Alabama Basketball: What to expect from Big Dance South Region

(Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images) /

If you are an Alabama basketball fan and your head is spinning, it is understandable. The Alabama Crimson Tide is in a situation it has never experienced before. With Alabama as the overall No. 1 seed, many Alabama Basketball fans have a level of NCAA Tournament optimism never experienced before.

And it is not just Alabama fans who view Nate Oats’ team as a top National Championship contender. National college basketball experts are describing the Tide as the nation’s best team.

The fanfare is dizzying. So, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First Alabama has to win an eight-team tournament in the Big Dance, South Region. Until Tuesday night, Alabama’s opening-round opponent will not be known. It will be the winner of Texas A&M – CC (TAMU-CC) vs. Southeast Missouri State (SEMO).

First Alabama Basketball NCAA Tournament Game

The Crimson Tide’s first game will be Thursday afternoon in Birmingham’s Legacy Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:45 PM CST. For those unable to join what will be a huge Alabama basketball crowd, the game will be on CBS. CBA has assigned a top crew to call the game; Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, and Tracy Wolfson.

Though not in the South Region, Auburn will also play in Birmingham on Thursday. The Tigers will play Iowa at 5:50 PM.

After an Alabama Basketball win on Thursday afternoon, next up for the Crimson Tide will be the winner of Maryland vs. West Virginia. For those wondering, I’m giving the Tide’s 16-seed opponent no chance to win on Thursday. If through some bizarre combination of events, Alabama loses on Thursday, it will be the biggest upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament. I feel secure in saying that will not happen.

The Tide’s game on Saturday will be very different. At 21-12, 8-seed Maryland has some good wins. The Terrapins beat Indiana, Penn State, Purdue and Northwestern. But all those wins were part of a 16-1 home record. Their only notable win away from College Park, was against Miami in November, on a neutral court. The Terrapins are unlikely to come to Birmingham and win two games. They might not win one.

My early pick is West Virginia will beat Maryland. The Mountaineers lost seven of their first eight Big 12 games. After Bob Huggins and West Virginia gained some traction, the Mountaineers beat Auburn, Oklahoma and Kansas State, along with beating Texas Tech and Iowa State twice. Early in the regular season, West Virginia beat Pitt and late in the season, came close to beating Kansas, in Lawrence.

In Huggins’ long career, his teams have won over 30 NCAA Tournament games. His teams play, tough physical defense. This season, in somewhat of a role reversal, Huggins has a top offensive team as well. West Virginia is a better team than its 9-seed and 19-14 record indicates.

Next. No argument, Crimson Tide is SEC King. dark

Throughout the week Bama Hammer will be doing deeper dives into the Tide’s potential opponents. Check-in with us often.