First Look: Maryland Basketball has a rematch with Alabama in second round

Maryland basketball beat West Virginia, 67-65, Thursday afternoon to survive and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Terps withstood Kedrian Johnson’s 27 points and an early 16-4 run by the Mountaineers.

Julian Reese led the Terps with 17 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and three blocks. Donta Scott, Jahmir Young, and Hakim Hart scored in double figures.

Meanwhile, top-seeded Alabama cruised to a 96-75 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi despite a scoreless game from Brandon Miller.

What can Maryland expect from Alabama? We dive into the Crimson Tide:

Record: 30-5 (16-2 SEC)

NET: 2

KenPom: 3

Spread: Alabama -8.5 (DraftKings as of 3/16)


Alabama finished the regular season 29-5 (16-2) after opening the season 6-0. Their first loss came in the Phil Knight Invitational against the No. 20 Connecticut Huskies, but they upset No. 1 North Carolina 103-101 in quadruple overtime. Playing on the road wasn’t a problem for the Crimson Tide, as they finished with a 9-3 record away from Coleman Coliseum. Their key road victories included the No. 1 Houston Cougars, No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs, No. 15 Arkansas Razorbacks, and South Carolina Gamecocks.

The Crimson Tide enter Saturday third in the updated KenPom rankings, 16 spots ahead of Maryland. Alabama sits 19th in adjusted offense nationally and first in the SEC. Alabama enters Saturday with the nation’s sixth-best scoring offense (82.2) and seventh-best rebounding margin (7.5).

After drawing the top overall seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, the Crimson Tide beat the Texas A&M Corpus Cristi Islanders convincingly on Thursday with a 96-75 victory. With this win, the Crimson Tide earned their first-ever 30-win season in program history. How did they do it? A barrage of threes rained down on the Islanders in the first half. Alabama shot 59 percent from the perimeter, making 10-of-17, and finished the game shooting 15-of-33 (45 percent).

Forward Nick Pringle scored 19 points and secured 15 rebounds to lead the Crimson Tide. Brandon Miller didn’t score in the game as his health situation will be a storyline to follow over the next 48 hours.

Key Players

Brandon Miller

Miller had an outstanding season for the Crimson Tide as a freshman. He’s averaging 20 points and eight rebounds per game.  He went off for 41 points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocks in the 78-76 overtime win against the South Carolina Gamecocks. He became the first SEC player since Anthony Davis (2012) to receive both Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season. In the upcoming NBA Draft, Miller is projected to be a lottery pick. Coming out of Cane Ridge High School in Antioch, Tenn., Miller was a 2022 McDonald’s All-American and five-star prospect, ranked the third-best small forward and 11th-best player nationally in the 2022 class by 247Sports, and13th best player nationally by ESPN.

But Miller, who finished scoreless in Thursday’s win, is nursing a groin injury that’s limited him dating back to the SEC championship game, according to head coach Nate Oats. “We were trying to play him limited minutes. We were able to keep him under 20 [minutes]. Hopefully, he can get a lot of rehab today and tomorrow and look a lot more like himself on Saturday,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats added. Miller sat the final 14 minutes in the win.

Mark Sears

Sears is averaging 13 points, three rebounds, three assists, and a steal per game for the Crimson Tide this season. Sears joined the Crimson Tide as a transfer from Ohio where he was a 2022 Lou Henson Award Finalist, a First Team All-MAC honoree, and an NABC All-District 15 First Team selection. After entering the NCAA Tournament amid a shooting slump, shooting just 4-of-27 from three and 5-of-33 overall over the last four games, but Sears broke loose finishing with 15 points thanks to 3-of-4 shooting from deep. He played in 59 games over two seasons at Ohio University and helped lead the Bobcats to a 42-18 (.700) overall record and a 23-11 (.676) mark in MAC play. Sears picked up the scoring for Alabama, the nation’s sixth-highest scoring offense, as one of five players in double figures over Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Jahvon Quinerly

Quinerly is a senior leader for the Crimson Tide who earned 2022 Preseason Second Team All-SEC selection and Preseason Bob Cousy Award Watch List honors. He is averaging eight points and four assists per game this season. The 2021 SEC Tournament Most Outstanding Player and Villanova transfer led Crimson Tide to the program’s first tournament championship since 1991 and averaged 16 points, three assists, and three rebounds in that three-game span. His season-high in scoring came against the Auburn Tigers recently, when he scored 24 points to go along with six assists and three steals.

Charles Bediako

Bediako is averaging six points, six rebounds, and two blocks per game in his second season with the Crimson Tide. Against the No. 1 North Carolina Tarheels, he recorded a season-high 14 points and 16 rebounds. The Preseason Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Watch List and 2022 SEC All-Freshman Team honoree led the team with 51 blocks and ranked fifth-best in the SEC in blocks per game (1.6). He also led the team in field goal percentage (.692) and was fourth in rebounds (4.3) and total steals (21).

After dominating to open Thursday’s game, Beidako went to the locker room before rejoining the team minutes later. Bediako finished with nine points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes.

Don’t sleep on Nick Pringle in the frontcourt, either, after finishing with 19 points and 15 rebounds in just 21 minutes on Thursday.

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