Whew! What an incredible showing from the Alabama Crimson Tide tonight as they roll Maryland ( final score) to advance on to a Sweet 16 matchup with UCLA. Alabama destroyed Maryland in all aspects of the game, the Crimson Tide outrebounded them, outshot them, and Nate Oats ran circles around Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon.
Alabama came into the matchup with Maryland looking to prove a point. Alabama put the rest of the NCAA Tournament teams on notice, and they deserve your respect. After all, this isn’t your parent’s Alabama basketball team. Head Coach Nate Oats has his Crimson Tide playing a disciplined brand of College Basketball.
Sure, Alabama’s calling card is their outside shooting, but the Crimson Tide can beat you in every aspect of the game. On Monday night, Alabama was 16 for 33 from three-point land and shot 53% from the field. Alabama also outrebounded Maryland 40-19, which, if you ask any College Basketball expert, that’s an incredible difference.
Alabama will now shift all their focus to the UCLA Bruins out of the Pac 12. An early look at the Bruins looks to be a favorable matchup for the Alabama Crimson Tide. UCLA is good, but they aren’t as athletic as Alabama.
On paper, Alabama should roll UCLA, but this is the NCAA Tournament, and anything goes when you get to the round of 16. At this point in the tournament, everybody has proven themselves. With that being said, if Alabama plays the way they did on Monday night in their win over Maryland, the Crimson Tide will have no problem advancing to the Elite 8 and likely a matchup with Michigan.
UCLA has also had a much easier path to the Sweet 16. The Bruins got to this point by defeating Michigan State in the play-in game on Thursday night. The 6th seeded BYU Cougars on Saturday, then on Monday, they beat Abilene Christian to secure a bid in the Sweet 16. UCLA comes into the matchup with Alabama 20-9 on the season.
Next weekend’s Sweet 16 matchup with UCLA will be the 9th time in program history the Crimson have reached the Sweet 16, the first since 2004.