Alabama’s season heading into the NCAA Tournament has been, well, interesting. That’s a nice way to say it. Now, it just keeps getting more intriguing.

Friday afternoon in San Diego, Alabama will face the winner of the Rutgers-Notre Dame game (that tip-off is Wednesday night), so preparing for one opponent isn’t an option. The Crimson Tide will have to prepare for two. The winner of the Rutgers-Notre Dame game will be the No. 11 seed. Alabama was named a No. 6 seed. The Crimson Tide managed to limp into the big dance despite a rather unceremonious end to the season.

Alabama’s tournament resume consisted of wins over Gonzaga, Houston, Tennessee, LSU and Baylor. All were ranked at the time. However, Alabama also lost to Georgia and Missouri, two of the worst teams in the SEC that fired their coach as a result. Alabama’s mantra this season has been pretty simple when they’ve fallen short. The Crimson Tide are known for building a lead only to get in its own way and end up losing far too many winnable matchups. That’s not the type of quality any fan wants in his team headed into the NCAA Tournament.

During the SEC Tournament, Bama fans had to endure another dose of that common style of defeat. Alabama led Vandy by 10 a the half and 14 in the second half. However, 14 missed free throws and 18 turnovers undid the Tide in an 82-76 loss. Alabama, which has lost its past 3 games, is now 19-13 and has to wait to prepare for their first NCAA Tournament opponent. Maybe a reset is exactly what the Tide need.

Either first-round opponent could cause problems, though.

The Irish opened the season 4-5 but beat Kentucky 66-62 on Dec. 11. Notre Dame never lost back-to-back games after their subpar start and finished the season with a 22-10 record. Rutgers guard Ron Harper Jr. is the focal point for the Scarlet Knights and whomever they face. Harper averaged 15.6 points and 5.9 rebounds this season. He should be trained to handle the spotlight. His father, Ron Harper, won 5 NBA Championships as a member of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.

If Alabama can get past the Rutgers/Notre Dame winner, then the Crimson Tide will face the winner of No. 3 Texas Tech and No. 14 Montana State. All Texas Tech did this season was beat 5 teams ranked in the top 15 at tip-off and reach the conference tournament championship game. If Alabama can beat Texas Tech, then the Crimson Tide will be one of the top stories of the tournament. That’s a lot of “ifs”.

Texas Tech plays great defense. They are No. 11 in the nation in scoring defense and allow just 60 points per game. Alabama, however, is averaging 80 points per game, which is 12th in the nation. There’s certainly a potential of seeing the unstoppable force meet the immovable object, but Bama’s inconsistent play could undermine that before it even happens.

Alabama is one of the most interesting teams in the nation because of its inconsistency this season. There are scoring streaks and dormant streaks. They can look like Picasso or a spilled bucket of paint. It’s all there in a red, crimson tide package.

Perhaps Alabama could capture a long run of offensive success — long enough to make a deep tournament run, but it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like Alabama is as ready for the season to end as they are to succeed in March. That being written, this March. It would hardly be a complete shock if Alabama gets hot and makes the Sweet 16. It just doesn’t feel that way.

The bracket sets up for a second-round loss to Texas Tech.