The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 14th with the First Four, and then moves on to the First Round on Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17. The No. 1 seed Alabama Crimson Tide will face the No. 16 seed Texas A&M CC or SE Missouri State.
Here’s an early look at what we can expect from the matchup.
Game date: Thursday, March 16
Game time: 2:45 p.m. ET
TV channel: CBS
Location: Birmingham, AL
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: Alabama -22.5
Moneyline: Alabama -12500, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi +2500
No. 1 Alabama
The Crimson Tide topped the college basketball rankings for much of the season thanks to a fast-paced offense and a premier lock-down defense. Despite off-the-court controversy involving SEC Player of the Year candidate Brandon Miller, the Tide will be a formidable force and are one of the favorites to cut down the nets in Houston.
Bama finished 17-1 in a loaded SEC, with their lone loss to Tennessee in early February. But it’s their pace and stifling defense that is their most effective weapon, as Bama’s second in the nation in both effective field goal percentage defense and shortest length of possessions.
Record: 28-5, 16-2 SEC Coach: Nate Oats Qualifier: Automatic bid KenPom overall: 3 KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 21 KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 3 Pace: 4 PPP overall: 1.074 Leading scorer: Brandon Miller NET: 2 Quad 1 record: 12-5 Against The Spread: 18-14-1 Over Total: 15-17-1 Odds to win NCAA Championship: +700
No. 16 Texas A&M-CC
Champions of the Southland Conference, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders are in the midst of their best three-year stretch in school history. Having qualified for the Big Dance just twice ever — including an elimination in the First Four last season — TAMU-CC can put up points with the best of them; The Islanders, as a team, averaged over 80 PPG this past campaign (19th-best among eligible DI programs).
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi enters the NCAA Tournament as hot as they have been all season, rallying for a dozen wins over their past 13 contests. Carried by their offense, the Islanders have scored more than 90 points in a game 10 times this year, while crossing the triple-digit mark twice. If any small school has the makings to take down a Power-5 institution in this year’s tourney, it may be A&M-CC.
Record: 19-10, 14-4 Southland
Coach: Steve Lutz
KenPom overall: 170
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 137
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 229
PPP overall: 1.078
Leading scorer: Trey Tennyson
Quad 1 record: 0-3
Against The Spread: 17-12
Over Total: 18-11
Odds to win NCAA Championship: TBD