By: Adam Baranovsky
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide fell to No. 5 San Diego State Aztecs in the Sweet 16 on Friday after a much anticipated matchup of physicality and strength for both teams.
It was a physical game from start to finish between Alabama and San Diego State, with both teams combining for 12 fouls in the first ten minutes of game action.
The offense for both teams was virtually non-existent in the first half, with both teams shooting below 40% from the field. Alabama’s Brandon Miller struggled offensively throughout the whole night after getting a quick two personal fouls. His first basket came at the seven-minute mark of the first half, and shot an overall 3/19 from the field in what was likely his last game for the Crimson Tide. On top of Miller’s struggles, Alabama also shot an abysmal 3/27 from three-point range the entire game.
Alabama gained a bit of momentum in the second half, taking a game-high nine point lead, but it was all San Diego State from there. The Aztecs dominated on both sides of the ball, even going on a 12-0 run at around the six-minute mark which essentially sealed them the win.
It was a historic season for head coach Nate Oats and the Alabama basketball team, finishing with their most wins in school history.
“There’s a lot of really good programs in the country that have lost — that’s what makes the NCAA tournament the NCAA tournament. We were going to lose to a team seeded lower to us unless we won the national championship this year,” head coach Nate Oats said.
“The system worked for the entire year. … A lot of programs would love to be in the NCAA tournament three straight years. A lot of them would love to have [won the SEC 2/3 years]. We’re doing pretty good things in Alabama,” Oats continued.
Today’s loss makes Alabama 1-9 all time in sweet sixteen games.