LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WIAT) — In its second Sweet 16 appearance in three seasons, the No. 1 overall seed Alabama men’s basketball team will face fifth-seeded San Diego State on Friday.
Each program earned automatic bids into the NCAA Tournaments after winning their respective conference tournaments. The Crimson Tide downed No. 16 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and No. 8 seed Maryland by over 20 points in the first two rounds.
Meanwhile, the Aztecs defeated No. 12 seed College of Charleston in the opening round, 63-57, and later crushed No. 13 seed Furman in the next round, 75-52.
Here’s what to look out for at the KFC Yum! Center:
Can Alabama get off to a fast start?
Against Maryland, Alabama didn’t produce an efficient first half. The Crimson Tide hit 10-of-26 field goal attempts, including 1-for-7 from 3-point range. Though the team trailed Maryland by seven at one point, Alabama was up 28-23 after the first 20 minutes.
It was a different story for San Diego State against Furman, as the Aztecs led, 39-25, at halftime. If the trends from these programs’ last games continue, it could mean lower-seeded San Diego State will be ahead at halftime.
Will Alabama handle another tough defense?
After facing the No. 27 scoring defense in the nation, Alabama’s high-powered offense will have another tough test at its disposal, as San Diego State’s 63.1 points allowed per game is No. 24. The Crimson Tide is tallying 82.3 points per contest.
Despite reaching the Sweet 16, the Aztecs’ 71.9 points per game rank 171st in the nation. The Crimson Tide have surrendered 68.2 points per contest, so it’s possible Alabama has another solid defensive showing.
Can Quinerly continue performing well?
Crimson Tide guard Jahvon Quinerly recorded a team-high 22 points in Alabama’s last outing. Since March 1, Quinerly’s notched over 20 points three times. The senior made his first start of the campaign against Missouri in the SEC Tournament semifinals.
In the NCAA Tournament, Quinerly is 13-of-22, with five of those conversions coming from beyond the arc.
- Spread: Ala -7.5
- O/U: 137
- Moneyline: Ala (-375), SDSU (+270)