Tide Doesn't Get Much NCAA Respect

One might expect prognostications of an eight seed vs. a nine seed in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament to be fairly closely divided.Not so in the case of the two closest seeds in the Midwest Regional. The eight is the pick of almost every major news outlet.

Perhaps the Alabama men's basketball team of Coach Anthony Grant, which is the number nine seed in the Midwest, was given the most difficult assignment against an eight seed when the Crimson Tide drew Creighton.

The teams meet in what is technically second round action at 14:40 p.m. CDT (1:40 eastern time) Friday in Greensboro, N.C. The game will be televised by TBS.

Forgetting for a moment the eight teams playing into the 64-team Tournament bracket, the number one seed (North Carolina in the case of the Midwest) plays the number 16 team (Lamar). Number two plays number 15, and so on, Thus, 8 vs. 9 theoretically is the toughest game to predict.

It may be that those selecting winners in the bracket think of Alabama as only a football school.In fact, one of those making predictions pointed out that Bama is more than just football. And then he picked Creighton.

Alabama does have a decent basketball tradition. This is the 19th NCAA Tournament appearance for Bama, and the Tide has an overall record of 18-18 in the tournament. Alabama has advanced to the Sweet 16 seven times and has made one appearance in the Elite 8.

This is Alabama's first trip to the tournament since 2006,

Bama earned the berth by going 21-11, winning eifght of its final 12 games and five of its last seven.

Creighton, which plays in the Missouri Valley Conference, is 28-5 and won the MVC Tournament.

Alabama is led by senior inside player JaMychal Green,who averages 14 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, and could be expected to have a good game against Creighton's apathetic defense.

The problem for Bama, one of the nation's top defensive teams, is to be good defensively against the Blue Jays, who are among the nation's most productive offensive teams, averaging 80 points per game (seventh in the country). Bama has given up just 58.1 points per game this year, ninth best in the nation.

Of particular concern to the Tide is 6-7 Doug McCermott, the son of Creighton Coach Greg McDermott. Doug averages 23.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

Only 13 of Bama's opponents have reached the 60-point mark against the Tide and five have failed to score 50 points. Bama has held 11 foes to their lowest point total of the year.

Creighton's lowest offensive output this season is 57 points.

This year's NCAA Championship Game will be held in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. That's where Alabama's football team won the 2011 national championship in the BCS title game a couple of months ago. Obviously, Bama is the only team with a chance to become the first in history to win the football and men's basketball championships in the same academic year, in the same city, and in the same building.

While it's true that Bama's football pedigree is far greater than it's basketball achievements, the Crimson Tide boasts 730 all-time SEC basketball victories, trailing only Kentucky in that category.

(To be sure, Alabama is a distant second to the Wildcats in basketball categories.)

Bama has an all-time SEC winning percentage of .570, against second only to Kentucky.

Alabama has won the SEC regular season championship seven times and the tournament title six times.

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