March Madness Picks 3/18 – Maryland @ Alabama
The 8 seed Maryland Terrapins (22-12, 11-9 Big Ten) face the 1 seed Alabama Crimson Tide (30-5, 16-2 SEC) in the second round of the NCAA tournament tonight on TBS. Alabama is an 8.5 point favorite and the total is 142.5.
Maryland held off West Virginia, 67-65, in the first round of the NCAA tournament, while Alabama hammered Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 96-75. Maryland and Alabama actually met in the second round of the NCAA tournament two years ago, Alabama won 96-77. Three starters in tonight’s game, Donta Scott and Hakim Hart of Maryland, and Jahvon Quinerly of Alabama played in the 2021 game.
WHO TO WATCH FOR TONIGHT + GAME STORYLINES
After missing the NCAA tournament in 2022, Maryland redeemed under first year head coach Kevin Willard by finishing 7th in the ultra-competitive Big 10. Maryland is led by a trio of seniors in transfer Jahmir Young (15.9 pts, 4.7 rebs, 1.3 stls), Philadelphia natives Hakim Hart (11.6 pts, 4.2 rebs and Donta Scott (11.5 ppg, 6 rebs) and promising sophomore forward Julian Reese (11.4 pts, 7.3 rebs and 1.2 blks). The last time Maryland advanced past the second round of the NCAA tournament was 2016.
Alabama earned a one seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history after going 30-5 and winning both the SEC regular season and tournament titles. Alabama is led by superstar freshman and SEC Player of the Year Brandon Miller who is averaging 19.1 points, 8.2 rebounds per game and is projected to be a top three pick in the 2023 NBA draft.
Miller suffered a groin injury in the SEC tournament this may hamper him in the NCAA tournament, he played just 19 minutes and went scoreless in the first round win against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Fellow freshman big man Noah Clowney (10.1 pts, 7.9rebs, 1blk) is also a highly regarded NBA prospect who could be selected in the first round. The excellent play of Alabama’s starting backcourt of junior Mark Sears (12.6 pts, 3.3 rebs) and senior Jahvon Quinerly (8.3 pts, 3.7 asts) has also been a key to this season’s tremendous success.
About a month ago, Alabama’s season hit a road bump when Brandon Miller’s name was linked to a January murder that involved a former member of the basketball team. Alabama struggled for a few games after the news broke but they rebounded well in the SEC tournament, winning all three games by double digits and then dominating Texas A&M CC on Thursday.
Even with a hobbled Brandon Miller, Alabama has too much size and athleticism for Maryland, lay the 8.5 with Alabama
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