With yesterday being the best day of the entire year, aka the first day of March Madness, it was also a huge day of basketball for the state of Alabama as a whole. With both Alabama and Auburn in Birmingham for their first round matchups, expectations were high for a great day of hoops.
For the #1 overall seeded Alabama Crimson Tide, they handled their business and took care of 16 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by a score of 96-75. The Auburn Tigers had a great day themselves, holding on to defeat the Iowa Hawkeyes 83-75 after leading by 17 in the second half in their 8/9 matchup. Both the Tide and Tigers advance to the Round of 32 on Saturday night, and each face an interesting matchup.
Alabama has a date with Kevin Willard’s 8th seeded Maryland Terrapins, fresh off a comeback win over West Virginia. Auburn, meanwhile, will face off against the #1 seed in the Midwest, and a team that was considered a favorite to win the whole thing going into the tournament in the Houston Cougars.
The Cougars however, looked vulnerable last night. Houston only defeated the 16 seeded Northern Kentucky Norse 63-52, and the Norse were in it until the end. This is even more concerning for Houston given the fact that NKU shot a horrendous 5/33 from 3 (15.2%), yet were able to hang with the Cougars anyway.
If Houston does not play a better game on Saturday, Auburn will have a great shot to advance to the Sweet 16. If Alabama can handle their business and play their game, they should advance to the Sweet 16 as well. No matter what happens, Legacy Arena will have another massive night of hoops on its hands on Saturday night.