Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

No. 4 seed Alabama men’s basketball to face Charleston in first round of NCAA tournament

CW/ Riley Thompson
Alabama forward Jarin Stevenson (#15) attempts a 3-pointer against Florida during the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament.

After making an early trip home from Music City on Friday, all Alabama men’s basketball could do was wait as its landing spot in the NCAA tournament remained uncertain.  

The Crimson Tide’s wait is over, however, as it was announced on Selection Sunday that Alabama will be the fourth seed in the West Region and will face 13-seed Charleston in Spokane, Washington. 

This is the first time the Crimson Tide has been seeded fourth or higher in back-to-back tournaments in school history. Alabama received the No. 1 overall seed in last year’s tournament.  

“I don’t know a ton about Charleston,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “Coach [Pat] Kelsey is one of the better up-and-coming young head coaches. They play a pretty modern style of basketball, pretty similar to us.”  

So far, the Crimson Tide has a 1-4 record in March. There are many things this Alabama team is going to have to correct ahead of its next matchup. Most importantly, the Crimson Tide will need a fully healthy roster if it plans on making any kind of noise in this year’s tournament. 

“We’ve lost some games in the last couple of weeks, but we also haven’t been healthy,” Oats said. “This will be the first time we’ve got everybody available. We had everybody available last game, but it’s almost like you’re knocking the rust off a little bit with some of the guys that haven’t been in much.”  

Despite coming from a weaker conference, the Cougars are not to be taken lightly. If Alabama’s defense looks like it has in its last four games, the Crimson Tide face the serious possibility of making a very early exit from the tournament.  

According to KenPom, Charleston has the 58th-most efficient offense in the country but sits all the way down at 176th in defensive efficiency. The Cougars also hold the second-longest winning streak in the country at 12 games.  

“If we don’t come out and guard, Charleston is going to put some points up on us,” Oats said. “I don’t like putting that much pressure on our offense every night out that we have to go score 100 points.” 

If Alabama survives the Cougars in the first round, it will face either Saint Mary’s or Grand Canyon University in the second round. After that, a potential date with the No. 1-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels in Los Angeles is possible.  

First things first, though. Alabama will need to focus on a return to form against a Charleston team that can and will take advantage of lackluster play on both sides of the ball. 

“We’re treating this like it’s a whole new season,” Oats said. “We’re playing a really good team. I’ve been on the other side of this. I’ve been a 13 seed playing a four at Buffalo. …  I’ve got a pretty good idea of the mindset of [Charleston]. They’re hungry, and I’m sure they can’t wait to play us.” 

The Crimson Tide is set to take on the Charleston Cougars on Friday at 6:45 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on truTV.  

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