It’s official: Alabama back in NCAA tournament

It’s official: Alabama back in NCAA tournament

Alabama’s Collin Sexton, center, is congratulated by teammates after making a game-winning basket at the buzzer to defeat Texas A&M 71-70 in the SEC tournament Thursday.(

Alabama’s back in the dance.

After five years of missing the NCAA tournament, the Crimson Tide officially made the field of 68 as announced Sunday evening.

Alabama (19-15) will play Virginia Tech on Thursday in Pittsburgh as the No. 9 seed with No. 1 seed Villanova possible in the next round.

Alabama becomes the second 15-loss team to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament field after Vanderbilt did it last year.

There was a team watch party in Coleman Coliseum for the selection show. Coach Avery Johnson and a few players will discuss the bid once the show concludes.

There were eight SEC teams in the tournament, second only to the ACC’s nine.

The Tide made the field thanks to two wins in this week’s SEC tournament. Collin Sexton’s running buzzer beater Thursday saved the season with a one-point win over Texas A&M. An 81-63 pounding of co-regular season champion Auburn all but assured the automatic bid regardless of the 86-63 loss to Kentucky in the semifinals.

Alabama was No. 42 in the last RPI released after the Kentucky loss. It finished 7-7 in Quadrant 1 games with four wins over top-15 teams.

This is Alabama’s first trip to the tournament since 2012 when it lost the opener to Creighton. The program hasn’t been on the bubble since 2013.

The Tide has not won an NCAA tournament game since 2006 when it beat Marquette 90-85 as a No. 10 seed.

The Final Four this year will be played in San Antonio.

This post will be updated.

Michael Casagrande is an Alabama beat writer for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande.

Alabama will find out its NCAA Tournament destination via TBS’ Selection Sunday show tonight. (Photo via Associated Press)

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