The Alabama Crimson Tide are now 5-5 after losing to the No. 11 Wichita State Shockers 72-67. Alabama fought hard, but in the end, the physicality of the Shockers was too much for them. The Crimson Tide had clear opportunities to win the game, but were outdone by their inability to rebound and Wichita State’s excellent free throw shooting.
Unfortunately for Alabama, they needed a win against Wichita State badly because their 2014 NCAA Tournament chances were slipping away. A win against the Shockers would look amazing on a 2014 NCAA Tournament resume, because Wichita State was their most difficult remaining opponent. The Shockers will most likely go undefeated, which means that the Crimson Tide would have had the marquee win that could have set them apart in the eyes of the selection committee.
Five losses this early in the season coupled with an extremely tough upcoming SEC schedule means that their 2014 NCAA Tournament dreams may have already slipped away. The Kentucky Wildcats, Florida Gators, Missouri Tigers, Tennessee Volunteers, Arkansas Razorbacks, Ole Miss Rebels, LSU Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs are all capable of a push to make the 2014 NCAA Tournament, and Alabama, with the most losses in the SEC, has a mountain to climb if they are expected to compete.
The Crimson Tide’s 2014 NCAA Tournament hopes are not over yet, but the loss to Wichita State may mean that they have to win the SEC tournament or win the SEC outright in order to make it to the tournament. Anthony Grant and Alabama need to get it into gear now, because they will need a miracle to even make it to the NIT tournament.