After outlasting West Virginia in the opening game of the Round of 64 of the Men’s NCAA Tournament, No. 8-seed Maryland Terrapins will look to shock the world on Saturday when it takes on the No. 1-seed Alabama Crimson Tide.
Tip-off is set for 9:40 ET on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on TBS. Alabama opened as 8.5-point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook.
No. 8 Maryland 22-12 (11-9 Big Ten):
First-round result: 67-65 win over West Virginia
KenPom rating: 19 Overall, 29 Offense, 32 Defense
NET ranking: 31, (3-10 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jahmir Young 15.9 ppg
Key stat: Maryland went 1-9 in its conference road games, which will be important considering Saturday’s game will definitely feel like a road game.
Maryland played one of its best games of the year against West Virginia, as it fought back against numerous Mountaineers runs and rallies to pick up the win. At one point in the first half, the Terps were down 16-4 and were stuck in a scoreless rut that last eight minutes, yet somehow they were able to fight back to hold a two-point lead at halftime.
Neither team was able to pull away in the second half, but the Terps were able to pull out the win after WVU’s Kedrian Johnson missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The win over WVU was a signature game for sophomore forward Julian Reese, who tallied 17 points and nine rebounds, and played a big part in the Terps' comeback. Reese was one of four Terps who finished in double figures.
Reese will have his work cut out for him against the Crimson Tide and top prospect Brandon Miller. While Miller struggled in the Crimson Tide’s opening-round game, any chance of a Terps upset will ride on Reese’s ability to negate Miller.
No. 1 Alabama: 30-5 (16-2 SEC):
First-round result: 96-75 win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi
KenPom rating: 3 Overall, 19 Offense, 3 Defense
NET ranking: 2, (13-5 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Brandon Miller 19.1 ppg
Key stat: Miller went scoreless in the Crimson Tide’s opening round game, going 0-for-5 from the field.
Despite Miller’s goose egg, the Crimson Tide cruised to a win over the Islanders because of their offensive depth. Forward Nick Pringle led the Crimson Tide with 19 points off the bench, while three starters finished in double-figures in a game that was over by halftime.
Miller is still the best player on this team and is a surefire-top-five pick in the NBA Draft. A three-level scorer who can create his own shot, he’ll present a huge matchup problem for the Terps. That said, coach Nate Oats said that Miller has been dealing with a groin injury, which was part of the reason for his rough showing against the Islanders.
Outside of Miller, Mark Sears is Alabama’s second-leading scorer at 12.8 points per game, and he should be matched up against Young all night. Sears can knock down shots from deep (36% from three), and can also attack the rim. He should have plenty of solid looks off of the attention Miller will generate.
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: Alabama -8.5
Point total: 144.5
Moneyline: Alabama -365, Maryland +300
Against The Spread Pick: Maryland +8.5
Point total pick: Over 144.5
Pick to Win: Alabama
Maryland’s tenacity and grit against West Virginia really impressed me. While they won’t pull off the upset against a legit Alabama team, they have the talent and veteran leadership to hang with the Crimson Tide, especially if Miller is comprised. Three-point shooting might be the difference in this one.