Alabama basketball vs Maryland in March Madness: Scouting report, prediction

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama basketball is back again in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and once again, Maryland is the opponent.

Two seasons ago, the Crimson Tide also faced the Terrapins in the Round of 32 as part of March Madness in Indianapolis. Alabama won, 96-77, to reach the Sweet 16.

The coach is different, though. Kevin Willard now runs Maryland, and he was at Seton Hall when the Terrapins lost to Alabama. But there are some returning players in seniors Donta Scott and Hakim Hart. On the Alabama side, Jahvon Quinerly is the only player still on the team from that game.

Scott and Hart each scored in double digits in the 67-65 win over No. 9 seed West Virginia on Thursday in the first round.

This season's Terrapins are a solid team, finishing fifth in the Big Ten in the regular season. But if Legacy Arena can be a road-like environment on Saturday (8:45 p.m. CT, TBS), that could prove troublesome for Maryland. The Terrapins won only one away game during conference play.

Ahead of the matchup between No. 1 seed Alabama (30-5) and No. 8 seed Maryland (22-12), here's a look at how the two squads stack up with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.

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Projected starting lineup for Maryland

Guard Jahmir Young (senior): 6-foot-1, 185 pounds. Averages: 15.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.4 blocks, 2.2 turnovers.

Guard Don Carey (senior): 6-5, 187. Averages: 7.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.1 blocks, 0.9 turnovers.

Guard Hakim Hart (senior): 6-8, 205. Averages: 11.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.2 blocks, 1.3 turnovers.

Forward Donta Scott (senior): 6-8, 230. Averages: 11.5 points, 6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.8 blocks, 1.3 turnovers.

Center Julian Reese (sophomore): 6-9, 230. Averages: 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.2 blocks, 1.9 turnovers.

Maryland boasts a senior-heavy lineup. Reese was second in the Big Ten with a field-goal percentage of 63.2%. By comparison, Alabama center Charles Bediako has made 65.1% of his shots.

Maryland's rotation

The Terrapins have eight players who have averaged 10.1 minutes or more per game this season. Outside of the starting five, Ian Martinez (17.8 minutes), Patrick Emilien (17.6) and Jahari Long (10.1 minutes) will see the most time. This is the rotation Maryland used in the win over West Virginia in the first round.

Alabama's depth, which can include 11 players, could prove to be a difference-maker in this matchup down the stretch.

How Maryland stacks up with Alabama in scoring, defense and tempo

KenPom tracks adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, which are points scored and allowed per 100 possessions. Maryland has an offense and defense in the top 32, and the offense has a small edge over the defense.

Neither is elite, but neither is bad either.

Alabama will look to play significantly faster than the Terrapins, but that's the case in most games. KenPom measures the adjusted tempo statistic based on the number of possessions per 40 minutes.

Adjusted offensive efficiency:

Maryland: 114.4 (29th nationally)

Alabama: 116.4 (19th)

Adjusted defensive efficiency:

Maryland: 95.5 (32nd nationally)

Alabama: 89 (3rd)


Maryland: 64.4 (322nd nationally)

Alabama: 72.7 (5th)

Score prediction

Alabama 75, Maryland 64: The Terrapins could give the Crimson Tide some troubles, but Alabama's depth will be the difference-maker late. The Crimson Tide again will beat Maryland to advance to the Sweet 16.