March Madness is upon us! The Alabama Crimson Tide await the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2022 NCAA Tournament first round matchup on Friday.
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
The wait is over for the Alabama Crimson Tide, who finally know who they will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The 6th seeded Crimson Tide are set to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Friday in San Diego, CA at the Viejas Arena. Notre Dame is coming off a thrilling 89-87 double overtime win against Rutgers in the NCAA Tournament- First Four. Now a well-rested Alabama looks to capitalize on their advantage against a Notre Dame team who went 23-10 during the regular season.
Alabama during the regular season was a model of inconsistency. The Tide went 9-9 in SEC Conference play with a 19-13 overall record. Let’s hope the Crimson Tide faithful travel well out west. The homecourt atmosphere will surely help Alabama who were a dominant 13-3 at home this season. The road game woes have plagued Alabama all season with a 3-7 record away from Tuscaloosa. The struggles continued with a second round SEC Tournament exit against 11th seeded Vanderbilt in Tampa, Florida.
HOW TO WIN: A win for Alabama could start with an offensive showcase from top scorer guard Jaden Shackelford, who averaged 16.7 points per game. Alabama ranks in the top fifteen in points scored per game. The game could be a high scoring affair with Alabama ranked 15th in offensive efficiency. The Crimson Tide will also have to limit the turnovers.
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
The Fighting Irish will make its first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years. Notre Dame finished the regular season with a 23-10 record going 15-5 in ACC Conference play. The SEC Tournament saw an early exit for the second seeded Irish. The Irish lost to the eventual ACC Tournament champion Virginia Tech in their first conference tournament game.
In an instant classic, Notre Dame outlasted Rutgers in double overtime in the First Four NCAA tournament game with twelve ties and 17 lead changes.
HOW TO WIN: Notre Dame could win by taking care of the ball and limiting turnovers. The Fighting Irish are 32nd in fewest turnovers heading into the NCAA Tournament. A victory for Notre Dame could come on a back to back great performance from Forward Paul Atkinson, Jr. The senior forward led all scores against Rutgers with 26 points shooting 86.7% from the field. Atkinson also has the highest field goal percentage on the team in the regular season at 59.3%.
Friday will be the first ever postseason matchup between Alabama and Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament.