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No. 1 Alabama readies for tournament “home” game | News, Sports, Jobs


Mar 16, 2023

BIRMINGHAM, Ala, (AP) — Alabama has the No. 1 general NCAA Tournament seed, a single of the finest players in college basketball and probably a couple of games in its personal backyard.

For a Crimson Tide group that is been an effortless target for opposing fans more than the previous two months, playing significantly less than an hour from campus is no compact matter. It indicates most of the taunts will be replaced by cheers at Legacy Arena, in particular for All-America freshman Brandon Miller. Hostile crowds have targeted Miller with taunts due to the fact his presence at the scene of a fatal shooting was produced public.

It will be an overwhelmingly crimson and white crowd at Thursday’s game against Texas A&ampM-Corpus Christi, (24-ten) which sophisticated with a 75-71 win more than Southeast Missouri State in a play-in game for its 1st NCAA Tournament win.

“This is not technically a property game, but I positive hope that Legacy is packed out like a property game,” Alabama coach Nate Oats mentioned. “And it is been good to play in front of our personal fans and some friendly fans in Coleman. I hope we get a related therapy right here at Legacy.”

On the court, Alabama (29-five) is amongst the favorites to win the national title, behind only Houston according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Off the court, the Tide are a great deal significantly less well-known these days outdoors of their personal giddy fan base. Case in point: The safety guard accompanying Miller at the arena on Wednesday following some of the angry messages Oats mentioned have been sent his way.

“If you guys saw some of what I’ve observed sent his way, I consider you would realize why that is the case,” Oats mentioned. “I do not want to get into all that. The whole scenario, as you know, is just a heartbreaking scenario on all accounts.”

Police tied each he and freshman point guard Jaden Bradley to the scene of a shooting that led to capital murder charges against then-Tide teammate Darius Miles and an additional man. Although neither have been accused of any crime or been held out of a game, police say Miles had left his gun in the back of Miller’s car that evening.

By way of it all, Alabama has won each the Southeastern Conference common-season and tournament titles with Miller top the way.

The Tide returned to the No. 1 ranking in The Linked Press poll for the second time this season. The 1st was followed swiftly by a loss at Tennessee.

“We have been No. 1 throughout the season,” Miller mentioned. “I really feel like just before we weren’t as ready, but I really feel like now we are extra ready for something that comes our way.”

The Islanders came in Thursday savoring the “shock the world” possibilities — if not the challenge of defending MIller.

“Everybody in the nation and most of the planet will know who the heck we are if we beat them,” Corpus Christi coach Steve Lutz mentioned. “This is what you dream about when you are a small kid. This is what you dream about when you are a coach. You have got to delight in every single moment.”

The Islanders have had to overcome the left knee injury to Terrion Murdix, the Southland Conference defensive player of the year. He was hurt in the league championship game.

In other South area games:

No. 9 West Virginia vs. N o. eight Maryland at Birmingham, Ala., 12:15 p.m. (CBS)

A couple of coaches’ little ones will be facing every single other when West Virginia meets Maryland.

Bob Huggins of the Mountaineers played higher college hoops for his father, Charles. The Terrapins are guided by Kevin Willard, whose father Ralph was a head coach at Holy Cross, Pittsburgh and Western Kentucky.

“My mother wanted me to be a medical professional,” Huggins quipped. “I discovered out how lots of classes you had to take to do that, and (decided) there’s got to be a superior way out than this.”

Willard joked that he was the item of “child abuse.”

“My 1st memory of life is assisting my dad re-varnish St. Dominic’s Higher College basketball fitness center,” he mentioned. “I was out there pouring the polyurethane although he was sweeping it.”

Huggins will be producing his 24th look at the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers (19-14) got in in spite of a 7-11 mark in the brutal Significant 12.

Maryland (21-11) returned to the NCAAs in Willard’s 1st season following the departure of Mark Turgeon.


No. two Arizona vs . No. 15 Princeton at Sacramento, California, four p.m. (TNT)

Princeton coach Mitch Henderson was a player on the Tigers group that famously upset defending champion UCLA in the tournament 27 years ago. Now he’s seeking to coach the group to a win more than a larger system — actually.

If the 15th-seeded Tigers are going to have any likelihood against No. two seed Arizona, they will have to have to uncover a way to neutralize 7-foot center Oumar Ballo and six-11 forward Azuolas Tubelis.

“Size, like as in Ballo and Tubelis, we haven’t observed something like that,” Henderson mentioned. “Those guys are massive and they’re rapidly. Once more, we can practice with guys that have broomsticks attached to their hands. This is going to be new for us in some techniques.”


No. 7 Missouri vs. No. ten Utah State, at Sacramento, California 1:40 p.m. (TNT)

Missouri guards Nick Honor and Tre Gomillion do not have to have everyone to warn them about the excellent of play in the mid-key conferences just before the Tigers take on Utah State of the Mountain West.

Honor started his college profession in the Atlantic ten at Fordham and Gomillion transferred to Missouri from Cleveland State of the Horizon League.

“We do not get caught up also a great deal in level when it comes to basketball,” Honor mentioned. “Even although we’re at the higher key level, we nonetheless have the mid-key chip on our shoulder since at the finish of the day we’re nonetheless underrated and slept on about the nation. We do not get caught up in that also a great deal. Utah State is a excellent group.”

The Aggies really feel the schedule they played in the Mountain West, which got 4 teams into the tournament, was a excellent test for what they will see on Thursday. Now they hope to get their 1st tournament win due to the fact 2001.


No. 13 Furman vs. No. four Virginia at Orlando, Fla., 12:40 p.m. (TRU).

Virginia is returning to the web-site of a single of its worst NCAA Tournament games in history. No, not the 1st-round stunner to 16th-seeded Maryland-Baltimore County in 2018. The Cavaliers scored just 39 points in a 26-point drubbing to Florida at the Amway Center in 2017.

It remains the lowest-scoring game in the program’s tournament history.

“Not a lot has changed in this tournament,” UVA coach Tony Bennett mentioned. “You’d superior be prepared.”

The fourth-seeded Cavaliers (25-7) anticipate a superior displaying against No. 13 seed Furman (27-7) on Thursday. The Paladins have won six in row and 12 of 13, culminating with winning the Southern Conference Tournament extra than a week ago.

Furman has a dynamic duo of super seniors – guard Mike Bothwell and forward Jalen Slawson – who could pose troubles for Bennett’s stout pack-line defense.


No. 12 Charleston vs. No. five San Diego State at Orlando, Fla., three:ten p.m. (TRU).

If College of Charleston’s players can match coach Pat Kelsey’s power and intensity, they should really be in excellent shape in their 1st-round matchup against fifth-seeded San Diego State (27-six) on Thursday.

The 47-year-old Kelsey is identified for hanging on rims at practice to get his guys’ interest. But he divulged a small secret Wednesday.

“People consider I go up with my vertical leap,” he mentioned. “I really pull myself up on the net and grab that terrible boy.”

Players nonetheless raved about Kelsey swinging from the rim like he’s in a dunk contest.

“Coach thinks he’s 7 feet,” guard Dalton Bolon mentioned. “He’ll be walking about with his chest out and stuff like that. … He’s got the most power I’ve ever observed on every single day.”

The 12th-seeded Cougars (31-three) have won ten in a row below Kelsey, culminating with the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title. Their final and only NCAA Tournament victory came in 1997.

Now they get a San Diego State group that landed in Orlando following midnight thanks to its charter flight finding delayed since of restricted air space with regards to President Joe Biden and Air Force A single.

The Aztecs have lost 4 straight NCAA Tournament games, which includes the final two years as the greater seed.


AP Sports Writers Paul Newberry, Josh Dubow and Mark Lengthy contributed to this report.


AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-best-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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