How to watch: Alabama vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the NCAA Tournament #watch #Alabama #Texas #AMCorpus #Christi #NCAA #Tournament #englishheadline


The nation’s No. 1 team is ready to dance. For the first time in program history, Alabama basketball will open the NCAA Tournament as the top overall seed. The Crimson Tide is the No. 1 seed in the South bracket and will open play against No. 16 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday inside Birmingham’s Legacy arena.

Alabama (29-5) is making its third straight trip to the Big Dance after sweeping the SEC regular-season and tournament titles. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (24-10) is making its second straight trip to the tournament. The Islanders punched their ticket by winning the Southland Tournament before beating Southeastern Missouri 75-71 in Tuesday’s First Four matchup.

Here’s everything you need to know about Thursday’s game.

How to watch

Who: No. 1 seed Alabama (29-5) vs. No. 16 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (24-10)

When: 1:45 p.m. CT, Thursday, March 16

Where: Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Alabama

Watch: CBS (play-by-play: Jim Nantz; analyst: Bill Raftery; analyst Grant Hill; sideline: Tracy Wolfson)

Listen: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink; engineer Tom Stipe)

Alabama’s projected starters

Jahvon Quinerly: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, senior

Stats: 8.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.8 apg, 39.0% FG, 34.5% 3-pt

Mark Sears: 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, junior

Stats: 12.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 40.4% FG, 34.9% 3-pt

Brandon Miller: 6-foot-9, 200 pounds, freshman

Stats: 19.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 45.1% FG, 40.1% 3-pt

Noah Clowney: 6-foot-10, 210 pounds, freshman

Stats: 10.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 0.9 apg, 49.6% FG, 28.2% 3-pt

Charles Bediako: 7-foot, 225 pounds, sophomore

Stats: 6.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.7 apg, 65.5% FG

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi projected starting lineup

Jalen Jackson: 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, senior

Stats: 7.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.9 apg, 43.2% FG, 32.3% 3-pt

Simeon Fryer: 6-foot-5, 185 pounds, senior

Stats: 4.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.1 apg, 48.4% FG, 18.2% 3-pt

Trevian Tennyson: 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, senior

Stats: 15.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 apg, 44.0% FG, 40.8% 3-pt

Isaac Mushila: 6-foot-5, 208 pounds, senior

Stats: 14.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.2 apg, 54.8% FG, 38.9%

De’Lazarus Keys: 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, senior

Stats: 6.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 47.0% FG, 33.3%

Burnett and Welch ‘100% healthy’

There’s nothing to worry about when it comes to the Crimson Tide’s unused pair of veterans from Sunday’s SEC Tournament final. Despite not seeing the floor during Alabama’s blowout win over Texas A&M in Nashville, neither Nimari Burnett nor Dom Welch is dealing with any type of injury.

“They are both 100% healthy,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said Wednesday. “Thought Nimari’s had two great practices, would anticipate seeing him early tomorrow based on those last two practices. And how focused he’s been in video sessions and everything. I think Dom is playing really hard, and we’ll play him as needed. But there’s nothing wrong with either one of them. Kind of one of those deals.”

Oats pointed out that forward Noah Gurley didn’t play in two of Alabama’s final four regular season games before averaging 21 minutes during the SEC Tournament over the weekend. Gurley went on to average 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds off the bench during his three games in Nashville.

While Burnett and Welch head into Thursday’s game in full health, both guards have dealt with injuries throughout the year. Burnett missed eight games after suffering a wrist injury in December. Welch missed Alabama’s first 12 games with a calf injury. He also was forced to leave the Crimson Tide’s SEC Tournament opener against Mississippi State with a bruised tailbone. However, he was able to return for hte following game against Missouri.

Burnett has started nine games over 24 appearances and is averaging 5.7 points and 2.0 rebounds this season. Welch has come off the bench in all 19 of his games for the Crimson Tide and averaging 1.9 points and 1.6 rebounds.

Avoiding rat poison

Jahvon Quinerly is taking a page out of Nick Saban’s playbook. While the senior point guard admits the Crimson Tide enjoys entering the tournament as the top overall seed, he said the team is turning to its head football coach when it comes to keeping their heads from getting too big.

“You know, Nick Saban always uses the rat poison line,” Quinerly said. “I think we were happy with it, but we’re still focused on the task at hand. I think this team’s matured a lot throughout the year, especially being a young team. We just trying to keep our heads on straight.”

Saban’s rat poison metaphor dates back to 2017 when he said it was hard to keep his players from buying into the media’s hype following a 27-19 victory over Texas A&M. While this year’s Alabama basketball team has faced plenty of praise for its play on the court, Oats was quick to remind his players that their historic run this season could come to a sudden end this month if they aren’t careful.

Five years ago, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County became the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed when it knocked off Virginia 74-54 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Alabama is currently favored to be Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by more than 20 points, but that won’t stop the Crimson Tide from taking the Islanders seriously.

“Don’t think that you are a one seed you are guaranteed to come out of the first round,” Oats reminded his players Wednesday. “It’s not guaranteed. It’s happened already.”

Game notes

— This is Alabama’s third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, marking the first time the Crimson Tide has accomplished that feat since it did so from 1989-92.

— Eighteen of Alabama’s 34 games this season have come against teams that reached the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson Tide is 14-4 in those matchups.

— Nate Oats is 4-5 as a head coach in the NCAA Tournament, including a 2-2 mark with Alabama.

— Oats has guided his teams to NCAA Tournament appearances in six of the seven years the event was held. That includes each of his years as Alabama’s head coach. The tournament was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

— Brandon Miller became the first freshman in SEC history to win SEC Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Tournament MVP in the same season.

— Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is making its third NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and the second in a row. The Islanders secured the program’s first-ever tournament win with the victory over Southeastern Missouri State on Tuesday.

— The Islanders enter Thursday’s game having won 13 of the last 14 games and became the first school to win the SLC Tournament in back-to-back years since UL-Monroe in 1992-94.

— Head coach Steve Lutz has a 46-22 (.676) overall record in two seasons with the Islanders. He was named both the 2023 SLC Coach of the Year and NABC District 22 Coach of the Year. Lutz was also tabbed as a finalist for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year award, presented to those who not only achieve success on the court but who display moral integrity off of it as well.

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