Alabama Basketball: Tide looking to shock the world versus Villanova

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 09: Collin Sexton
ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 09: Collin Sexton /

The Alabama basketball team will be looking to pull off a monumental upset against the high scoring No. 1 seeded Villanova Wildcats

Undoubtedly, the Alabama basketball team is about to face its toughest matchup of the season.  The Tide, coming off a victory against Virginia Tech in the first round, must now face top-seeded Villanova.

The Wildcats, who were ranked No. 1 in the AP poll for eight weeks, are the highest scoring team in the nation.  They averaged 87.1 points per game and had an average margin of victory that was almost 17 points.

Villanova is coming off an easy victory against No. 16 seeded Radford, a game in which they were never tested.  In fact, they led by 21 points at halftime and cruised to an 87-61 win.

Of course, no one is giving the Tide a chance to knock off Villanova.  Alabama is currently an 11-point underdog and ESPN’s BPI gives the Tide only a 6.8 percent chance to win.

Alabama, coming off one of their most impressive offensive performances of the season, must duplicate that against the Wildcats.  Villanova, the 2016 national champions, have six players that average double figures in scoring.

Alabama will especially have their hands full trying to contain Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges.  Brunson leads the Wildcats in scoring with 19.3 points per game and the projected lottery pick Bridges averages 17.9.

However, as evidenced by the Virginia Tech game, the Tide proved that they can score with the best.  In fact, Alabama shot 60 percent from the field and dished out 19 assists as a team.

The Tide were carried to victory by Collin Sexton and John Petty, who made some clutch shots down the stretch.  Sexton finished with 25 points and Petty poured in 20 points, off the bench, while going 6-of-8 from deep.

Alabama knows that they have an uphill battle to climb but they’re up for the challenge and that starts with defense:

"“Honestly, I feel like it’s going to be a good game for us. We’re just going to see where we place and go out and play hard the whole game… Approach this the same way. We’re going to try to do what we do best, and that’s play defense. I feel like we’re one of the really good defensive teams in the country.” – Collin Sexton via CBS Sports"

Alabama will also need another boost from their bench versus Villanova similar to what they got against Virginia Tech.  The bench accounted for 36 points and was particularly key in keeping the Tide close with Sexton in foul trouble.

Next: Alabama Basketball: Time to give Avery Johnson his due

Most of the nation expecting Villanova to win can be a strong motivation for a young Tide team, playing with confidence. Alabama basketball faces off against No. 1 seed Villanova Saturday, March 17th at 11:10 AM (CST).