Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

No. 9 seed Alabama to play in NCAA tournament for first time since 2006

As JaMychal Green and Andrew Steele stepped in front of the media to discuss the team’s selection to the NCAA tournament, they could do nothing but smile.

The Alabama men’s basketball team (21-11, 9-7 Southeastern Conference) was all smiles as the team was selected as the No. 9 seed in the Midwest region of the tournament, setting the Crimson Tide up to play the No. 8 seeded Creighton Blue Jays (28-5, 14-4 Missouri Valley Conference) on Friday in Greensboro, N.C.

“Obviously, we’re excited to be included in the NCAA tournament this year,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “Our guys worked extremely hard over the course of the year. This is a goal we set at the beginning of the season, to put ourselves in a position to play in this tournament.”

The waiting room experience was not an easy one, though. TheMidwestregion was the last region announced on the NCAA tournament Selection Show, making the Tide wait to be the 53rd of 68 teams announced as tournament participants.

“The longer we waited, the more nervous we got,” Steele said. “It kind of took us on flashbacks to last year. When we finally heard our name called we knew all of our hard work had paid off.”

Steele added, “It was one of those indescribable feeling that you can’t really put words on.”

The bid to the NCAA tournament also means the career of the team’s only senior, Green, will live on.

“I was really happy for JaMychal, as a senior, to experience the NCAA tournament and the chance to continue his career as long as we can continue to win,” Grant said.

Participating in March Madness will be something new for the team, as none of the players have played in the NCAA tournament.

The program does have some experience, though. Grant played in two NCAA tournaments while playing atDayton, including one Elite Eight appearance in the 1983-1984 season.

Alabama’s director of basketball operations, Antoine Pettway, was on theAlabamateams that made the NCAA tournament in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Pettway started every game in the 2003-2004 season, in whichAlabamamade its only Elite Eight run in program history.

Steele said that he and Pettway had not talked about playing in the NCAA tournament yet, but he thinks they will in the time before the first game.

“[I’ll ask about] the experience,” Steele said. “Everything I’ve heard about it, including from my brother [Ronald, who was on theAlabamateams that played in the 2005 and 2006 tournaments], that’s it’s the best experience in the world.”

Steele added, “I think talking between [Grant] and Pettway, two people that have been successful in the tournament, I think it will give us great insight on how to be successful.”

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