ESPN's Scott Van Pelt owes debt to Justin Thomas for Alabama basketball beating Maryland

Erik Hall
The Tuscaloosa News
Justin Thomas waits to hit from the first tee during the final round of the Tournament of Champions golf event, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, at Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii. (Matthew Thayer/The Maui News via AP)

ESPN broadcaster Scott Van Pelt went to Maryland.  

Professional golfer Justin Thomas went to Alabama.

So when Thomas appeared on "SportsCenter" with Van Pelt the night that the NCAA Tournament bracket was chosen, Van Pelt noted that Maryland and Alabama could play in the second round. The two joked about a wager on the potential game that involved Thomas' $2.7 million purse for winning The Players Championship. 

Alabama and Maryland ended up meeting Monday night in the round of 32. Alabama won comfortably 96-77. 

Van Pelt tweeted Monday night during the game, "I’m going to owe @JustinThomas34 2.7" 

They settled on something more reasonable — lunch at The Masters

Thomas replied to Van Pelt on Tuesday, ":) it’s ok. The win was enough for me. Buy me lunch at @TheMasters we’ll call it even."

The Masters is scheduled to take place April 8-11. 

Van Pelt discussed the wager on his podcast "SVPod" on Tuesday. 

"I appreciate him allowing me to wiggle off the hook there," Van Pelt said. "I sent him a text that said, 'Hey man, do you take checks?' And he said, 'I just hope we can keep it going.'" 

Van Pelt then compared Alabama's dominating win against Maryland to professional golf and the tough task of following up a great performance with another one. 

Feb 29, 2020; College Park, Maryland, USA;  Sports commentator Scott Van Pelt reacts during the first half fo the game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Michigan State Spartans at XFINITY Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

"You see somebody shoot 64 in a round on Thursday, one of the hardest things on the PGA Tour to do is shoot another great score the next day," Van Pelt said. "Same person, same course. Why don't you, why can't you go shoot a great score the next day. Nobody has a really great explanation for it.

"Now in basketball, clearly, playing Maryland and playing UCLA,  it's a different team," Van Pelt added. "But you're the same team, and so, why would you maybe not shoot it as well the next game. Well, because sports are odd. This tournament is a one-off. You get 40 minutes on the clock. What can you do with those 40 minutes?" 

Alabama is scheduled to face UCLA in the Sweet 16 on Sunday, March 28 at 6:15 p.m. CT

Here's more Alabama basketball news:

Thomas played men's golf at Alabama from 2011-13. Van Pelt came to ESPN in 2000 after six years at The Golf Channel.

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