Alabama State Misses Out on the Real Dance Yet Again

Alabama State Misses Out on the Real Dance Yet Again


Alabama State has been the victim of the play-in game, or now First Round NCAA Tournament games, multiple times. Back in 2009 they lost in the pseudo NCAA Tournament contest to Morehead State. And then last year they were back in Dayton, Ohio for the first ever “First Four.” There they lost again, this time to Texas-San Antonio. Dayton is a nice place and all, but these lower level conferences that were slighted a little bit since the 2001 addition of a play-in game are now totally screwed over.

The SWAC and the MEAC were in nine of the ten play-in games from 2001 to 2010. Those two will almost always be stuck in Dayton playing to get into the real tournament. The point is not that the SWAC and MEAC have just one play-in game each in ten total attempts. The point is we may not see a SWAC team in the “real tournament” for quite some time. At the very least they will have an extra step to earning their way to the dance. Winning the conference is not enough and now even winning the conference tournament is not enough.

The good news, sort of, is that the new format does give these hopeful 16 seeds a bigger showcase. The success of a First Four team like VCU has made watching the Tuesday and Wednesday games almost seem important. Surely more people will watch the last four at-large teams battle it out for a spot in the field of 64 than the 16 seeds. Everybody has those guys losing to the #1 seeds in their bracket anyway, so they just do not care that much about the game…besides us die-hards who watch everything anyway.

But this is not about the fans or the office pool, it is about the players. Alabama State has had some players who earned their way into the NCAA Tournament twice, once in 2009 and again in 2011. Did they get a shot at Louisville or Ohio State in front of a big crowd cheering for the underdog to be the first ever 16 seed to beat a top seeded team? No, they got to play Morehead State and Texas-San Antonio in Dayton. They were home and watching on television like the rest of us by the time the tournament really started and that is not the way it should be.

Read the in-depth men's basketball preview of this team