Tide fan, golfer Justin Thomas 'not happy' Alabama basketball faces Iona in March Madness

Erik Hall
The Tuscaloosa News

Justin Thomas spent his Sunday winning the PGA Tour's Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. He won by shooting 14-under-par 274. 

But Thomas also knew it was Selection Sunday for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Thomas played men's golf at Alabama from 2011-13. 

So when Thomas appeared on ESPN's SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt on Sunday night, Thomas provided an immediate reaction when Van Pelt brought up the NCAA Tournament.  

Mar 14, 2021; Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA; Justin Thomas plays his shot from the 18th tee during the final round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

"Yeah, I was not happy to hear that we got coach Pitino in the first round," Thomas said. "I think the world of him as a coach." 

Alabama faces the Iona men's basketball team, which is coached by Rick Pitino. Prior to coaching at Iona, the 68-year-old Pitino won a national title as Kentucky men's basketball head coach in 1995-96, and he took Louisville, Kentucky and Providence to the Final Four.

The Alabama vs. Iona men's basketball first-round game is scheduled to start at  3 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 20. The game will be played at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. 

Van Pelt, an alum of Maryland, suggested he and Thomas make a wager with the possibility of Maryland and Alabama meeting in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Jan 28, 2018; College Park, MD, USA; ESPN commentator Scott Van Pelt and former NBA and Maryland guard Grievous Vasquez talk in the stands during the game between Michigan State and Maryland at XFINITY Center.

"I would gladly love to have the text exchange between us two, and we'll discuss the wager," Thomas said. "But at least I know I got 2.7 as house money for the time being." 

Thomas earned $2.7 million on Sunday for winning The Players Championship. 

"Nice to have 2.7 in house money," Van Pelt said. 

Here's more Alabama basketball news: 

Nate Oats is the Alabama men's basketball head coach. 

Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik.