Alabama is not on the right side of the bubble heading into Championship Week. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had the Tide as one of his first four out going into Thursday, meaning they’re going to need multiple wins in the SEC Tournament to even have a prayer of reaching the Big Dance.
On Thursday, the Crimson Tide picked up their first big win, knocking off eight seed Texas A&M following a buzzer beating lay-in by Collin Sexton.
ALABAMA AT THE BUZZER!pic.twitter.com/6HTmIzd2gU
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 8, 2018
On Friday, Alabama has a chance to pick up another huge scalp when it faces off with blood rival Auburn, the SEC’s top seed and a projected three seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Alabama has already gotten help from some of the other teams around them on the bubble. Arizona State and Oklahoma were bounced out of the Pac-12 and Big 12 tournaments on Wednesday without a win. Louisville’s complicated tournament case was also dealt a blow earlier Thursday by Virginia, hardly a season-breaking loss. However, Oklahoma State was the team that thumped the Sooners out of the Big 12 tourney, Marquette edged DePaul, and Notre Dame marched back to defeat Virginia Tech on Wednesday. The Cowboys will face Kansas, the Golden Eagles battle Villanova, and the Irish will take on Duke Thursday, and each of those three wins would do more for them than a win over Auburn would do for Alabama.
But Alabama needed to avoid a loss to the Aggies on Thursday, and that’s exactly what they did. Survive and advance, baby.