Alabama just beat UNC… in basketball… and the internet is losing its mind

Alabama might be a basketball school now. The Crimson Tide are headed to the Elite Eight to rekindle an old rivalry with Clemson.

Alabama Crimson Tide forward Grant Nelson (2)
Alabama Crimson Tide forward Grant Nelson (2) / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On the football field, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Alabama knock off North Carolina, but on the basketball court? Well, it’s clear that times have changed in Tuscaloosa and Nate Oats has the Tide rolling on to the Elite Eight. Is Alabama a basketball school now? It makes you wonder. 

On Thursday night in Los Angeles, the Crimson Tide beat North Carolina, 89-87 behind 24 points and 12 rebounds from Grant Nelson to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2004. Alabama has never made it to the Final Four, but with Mark Sears and Grant Nelson, this team has a good chance. 

Nelson was huge, hitting shot after shot down the stretch, including a three with four minutes left to put the Tide in front that set X on fire. 

The 6-foot-11 transfer from North Dakota State had his best game of the year on the big stage, scoring a season-high while shooting 10-13 from the field with five blocks. Nelson's defensive play was particularly crucial down the stretch, stifling ACC Player of the Year RJ Davis on North Carolina’s final two possessions. 

Waiting for Bama in the West Regional Final with a spot in the Final Four on the line is Clemson, reigniting a rivalry from the football field. 

No, it’s not Saban and Swinney. This March hasn’t had the upsets of past years, but in LA on Thursday night we had plenty of madness. Now, seeing this matchup on the basketball court will be outright bizarre. 

Regardless of how things go in the Elite Eight, Bama fans, unlike football where expectations are championship-or-bust, are already proud of this team.