After playing the most difficult conference schedule in January, the Alabama men's basketball team has reeled off four straight wins to start February and has joined the NCAA Tournament conversation.

The team took a big step towards that goal this past week. The Crimson Tide held on for a one-point victory over a ranked Texas A&M team on Wednesday and went into Florida to claim the program's first win in Gainesville in nearly 20 years on Saturday.

Those two wins pushed Alabama up to No. 34 in the RPI rankings, which is a key piece of a team's tournament resume. That's about a 20-spot jump in just seven days and makes this team a legitimate candidate for an at-large bid.

To give you an idea of how much this program has improved in less than a year under head coach Avery Johnson, consider these three stats:

  • Alabama's three wins over RPI top 25 teams is more than the program tallied over the past five seasons combined.
  • Only six teams in the nation have more wins over RPI top 25 teams.
  • After going just 2-23 against RPI top 50 teams the past three seasons, Alabama is 4-5 this year.

With just six games remaining in the regular season, this team's postseason outlook is as positive as it's been in the past few years. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports updated his bracket on Sunday and has Alabama solidly in the tournament as a 10-seed, while USA Today has the team in as an 11-seed. Joe Lunardi of ESPN should publish is latest Bracketology on Sunday and there's a good chance he also includes the Crimson Tide.

The last few weeks of the season should be a lot of fun for Alabama fans.