The Crimson Tide was awarded the top spot Sunday over Kansas and Houston, each of whom exited their conference tournaments without the titles and missing key cogs on their teams.
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 went to a hospital emergency room Wednesday night complaining of chest tightness and concerns with his balance. He has been discharged and is expected back this week.
Houston was without leading scorer Marcus Sasser, who went down with a groin injury Saturday. The Cougars are the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region.
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.