Alabama players describe celebration when NCAA bid announced

Courtesy UA athletics.

This was the print story I wrote for today’s newspaper. Read it. Enjoy it. Buy a newspaper if you’d like.

TUSCALOOSA — There were no live television cameras in the Alabama locker room as anxiety filled the space.

Just the team, a television, and mounting tension saw three NCAA Tournament brackets filled without the Crimson Tide. Surely, they’d done enough, right?

“I was getting nervous,” senior JaMychal Green said. “Finally they called our name and there was so much joy in the room.”

That moment came when CBS revealed the Midwest Region bracket Sunday evening. Alabama earned the No. 9 seed and will face No. 8 Creighton (28-5) in Greensboro, N.C. at 12:40 p.m. in Friday’s second round.

It’s the first trip to the NCAA for Alabama (21-11) in six seasons and it comes a year after it felt slighted by the NCAA selection committee. Almost an hour of anxious waiting quickly turned into a party, junior Andrew Steele said.

“We got so lost in celebrating with all we’ve been through especially this year and the last few years,” he said. “As a program, for us to get to this point is one of the best feelings in the world. We are just excited about the opportunity we have.”

Unlike his players, Alabama coach Anthony Grant has been through this before. He led Virginia Commonwealth to the tournament twice in his three years including a first-round upset of No. 6 seeded Duke in 2007.

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