Tide Fifth Seed

Alabama was given a fifth seed in the Chicago Regional as the 65 teams and the schedules of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament were announced Sunday. Bama will meet Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the regional's 12th-seeded team, on Thursday in Cleveland.

Alabama was eliminated from the Southeastern Conference Tournament in the semifinals by Florida by a 68-62 score on Saturday. The Gators went on to win the SEC Tournament over Kentucky Sunday. Kentucky is a two seed, Florida a four seed, Alabama a five, LSU a six, and Mississippi State a nine seed as the SEC put five teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Alabama has a 24-7 record and tied for the regular season championship of the SEC Western Division. Six of Bama's seven losses came to teams in the NCAA Tournament. Aainst the four other SEC teams in the NCAA Tournament, Alabama was 3-4 with two wins over Mississippi State, two losses to Florida, one loss to Kentucky and a one-one record against LSU, the co-champion of the SEC West. (The other SEC loss was at Vanderbilt.)

Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried has made a tough schedule a mainstay of Crimson Tide basketball and Bama also played Washington, which is a number one seed (losing 79-76 in the Great Alaska Shootout), Minnesota an eighth seed (winning 78-72, also in Alaska), sixth seed Wisconsin (losing 76-62 in Madison), and seventh seed Charlotte (winning 102-101 in three overtimes at Charlotte).

This will be Bama's 18th NCAA Tournament. Last year's squad reached the Elite Eight, the best showing ever by a Crimson Tide team.

The top seed in the Chicago Regional is Illinois, which is also the number one seed in the tournament. Last year Alabama had to defeat Stanford, the number one seed in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, to reach the Elite Eight.

LSU is in the same regional with Alabama.

Should Alabama defeat Wisconsin-Milwaukee Thursday, the Tide would played the winner of the Boston College (fourth seed) vs. Penn (13th seed) on Saturday in Cleveland.

Other top seeds in the Chicago Regional are number two Oklahoma State and number three Arizona.

Texas, coached by former Alabama Assistant Coach Rick Barnes, is the eighth seed in the Chicago Regional and Alabama-Birmingham is the 11th seed, playing LSU in the first round. Also from Alabama is Alabama A&M, which will play Oakland on Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio, for the 16th seed in the Syracuse Regional.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee won its last nine games and is champion of both the regular season and the Horizon League Tournament, having defeated Detroit, 59-58, for the title and the automatic NCAA Tournament berth. It will be Wisconsin-Milwaukee's second NCAA Tournament appearance.

The Panthers, coached by Bruce Pearl, finished 24-5. The only common opponent Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Alabama had in common was Wisconsin. The Panthers fell by 66-37. Perhaps the most impressive performance by Wisconsin-Milwaukee was a 73-62 loss to Kansas, a third seed.


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