopsided loss to Florida marks the second loss in a row for the Tide, and will not impress the selection committee losing at least two of their last three games (that could be three in a row as Georgia comes to town this weekend).  The last win was a less than impressive two point win at the buzzer on their home court over Auburn.

In that game, which looked like a rock fight, the Tide was the beneficiary of some home cooking as they outscored the Tigers 29 to 10 at the charity stripe even though the Tigers led the entire game and had no incentive to send the Tide to the free throw line. 

By beating Auburn (RPI of 271), the Tide accomplished the same feat as UNC-Ashville, Samford, Campbell, and Presbyterian.  Rammer Jammer!

Alabama can proudly point to an SEC West title.  You can definitely say the only reason Alabama won the SEC West this year is the SEC West is down.  Other than Ole Miss, no other SEC West team has an RPI below 100 and the Tide feasted on a weak schedule with two games against Auburn, LSU, Arkansas and Mississippi State.

Let's look at the Alabama tournament resume:

Record: 19-10
RPI: 88
SOS: 139 (279 in non-conference)
Vs. top 50: 2-3
Vs. top 100: 3-5
Best wins: Kentucky (14), at Tennessee (34)
Worst losses: vs. Iowa (184), at Providence (149), vs. St. Peter's (124)
Road-neutral court: 4-10

That resume is not going to get you the job.  Alabama has the 279th strongest non-conference schedule. Ugh. The committee frowns upon that year in and year out. The Tide has a losing record against the top 100 and the top 200 (8-10). The only reason Anthony Grant's team is even in the mix is for one reason: an 11-4 mark in SEC play. 

Goodbye Big Dance, Hello NIT!