Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Maryland Terrapins – NCAAM March 22

NCAA Round of 32

(2) Alabama (25-6, 16-2) vs. (10) Maryland (17-13, 9-11)

  • Time: 5:45PM PST | 7:45PM CST | 8:45PM EST
  • Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
  • TV: TNT

Opening Tip

Alabama won its seventh consecutive game and its 10th in the last seven games when the Crimson Tide took a hard-fought 68-55 win over Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino’s 15th-seed Iona Gaels on Saturday. Alabama is looking for its eighth Sweet 16 and the first appearance since 2004.

Maryland seeks its 15th Sweet 16 appearance after the Terrapins ousted UConn, 63-54, in its NCAA Tournament opener on Saturday. The Terps played the 12th toughest schedule in the nation as nine of the first 11 Big Ten opponents were ranked teams.

The Terrapins have gone the entire season without a pause due to COVID-19 and they are playing in rhythm and with continuity in winning seven of their last ten games.

This is the fifth all-time meeting between the Terrapins and Crimson Tide as the Terps hold a 4-1 lead in the series. The last meeting was in 2013 when Maryland defeated Alabama, 58-57.

Vs. The Spread

Alabama:

  • The Crimson Tide sport a 4-2 ledger ATS in their last 6 contests
  • The UNDER has been the play in 6 of Alabama’s last 8 games
  • The Tide check in at 4-1 ATS in the last 5 vs. the Big Ten

Maryland:

  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Maryland’s last 7 games
  • The UNDER has been the play in 8 of the last 9 games when the Terps entertain SEC opposition
  • The Terrapins are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games played in March

Last Time Out

SEC Player of the Year Herb Jones scored 20 points and grabbed 6 rebounds as the Crimson Tide fought off a challenge from stubborn Iona, 68-55. Alabama trailed 42-40 with 12:13 left and then hit a decisive 18-4 run over the next five-plus minutes to take 58-46 lead with 6:36 remaining which secured the win.

Eric Ayala continued his hot streak as he scored 23 points to lead Maryland to a 63-54 win over 7-seed UConn. The Terps held the Huskies to 32.3 percent from the floor behind another strong effort led by Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Darryl Morsell.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Maryland +5.5 (-101) +213 O 138.5 (-108)
Alabama -5.5 (-119) -253 U 138.5 (-112)

Advantage, Alabama

Alabama Crimson Tide LogoEverything points to the greatness of Alabama’s offense and rightfully so, but this defense is rated No. 2 in the nation in defensive efficiency as the Crimson Tide turn opponents over at 15.8 turnovers per game and hold opponents to 28.8 percent from behind the three-point line. Maryland’s offense is solid as the Terrapins have shot 45.6 percent on the season and have shot at a 46.7 percent clip over their last 10 games.

Key Crimson Tide Stat:

Watching Alabama offensively is a beautiful thing as the Tide have made 325 threes and have attempted 928. This feeds into their average possession length which is 14.1 seconds (3rd/NCAA). John Petty, Jr. and Jaden Shackelford net 70 and 57 threes respectively to lead the three-point attack which currently sits at 35.1 percent.

Jahvon Quinnerly leads in percentage at 44.3 percent as Alex Reese can make a difference off the bench. Maryland gives up 33.9 percent from behind the arc and has held four of the last seven opponents to 30 percent or less.

X-Factor:

The glass will be a key to the game as Alabama averages 40 rebounds per game, but a (+1.6) average overall. Maryland is at a (+0.4). Maryland needs to limit Alabama on the offensive glass because as many threes as the Tide shoots, several misses, and several rebounds off those misses, either way, could be the difference. Maryland has won 19 of its last 20 games when the Terps outbound their opponents.

Advantage, Maryland

Maryland Terrapins LogoEric Ayala (15.3 ppg) has become a contributor as he is averaging 21 points and 45.5 percent from the floor over his last three games. Ayala has also been solid on the boards through the last three games at a 6.7 clip. Aaron Wiggins has taken off during the second half of the season in averaging 17.1 points and shooting 46.1 percent in the last 11 games. When Darryl Morsell takes home double digits, the Terps are 23-5.

Maryland does have the experience to matchup with key Alabama seniors John Petty, Alex Reese, Herb Jones, and Penn transfer Jordan Brunner.

Key Terrapins Stat:

Donta Scott (10.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg) likely will have a huge role in the game if Maryland is to win. The 6-7 sophomore forward is athletic enough to be able to find shots inside of Alabama’s defense. He also can facilitate efficiently as well with his 58 assists on the season.

X-Factor:

With the speed and pace of Alabama’s offense comes the antithesis of Maryland’s entire squad. The Terps allow only a defensive pace of 18.4 seconds (337th/NCAA) and the offense is at the same 18.4 seconds (289th). This could turn into a war of wills which could be decided on which defense has its way in dictating tempo.

Winner: Alabama (-5.5) 71, Maryland 64

The Bets
Alabama Crimson Tide -5.5
-119
Alabama Crimson Tide
-253
UNDER 138.5
-112

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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.