Why Maryland Will Beat Alabama
The Crimson Tide is on a historic run, winning 30 games for the first time in program history. Led by star freshman Brandon Miller, the team is poised for a deep run in March with its No. 1 overall seed.
On Thursday night, the world watched as Alabama took care of business in the Round of 64 and defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 96-75. That meant, the Crimson Tide would be moving on to face Maryland in the Round of 32.
Despite the team's No. 8 seed, Maryland appears to be a tough matchup for Nate Oats’ team. The Terps’ finished 5th in the Big Ten with notable double-digit wins over Northwestern, Indiana, and Purdue; all teams that finished above them in the Big Ten regular season standings. Kevin Willard’s bunch finished top 32 in both of Kenpom’s adjusted-offense and adjusted-defense rankings and are led by senior point guard Jahmir Young, who’s averaging just under 16 PPG which leads the team. Young is the offensive facilitator for Maryland, as he leads the team in assists with 3.1 per game, but he also has a knack for sniffing out plays on defense as he averages 1.5 steals per game, also leading the team.
It takes a strong backcourt to win games in March, and Maryland has that. Senior guard Hakim Hart compliments Young quite well. Shooting nearly 50% from the field and 35% from behind the arc, Hart will be someone the Tide need to keep their eye on as he’s got the capability of taking over a game at any point. And standing 6’ 8”, Hart will match up well against Alabama’s length. Alabama can win this game in many different ways, but if Young and Hart get going offensively, they’re going to be hard to stop.
The frontcourt is where Maryland gets really fun to watch. 6’ 9” sophomore forward Julian Reese took over the game down the stretch to help the Terps get past West Virginia in the Round of 64. Reese finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks, and if it weren’t for his performance in the closing minutes, Nate Oats would probably be prepping for West Virginia instead of Maryland.
Maryland and Alabama play two completely different styles of basketball. The Crimson Tide rank 5th in Kenpom’s adjusted-tempo ranking while Maryland sits 320th. Alabama has shown, especially in the SEC tournament, that the team relies heavily on the three ball, and when those aren’t hitting they struggle at times to slow the game down and work the ball inside. Maryland works the paint better than most teams in the country, so expect the Terps to try and slow this game down and play their style of basketball with shots in the paint that eventually open up those long-range jumpers for their guards to hit.
With Brandon Miller’s groin not being 100% for the game, another wrinkle gets thrown into the mix for Alabama’s offense that they haven’t really had to deal with at all this season.
Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide last faced Maryland in the 2021 NCAA Tournament where Alabama routed the Terps 96-77 in a game where the Tide lived and thrived from behind the three-point line. Tip-off tonight is scheduled for 8:40 PM CT but a later start time could be announced if Auburn vs Houston runs late. Stay up to date with the game info with notifications from the Tide 100.9 app.