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

Men’s basketball team misses NCAA Tournament bid for third time in four years

For the third time in four years under head coach Anthony Grant, Alabama was left on the outside looking in to the NCAA Tournament. Instead, the Crimson Tide (21-12) will compete in the National Invitation Tournament for the second time in three years.

Alabama was selected as a No. 1 seed for the NIT, joining Kentucky, Southern Mississippi and Virginia. The Tide will host the No. 8 seed Northeastern Huskies on Tuesday at Coleman Coliseum.

“We’re thankful to the NIT committee for giving us the opportunity to participate in the tournament this year, to receive a No. 1 seed and get a chance to play here at home,” Grant said on a teleconference Sunday night.

Alabama had a shot at making the NCAA tournament, but a Southeastern Conference semifinal loss to Florida on Saturday closed the door on the Tide’s chances of being penciled in the big dance’s bracket.

“We felt like we needed to play our way in, and we weren’t fortunate to do that,” Grant said. “So we’re thankful to have a chance to participate in the postseason. We’re looking forward to the challenge of going up against Northeastern.”

Alabama is no stranger to the NIT or Madison Square Garden, where the semifinal and final rounds of the tournament will be held. Earlier this season, the Tide played two games in the storied arena in the 2k Sports Classic.

“Our guys are familiar with that venue,” Grant said. “But that’s something that’s down the road. Right now the focus has got to be on getting prepared for Northeastern and taking it one game at a time.”

In 2011, the Tide also made the NIT as a No. 1 seed but fell in the championship game to Wichita State.

Alabama was unable to overcome its 1-5 record in December. The handful of bad losses ultimately came back to haunt the Tide and resulted in its NCAA bubble bursting.

The SEC placed three teams in the NIT: Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee. The Volunteers are a No. 2 seed.

The Tide faces a quick turnaround from the SEC tournament. But Grant said his team is lucky to receive an invitation.

“We’re thankful to have an opportunity to continue to play,” he said.

The game will tip off at 8 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.

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