The Bracketology Report: Alabama

Updated: February 11, 2004, 1:41 PM ET
By Charlie Creme | Insider Bracketologist

Editor's note: Each week Bracketology Insider will take an in-depth look at teams headed for the NCAA Tournament ... or not.

Week in review
Tuesday's game at Kentucky (InsideRPI No. 3, SOS No. 4 SOS) was a chance for Alabama (InsideRPI No. 24 RPI, SOS No. 1) to nearly erase the bad times of the past two weeks. The NCAA Selection Committee doesn't like long losing streaks, but it does love road wins over teams in the RPI Top 5. Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide, the former continues (Alabama has lost five in a row) and the latter didn't happen.

The Wildcats smothered an already struggling 'Bama offense over the final 32 minutes, limiting the Tide to 38 percent shooting while forcing 15 turnovers. Not even the return of junior guard Earnest Shelton, back following his knee injury, helped.

Shelton did contribute last Wednesday against South Carolina (Inside RPI No. 42, SOS No. 170), though. Shelton, returning from a two-game absence, scored 23 points. Unfortunately, it didn't help enough. The Tide lost, 90-82, in overtime in a game Alabama may very well wish it had come Selection Sunday.

Coming up
Now that Alabama is flirting with the .500 mark, the winning must begin again now. As late as Jan. 26, the Crimson Tide was a projected No. 7 NCAA seed. Alabama hasn't won since. Obviously, this makes Saturday's game against Tennessee (Inside RPI No. 56, SOS No. 66) in Tuscaloosa vital. In fact, when you sit on the bubble in mid-February, every game the rest of the way is vital.

A loss to the Volunteers means Alabama would have to run the table in order to finish above .500 in the SEC. It may not be absolutely necessary for an at-large bid, but it sure makes life easier without the committee having that 7-9 conference record staring it in the face.

It should also be noted that the remaining schedule includes two meetings with Mississippi State (Inside RPI No. 7, SOS No. 74). In the meantime, at least 'Bama can be comforted by its two-game winning streak against Tennessee.

"Bubble Trouble"
The Crimson Tide is No. 68 this week on The Bracketology Report national seeding chart. This puts Alabama among the dreaded "Last Four Out."

'Bama's RPI is good; its SOS tremendous. The Crimson Tide's record is neither and, with the loss at Kentucky, Alabama is officially now in scratch-and-claw mode. Alabama has played plenty of very good teams and many more pretty good teams (15 games vs. RPI Top 100). However, beating Wisconsin, Charlotte and Oregon is not nearly sufficient to compensate for a 2-6 road/neutral record, the recent losing streak and a 3-6 SEC mark.

Alabama is only close to the NCAA field now thanks to the computer. Its on court performance is another story.

Games of the Week
Alabama fans should root FOR and AGAINST the teams in ALL CAPS.
For Iowa @ WISCONSIN (Wed.)
Kentucky @ GEORGIA (Sat.)
Against UAB @ Southern Mississippi (Wed.)
Texas Tech @ OKLAHOMA (Wed.)

Inside the Numbers
Additional considerations for the NCAA Selection Committee include:
"Good" wins
(vs. RPI 1-25) Wisconsin
(vs. RPI 26-50) Charlotte
(vs. RPI 51-100) N-Oregon, Arkansas, Auburn, @Georgia
"Bad" losses
(vs. RPI 101-150) NONE
(vs. RPI sub-150) NONE
Record vs. projected field (3-7)
Win: Austin Peay, Charlotte, Wisconsin
Loss: N-Pittsburgh, @Providence, Florida, @Louisiana State, Louisiana State, @South Carolina, @Kentucky
Record vs. at-large pool (0-1)
Loss: N-Oregon
Reason(s) to INCLUDE Alabama
  • SOS No. 1
  • NonConf RPI No. 1
  • Reason(s) to EXCLUDE Alabama
  • 3-7 in last 10 games
  • 3-6 conference record
  • Season breakdown (11-9, 3-6)
    All RPI data through Monday, Feb. 9

    Date      Opponent                Result      Opp. RPI     Opp.SOS
    11/14     N-Pittsburgh            62-71 (L)     13            107	
    11/21     Louisiana Tech          69-63         163           182	
    11/25     Southeast Louisiana     83-76         165           288	
    11/29     @Providence             71-76 (L)     12            14	

    12/3 Charlotte 79-72 34 45 12/6 Austin Peay 65-47 124 200 12/16 Chattanooga 76-72 175 255 12/20 N-Oregon 87-86 65 93 12/27 Mercer 101-44 184 113 12/30 Wisconsin 71-56 20 34

    1/3 @Xavier 47-68 (L) 66 42 1/10 @LSU 66-70 (L) 18 36 1/14 Arkansas 81-65 83 58 1/17 Auburn 69-46 51 37 1/21 @Georgia 45-42 62 29 1/24 @Mississippi 60-71 (L) 63 27 1/27 Florida 78-88 (L) 8 2 1/31 LSU 54-60 (L) 18 36

    2/4 @South Carolina 82-90 (L, ot) 42 170 2/10 @Kentucky 55-66 (L) 3 4 2/14 Tennessee 56 43 2/18 Vanderbilt 28 33 2/21 @Mississippi State 7 74 2/24 @Auburn 51 37 2/28 Mississippi 63 27

    3/3 @Arkansas 83 58 3/6 Mississippi State 7 74 3/11 SEC TOURNAMENT

    Joe Lunardi's forecast (Feb. 11)
    Chance of NCAA top seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA "protected" (1-4) seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA bid: 40 percent
    Chance of NCAA at-large bid: 35 percent
    Chance of NIT bid: 40 percent
    Chance of missing post-season: 20 percent

    Charlie Creme projects the women's NCAA tournament bracket for