Alabama Basketball uses defense to make second round statement

(Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
(Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /

Alabama basketball got out to a slow start offensively, but proved to have too much firepower for 8-seed Maryland on Saturday night. The Crimson Tide wore the Terrapins down before pulling away down the stretch en route to a 73-51 victory.

Alabama has demonstrated its ability as a complete team all year. It can win games in a multitude of ways, which is the primary factor that makes it so dangerous in this tournament. The Bama defense shut down Maryland on a night when its offensive efficiency just wasn’t there.

The Tide shot below 40 percent from the field and made just six three-pointers on a 28 percent clip, but Maryland’s offense was significantly worse. In the end, Bama’s suffocating defense and dominance on the glass led to the commanding win.

In the Sweet 16, Alabama Basketball will face a much tougher opponent in San Diego State. The Aztecs are also an elite defensive team, and will try their best to stymie the Crimson Tide’s potent offensive attack.

Under head coach Nate Oats, Alabama prefers to spread the floor offensively. With good spacing and talent all over the court, Bama can attack the basket and get easy shots or heat up from the three-point line. When the offense is functioning properly, opponents can’t keep up and the Tide just runs teams out of the gym.

Brian Dutcher’s Aztecs are one of the nation’s better defensive teams. If they are able to slow down the Alabama offense, the Crimson Tide could once again lean on its own stingy defense.

The good news for Bama’s offensive outlook is that it has faced several opponents that rank higher defensively than SDSU. The Aztecs rank no. 39 nationally in defensive field goal percentage allowed, with its opponents hitting just 41.1 percent. Bama has already beaten no. 33 Auburn, no. 30 Texas A&M, no. 17 Memphis, and no. 9 Mississippi State.

The Crimson Tide fell to no. 3 Tennessee in a close game, and beat no. 1 Houston in non-conference play. Alabama falls right in between these two opponents at no. 2 nationally, holding opposing teams to 37.1 percent shooting and 28.1 percent from the perimeter.

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Alabama Basketball made a huge statement on Saturday night against Maryland. The Tide are versatile enough to beat quality opponents on both ends of the floor. This flexibility should serve the Tide well in the Sweet 16.