Alabama Basketball faces intriguing second round matchup

Charleston v Alabama
Charleston v Alabama / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Alabama Basketball advanced to the second round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament with a convincing 109-96 win over College of Charleston in the first round on Friday night. The travel to Spokane didn’t seem to affect the Crimson Tide, who shot the ball very well and played with great energy. 

Bama will face another quality mid-major opponent in Grand Canyon on Sunday. The 12th-seeded Antelopes, champions of the WAC, advanced by beating Saint Mary’s in the first round. Grand Canyon wasn’t overly impressive on offense, but displayed a lot of athleticism defensively, blocking nine shots and generally giving the Gaels issues.

The Antelopes were led by Tyon Grant-Foster’s 22 points, along with 17 points from Rayshon Harrison and a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double from Gabe McGlothan.

Alabama could have some trouble with Grant-Foster, as it lacks a big physical wing on the defensive end of the floor. The senior is a well-rounded scorer who leads Grand Canyon with 19.8 points per game along with 6.0 rebounds per game. 

McGlothan gives the Antelopes another big veteran wing, and he doubles as the team’s best three-point shooter. Alabama will have to find a way to shut this duo down in what will not be an ideal matchup. 

Conversely, the Crimson Tide will trot out a stable of high-level guards that I don’t believe Grand Canyon can keep pace with. Mark Sears, Aaron Estrada, Latrell Wrightsell, and Rylan Griffen give the Tide a deep rotation of playmaking shot-creators of the variety that tend to thrive in this tournament. 

Sears is coming off a 30-point, 5-assist game against Charleston, and Estrada and Wrightsell combined for 30 more points of their own.

Look for the Alabama backcourt to be the difference once again in this second-round game.