The 2021 NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed on Sunday night, marking the official return of college basketball’s biggest annual event.
Like every year, the bracket was filled with “winners” and “losers” based on the draw that each school received. To ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi there was a program that clearly fell into the latter category.
Following Sunday’s Selection Show, Lunardi called Alabama one of the main losers in this year’s field of 68. In most seasons, he believes that Nate Oats‘ squad would’ve been good enough to land on the No. 1 line, but with four other strong teams, the Crimson Tide fell to a 2-seed.
“Alabama was good enough to be a No. 1 seed in most years, but we ran out of regions,” Lunardi wrote. “The Crimson Tide will have to settle for being No. 2 in Michigan’s bracket and the possibility of the Wolverines not being at full strength in the later rounds.”
'Joey Brackets' breaks down Selection Sunday winners and losers https://t.co/uhWrA7lZGW
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) March 15, 2021
Landing on the No.2 line will make Alabama’s pursuit of the Final Four undoubtedly more difficult. Oats will have to lead his team past a talented Texas group, who landed the No. 3 seed in the East region, if the two teams both make it to the Elite Eight.
Despite the tough draw, the Crimson Tide are playing some of their basketball of the season. Over the weekend, Alabama pulled out a gutsy 80-79 win over LSU in the SEC Championship, capturing the program’s first title since 1991. The victory will definitely give Oats and his team some momentum as they head to Indianapolis, with another title on their mind.
The No. 2 seed Alabama Crimson Tide will tip off against Rick Pitino’s No. 15 seeded Iona Gaels on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET in the First Round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The game will air on TBS.