INDIANAPOLIS — Alabama is the overall top seed in the NCAA tournament after cruising through the end of a season clouded by a murder case over the past two months.
The Crimson Tide were awarded the top spot Sunday over Kansas and Houston, each of whom exited their conference tournament without the title and missing key cogs. Purdue secured the final No. 1 seed.
“It was an interesting process and it took a little while,” Chris Reynolds, the tournament committee chair, said on CBS after the bracket reveal was concluded. “However, what I will say is this. Those teams at the top, they performed consistently throughout the year. And so we considered about six or seven teams at the top. But at the end of the day, those four teams are the teams we selected.”
It was a day full of good news for Alabama, which defeated Texas A&M to win the SEC tournament before gathering to watch the selection show.
NO. 1 OVERALL 😤
🐘 @AlabamaMBB #SECMBB x @MarchMadnessMBB pic.twitter.com/8gRpxIcSYT
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) March 12, 2023
The defending national champion Jayhawks lost by 20 to Texas on Saturday in the Big 12 tournament. They played without their coach, Bill Self, who suffered an undisclosed medical issue but was discharged from the hospital and is expected back this week. Houston was without leading scorer Marcus Sasser, who went down with a groin injury Saturday.
Action in the 68-team tournament begins Tuesday with two games in the “First Four.” March Madness gets into full swing Thursday and Friday with 32 games spread over eight cities. The Final Four is set for April 1 and 3 at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Though not the overall No. 1 seed, Houston, which could be playing what amounts to two home games at the Final Four, came in as the favorite per FanDuel Sportsbook at 11-2. Next was Alabama at 15-2, followed by Kansas, which is trying to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since Florida in 2007, and is listed at 9-1.
The Tide will play in the South Region and will open Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama, against the winner of a First Four game between Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Southeast Missouri State.
Among those teams making it off the bubble included Mississippi State and Pitt, who will square off Wednesday in a play-in game. Houston will open against Northern Kentucky on Thursday.
Oklahoma State was among some of notable bubble teams to not make the tournament, though the Big 12 program received heavy consideration from the committee.
“When you look at the resume, they had 18 opportunities in the Quad 1, and they won only six games,” Reynolds said of the Cowboys. “And they had opportunities in the non-conference schedule to win some games to enhance their resume, and they fell a little short.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.