Bracketology 2011: Alabama's Loss To Kentucky Could Spell N-I-T For Tide

Saturday afternoon's early window of games featured five contests impacting the last few at-large spots for the NCAA Tournament.

Alabama was the second-to-last team in the field for my Saturday morning projection. They're back out now after getting blown out of the Georgia Dome by Kentucky in their SEC semifinal, 72-58. At the moment, that means Boston College slides back in to replace the Crimson Tide, who simply didn't look like a Tournament team in suffering a pair of humiliating defeats to the top teams in the stronger East division over the past 12 days. Two wins over Georgia, a victory at Tennessee, and an earlier home win over the Wildcats will likely not be enough to offset Alabama's weak non-conference (and SEC West) slates.

Two Wildcat guards, DeAndre Liggins and Doron Lamb, were injured in the game's final minutes, and Lamb's injury looked serious. Their prognosis is worth watching as Kentucky heads into tomorrow's final.

In the ACC, North Carolina needed overtime and 42 points from Harrison Barnes to eliminate Clemson in the first semifinal, 92-87, keeping their hopes for a top seed alive. The Tigers, thanks to their good play of late, should be in, but their seeding may be impacted negatively by their lack of success out of the conference, where their best wins are against College of College of Charleston and Long Beach State.

Michigan's run through the Big Ten Tournament came to an end after a 68-61 loss to Ohio State. While a win over the Buckeyes would have been nice for the Wolverines' profile, it likely was not necessary. As for the Scarlet and Gray, they remain very much in the frame for the Tournament's No. 1 overall seed.

Bubble teams from coast to coast exhaled a bit when Memphis claimed the Conference USA title by topping UTEP, 67-66. That result means C-USA is virtually assured of receiving only a single bid. However, there's still a chance for an outsider to earn a spot as Dayton topped St. Joseph's, 64-61, in the first Atlantic 10 semi in Atlantic City. The plays the winner of the second game between Temple and Richmond for the league's auto bid tomorrow.

I'll have one last update for the day after the late afternoon games.

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