NCAA Tournament Alabama vs. Virginia Tech

NCAA Tournament Alabama vs. Virginia Tech

Their first task? Taking down a Virginia Tech squad that has pulled off a few impressive upsets this season, including beating No. 1 Virginia on the road.

We projected Villanova (31-4) to beat First Four victor and No. 16 Radford 85-62 in the first round, and the final was 87-61 in the Wildcats' sixth straight victory - 87 points is what the nation's top-ranked offence averaged during the season. The Wildcats aren't deep. Alabama had seven. But the Jaguars weren't just shorter; they were short-handed. Moreover, the Hokies could be a major threat to Villanova in round two. Villanova lost in the first round in 2013 & '11 (missed tourney in 2012) and lost in the second round in 2010 to Saint Mary's as a No. 2 seed.

As a team, Alabama is top five in the SEC in both attempts (778, fourth) and made FTs (523, fifth).

NC State's Al Freeman hit six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 36 points. For the first 35 minutes, neither team led by more than five points. That's an absurd statistic. Virginia Tech will have to get hot, especially from distance, if it wants to have a chance.

That's easy to do when you're as fast as Sexton, but Petty felt like a stabilizing force when Bama needed one most.

Sexton finishes well at the basket and has a nice floater to beat taller defenders. "They shot the ball tremendous in the first half". Alabama made one of two free throws.

In watching Villanova against Radford, it was apparent that the Wildcats don't overwhelm teams with length or athleticism. Their last win over a No. 1 seed also was in '04 when they topped Stanford 70-67.

Malcolm Butler continues to be impossibly gracious about his Super Bowl benching
They go back to the Patriots and sign a pair of champions and continue their attempt to become the new New England Patriots . With three solid cornerbacks, there are little ways the Texans can move Fuller and Hopkins around to try to get a mismatch.

Alabama ranks 10th in blocks per game (5.5) while Virginia Tech ranks 221st (2.3).

Wilson's numbers won't generally win him any honors - he's scored 31 points in his nine starts - but some jump off the stat sheet. Alabama shot an impressive 59.3 percent from the field (16-of-27), but Virginia Tech's 7-of-9 performance from beyond the arc and 68 percent shooting from the floor (17-of-25) gave the Hokies the 43-41 lead at halftime. Alabama can't do that against Villanova.

That victory over the Aggies sent Alabama from the wrong side of the bubble into the NCAA Tournament, while their victory the next day over Auburn improved their seeding to a No. 9. Reserve John Petty scored 20 points for the Crimson Tide. Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams received a technical foul after erupting in frustration.

Petty wasn't the only bench player to step up for Alabama.

Sexton and Petty did the bulk of the scoring, but other guys filled in the rest of the puzzle.

Alabama also got a boost with the return of forward Donta Hall, who sat out the SEC tournament loss in concussion protocol. The Tide is now 19-19 all-time in tournament games.

Avery Johnson Jr., Galin Smith and Herbert Jones produced in key moments. "As the point guard, you've got to be like, we need to take this possession and go slow". He had a game-high five turnovers to go with his 25 points, and he sometimes looked like he was outrunning his own teammates.

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