With the dance looming, is Bama in or out?

Well, the hay as they say is in the barn.

Saturday afternoon the University of Alabama basketball team played its final game of the regular season, a 65-57 home win over the Georgia Bulldogs.

According to who you’ve listened to over the past few weeks, Saturday’s game was the sixth “must win” game in a row for Bama to make it into the big dance on selection Sunday.

Alabama (20-10, 12-4) must now head to Atlanta for the conference tournament wondering if it has done enough, while preparing to do a little more on Friday and beyond.

When the selection committee sits down and gives us their final answer a week from today, experts say Alabama is in…according to which expert you’re listening to at the moment.

Bama finished off an impressive conference schedule at 12-4, including going 4-2 against the big bad East that everyone is in love with…a mark that should’ve been 5-1 had the officials not been serving up some hot and steamy home cooking in the final minute at Vandy.

But the Tide’s record on neutral or visiting courts was a woeful 4-10, with “bad losses” against the St. Peter’s Peacocks, at Providence and Iowa.

Alabama’s RPI heading into Saturday’s game was 88, with a 139 strength of schedule (279 out-of-conference). Still, Bama turned an 8-6 start into a 20-10 season. Once it found itself, Anthony Grant’s team became a tough out.

Supposedly the selection committee considers a team’s performance down the stretch; Bama finished its last ten games 7-3. The Vandy game heist and the flat performance in Oxford really hurt, as did the 27-point shellacking in Gainsville last Tuesday night.

So is Bama in or out? The “official” ITK prediction is that if they lose in Atlanta on Friday they’ll have the opportunity to extend their home winning streak this season in the NIT, which is a shame. Win Friday and they remain a strong bubble team. Win two and they become a 10 or 11-seed.

Give Bama its non-conference schedule again today and in my opinion they undoubtedly win 12 of 14 and no one is sweating today. But unfortunately, no one gets that chance…a lesson that will be front and center next season for the Tide.

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