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

Alabama basketball looks to make first Final Four in rematch with Clemson

CW/ Riley Thompson

No, it isn’t football season.  

Despite these two teams usually meeting on the gridiron, Alabama men’s basketball will take on sixth-seeded Clemson Saturday night in Los Angeles as both teams look to make a program-first Final Four appearance.  

“Alabama and Clemson playing in LA, most people probably think we’re playing in the Rose Bowl out here,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “The basketball Rose Bowl.”  

Although these teams have rarely met on the hardwood, it won’t be the first time they have seen each other this season. Back in November, the Tigers left Coleman Coliseum with an 85-77 victory in the first annual ACC/SEC Challenge. 

In that game, Alabama was able to limit Clemson in the first half, but as the second half began, the Tigers opened the floodgates, hitting 8 of 11 3-pointers in the half. 

Clemson guards Joseph Girard III and Chase Hunter combined for 25 of Clemson’s 52 second-half points. Forward PJ Hall finished with 21 points.  

Hunter is coming off a spectacular performance in the Sweet 16 against Arizona in which he scored 18 points and converted an and-one basket that helped seal the victory for the Tigers.  

“I think as us being competitors, there’s definitely a revenge factor,” guard Aaron Estrada said on Friday. “Nobody wants to lose to a team twice, especially who you think you can beat. So, I think that’s just going to add even more fuel to us, and it’s going to make us play harder.” 

If the Crimson Tide is going to even the score, it will need a solid defensive outing for all 40 minutes, both on the perimeter and in the paint. With the way Oats’ squad has looked on that end of the floor as of late, this team is as capable as it has been all season. 

One area of uncertainty for the Crimson Tide heading into tonight’s matchup is the status of two key players: forward Nick Pringle and guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. 

“He [Pringle] had a heel bruise he’s been fighting through the year,” Oats said. “It got flared up, so he’s been getting treatment all day. Hopefully, we can get him back.”  

Oats said that Wrightsell is day-to-day with a head injury sustained in Alabama’s second-round matchup with Grand Canyon. He missed significant time toward the end of the regular season with a different head injury. 

While it’s not concrete who will and who won’t suit up for the Crimson Tide tonight, one thing is certain: History will be made tonight for one of these two programs, and Oats believes that his team is ready to take the next step into the record books.  

“This would be the biggest win in the history of Alabama basketball if we can pull it off,” Oats said. “I think our players understand the enormity of the game, and I think their preparation and their effort will match their understanding of how important this game is.”  

Alabama and Clemson will battle for a spot as one of the last four teams in the Big Dance tonight at 7:49 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on TBS.  

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