Who: Alabama; 25-6 (16-2) vs. Maryland; 17-13 (9-11)
When: 7:45 pm CT, Monday, March 22, 2021.
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse: Indianapolis, IN.
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink)
2-seed Alabama takes on 10-seed Maryland tonight with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line. The Crimson Tide are coming off of a win over Iona- their seventh straight win. Maryland is coming off of a nice win against a dangerous UConn team but has also lost 3 of their last 5 games and hold a 17-13 record on the season and a losing record in the Big Ten. These two teams come into this game with completely different play styles, so it will be interesting to see how each team adjusts to what the other does. Alabama obviously likes to play fast and run up and down the court getting points in transition but Maryland likes to play a lot slower. Alabama ranks 13th in the country in possessions per game (according to TeamRankings) compared to Maryland, who ranks 336th. The Terrapins also like to use a traditional big man like former Alabama player Galin Smith, while Alabama likes to have five players who can shoot from anywhere. Maryland is a solid team on both sides of the ball, so Alabama will need play better than they did against Iona if they want to advance to the next round. The Terrapins are shooting 35.3% from 3, 52.8% from inside the arc, and 45.2% overall. Each of those are ranked inside the top 100 in the country. For the amount of possessions they have, Maryland takes a good amount of threes and make a a lot of them. The Terps shoot about 23 times from deep and make around 8 per game. On the other side of the ball, they defend well, but one area they lack in is 3-point defense (ranked 197th in the country). Alabama ranks 3rd in the country in 3-point attempts and 2nd in makes. If Maryland lets Alabama get going from deep, especially if John Petty comes out of his shooting slump, it could be a long night for them. Another area to watch is rebounding. Maryland is not very good on the boards. They get out-rebounded by 1.1 per game while Alabama out-rebounds opponents by 2 per game. If Alabama manages to keep that up and they shoot better than they did against Iona, the Tide should be in good position to win this game.
Maryland Players to Watch:
-G Eric Ayala (14.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.2 APG)
-G Aaron Wiggins (14 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.6 APG)
-F Donta Scott (10.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2 APG)
-G Darryl Morsell (9 PPG, 4 RPG, 2.8 APG)
John Petty continues his shooting slump but once again does enough to earn the Hard Hat Award. Herbert Jones, Jahvon Quinerly, and Alex Reese have big games and lead the Tide to their first Sweet 16 in 17 years.
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