Points Will Be At a Premium in Matchup Against SDSU

Alabama Center Charles Bediako (14) earns blue collar points against Maryland at Legacy Arena - Birmingham in Tuscaloosa, AL on Saturday, Mar 18, 2023.

For just the 10th time in program history, the Alabama Crimson Tide are Sweet Sixteen bound and just two wins away from the Final Four in Houston. The next opponent to stand in their way, where a win would mean just a second Elite 8 appearance in school history, is the 5th seeded San Diego State Aztecs.

On Selection Sunday less than two weeks ago, I was of the opinion that Alabama got a very favorable draw in the South region, much more so than the rest of the #1 seeds at least (two of them now being eliminated). The prospect of a Sweet Sixteen matchup against Virginia sounded outstanding for Alabama, but this was not to be, as they were upset by Furman in the first round, who the Aztecs handled easily in a 23-point beat down.

San Diego State and Alabama presents a fascinating matchup, with both teams ranked in the top five in the nation in KenPom adjusted defense (Alabama 3rd and SDSU 5th). The Aztecs have not allowed over 60 points in either of their first two games of the tournament, and the Crimson Tide are fresh off a suffocating defensive effort against Maryland in which they held the Terrapins to 51 points and won in dominating fashion on a night where the offense never fully clicked.

Alabama still has yet to play their best game, but the most impressive part about this team is the fact that they’re able to lean on their defense to dominate opponents even when the offense is not fully there. This is the system that Nate Oats has been preaching since his arrival in Tuscaloosa. San Diego State will be a very tough matchup defensively and is not going to be easy to score points on, so if the shots aren’t falling, look for the Tide to lean on the defensive side of things once again in this one.


Alabama: 65

San Diego State: 57