Bracketologists still have Alabama as solid NCAA Tournament selection
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It is like watching a bouncing basketball.
The young University of Alabama basketball team is up, and then just as quickly it is down.
Coming off two road losses at tough environments, at Kentucky and Auburn, the Crimson Tide didn’t take too much of a hit in the latest bracketology projections.
That is the good news.
Alabama has three regular-season games, including Arkansas at home on Saturday (6 p.m. ET, SEC Network), to try to work out what went wrong in the last week, especially at Auburn. Despite being short-handed, the No. 12 Tigers never trailed and won going away 90-71.
“In the second half, I felt like we weren’t hustling,” freshman guard Collin Sexton said in the postgame news conference. “They were just driving. When we did help, we didn’t rotate one more time. That’s why they got open 3s, and we weren’t boxing out. They were coming over our backs and getting rebounds and ‘and-ones.’
“I felt like we were too careless with the ball. I know in the beginning, I turned the ball over, and that just got them going. I would say that the turnovers started with me, and we had a few bad turnovers that led to transitions 3s. We just have to correct that next game.”
Rebounds were also a big issue in both games. Kentucky held a commanding 44-27 edge and grabbed 20 offensive boards, resulting in 20 second-chance points. Auburn had a 41-35 rebounding edge, but with 14 offensive boards.
“This is another game where we gave up too many offensive rebounds,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “When you don’t shoot it as well as you shoot it offensively, we aren’t getting enough of our misses back. That is why we are not one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the country. We are 266th coming into this game for a reason, and that is something we have to try to solve before the end of the year.”
Here are the latest listings from numerous bracketology experts:
ESPN (Joe Lunardi): As of Thursday, he had Alabama as a No. 8 seed in the South, playing Seton Hall in Charlotte, N.C. The Crimson Tide were a No. 7 seed last week and bumped up to a No. 6 seed in the Midwest before the Kentucky game.
Teamrankings.com: Lists Alabama as having an 80 percent chance of landing a bid (down from 92 percent a week ago) and projects the Crimson Tide as a No. 8 seed.
Yahoo Sports (Brad Evans): As of Wednesday, Alabama was listed as the bottom No. 9 seed, with the designation of “sliding.” Last week it was the top No. 8 seed.
SI.com (Michael Beller): As of Thursday, Alabama was a No. 7 seed in the South, paired against North Carolina State. No site location included.
CBS (Jerry Palm): On Friday, Alabama was listed as a No. 10 seed in the East, playing Houston in Charlotte.
HoopsHD.com: As of Friday morning, Alabama rates as a No. 7 seed in the Midwest, facing Saint Mary’s in Nashville, Tenn.
USA Today: As of Thursday, Alabama was the No. 6 seed in the South, paired against the winner of a play-in game, Washington vs. Syracuse, in Dallas.
Selection Sunday is set for March 11.