How Alabama basketball is preparing for both Rutgers and Notre Dame in NCAA Tournament

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama basketball sits in March Madness limbo as it waits to find out who it will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But it's not waiting entirely. 

The Crimson Tide is working overtime to prepare for both opponents. No. 6-seed Alabama (19-13) will face the winner of 11-seed Notre Dame/Rutgers in the first round. 

The two teams will take part in the play-in game at 8:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday. The winner will face Alabama at 3:15 p.m. CT on Friday in San Diego. 

Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats said the staff will probably watch the game Wednesday together, but they could split into offensive and defensive coaches. 

"Players, most of the time, we just let them watch it in their rooms," Oats said. "We’ll gather them together later that night and review the film on that team." 

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The Crimson Tide has already watched film on both teams, though. Monday was spent showing Rutgers film. Tuesday consisted of watching Notre Dame film. 

Alabama had a segment in practice on Rutgers. It also had a segment in practice on Notre Dame. The staff began preparing for both Sunday night once Alabama learned its NCAA Tournament fate. 

"Both teams are good teams, so whoever we play will be a good matchup," senior guard Keon Ellis said. "We've just got to focus in on them and try to get the win." 

It's not the first time that Oats has been in this scenario before. In his last year at Buffalo, he also was the sixth seed and had to wait to learn who his squad would face in the first round. 

The Bulls defeated Arizona State, 91-74. 

No matter which it is, Alabama will have to break out of its three-game losing streak if it wants its season to continue. 

"If you lose now, it’s done," Oats said. "There’s no other game. If you can’t get locked in at this point, I don’t know what it would take to get them locked in." 

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