For the first time since 2012, Alabama basketball will participate in an NCAA Tournament game.

Prior to their trip to Pittsburgh, head coach Avery Johnson stepped Inside the Locker Room to offer his thoughts on Thursday's game against Virginia Tech.

For the second consecutive season, an SEC team with at least 14 losses received an NCAA Tournament at-large bid. The Commodores entered the 2017 NCAA Tournament with an identical 19-15 record that Alabama has entering this week. Alabama's head coach discussed how his staff utilized the lessons learned from Vanderbilt's 2017 NCAA Tournament season into making the 2017-2018 non-conference schedule.

"Last year, I looked at where we finished and we obviously lost some games but Vanderbilt made it with 14 losses so with me being new to college basketball coaching and coaching in college, I went to Colton Houston our director of basketball operations and I said, 'Look, I want you to take a real forensic look at our schedule non-conference and Vanderbilt's and look at all of the teams across the country and let's do a deep dive into why some of these other teams made it into the tournament and why we didn't.'" Johnson said.

Throughout his conversation with Wimp and Barry Sanderson, Johnson discussed the bench's role this season, taking Coach Sanderson on the road to the SEC Tournament, the differences in coaching college and professional basketball and the travel schedule for this week's trip to Pittsburgh.

Catch Inside the Locker Room every weekday from 7-9 AM on Tide 102.9/100.9 and the Tide 102.9 app.