Crimson Tide Will Settle for NIT

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Alabama gets a chance to put a better finish on a disappointing season.

The Crimson Tide (20-11) received a fifth seed today in the 32-team National Invitation Tournament. Mark Gottfried's team will open at fourth-seeded Massachusetts (23-8) Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.

The slumping Tide had its five-year NCAA tournament streak end after late-season troubles that included a first-round loss to Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference tournament. Alabama had only made the NCAA field six times in a row once, from 1982-87.

South Alabama (20-10) secured an automatic bid to the NIT by winning the regular-season Sun Belt Conference title. The Jaguars drew a South Region seventh seed and will open at No. 2 seed Syracuse Wednesday at 6 p.m., a team many thought would make the NCAA tournament.

Auburn was left out of the NIT field despite posting the best season of Jeff Lebo's tenure. The Tigers went 17-15 but lost to Georgia in the SEC tournament's opening round.

Alabama is making its 10th NIT appearance and first since 2001, when the Tide advanced all the way to the championship game before losing. 'Bama has made the NIT Final Four five times.

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