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Alabama Basketball Earns First NCAA Tournament 1-Seed in Program History

With the win over Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament title, the Crimson Tide earned the top-overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
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It's official. Alabama basketball is a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

No. 1 Alabama is the top overall seed in the tournament as the 1-seed in the South Region and will face a No. 16-seed, either Texas A&M Corpus Christi or Southeast Missouri State, in the first round in Birmingham this Thursday. 

The game is set for a 1:45 p.m. CT tip. 

"We’re excited to be the No. 1 overall seed— our players have worked hard, accomplished a lot this year," Alabama head coach Nate Oats said after the selection show. "Couldn't be more proud of them for what they've been able to do. Got rewarded with it, and it’s going to be great to play in Birmingham.

This is the third time in four years that Oats has led Alabama to the NCAA Tournament (there was no postseason his first season in 2020.) The Crimson Tide was a 2-seed in 2021 and made it to the second weekend in the Sweet 16. Last season, Alabama was a 6-seed and lost to Notre Dame in the Round of 64. 

At 29-5, the Crimson Tide has won more games than any other team in program history and is now the first Alabama team to earn a 1-seed as the icing on top of the cake after winning the regular season and tournament SEC titles. 

The season before Oats was hired, Alabama was the top-overall seed in the NIT, and now just four years later are the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Oats said he wouldn't have predicted this could happen in four years, but he credited the talent of the players they've been able to bring in. 

"It's amazing to just be a part of history that we're doing and continue to do," junior guard Mark Sears said. 

No. 8 Maryland (21-12) and No. 9 West Virginia (19-14) will also be playing in Birmingham at Legacy Arena and would be Alabama's opponent in the Round of 32. On the other side of the bracket in the Midwest Region, No. 1 Houston, No. 16 Northern Kentucky, No. 8 Iowa and No. 9 Auburn are playing in Birmingham as well. 

Alabama doesn't have the best track record in Birmingham over the last few seasons, including this year's loss to Gonzaga, but Oats said it has more to do with the opponents and less about the venue itself. As the largest city in the state, the Alabama head coach made an impassioned plea to fans to fill Legacy Arena again this week. 

"We need that place packed full with Alabama fans," Oats said. "It’s part of the reward of having a great regular season we get to play what should be essentially a home game for the first two rounds, so let's make sure we pump that up."

As the top seed in South Region, Alabama would play its second weekend of games in Louisville Kentucky.

2023 NCAA Tournament bracket

See also:

Alabama Basketball Wins 2023 SEC Tournament

Alabama Players React to Winning SEC Title: 'We Want More'

Everything Nate Oats, Alabama Basketball Said After Defeating Texas A&M in the SEC Championship