The Crimson Tide picked up an 86-83 win over Virginia Tech on Thursday to set a matchup Saturday with Villanova, the top seed in the East Regional. Alabama advances to play top-seeded Villanova Saturday.
Alabama found its scoring success with a much-more balanced scoring assault that involved seven different players with at least 6 points.
First, I'll approach this question from the Virginia Tech perspective. The freshman has been streaky at times this season - he went just 3 of 19 on 3s during a four-game stretch prior to a slump-busting 18 points in an SEC tournament loss to Kentucky.
Turning point: Justin Robinson appeared to cut the Alabama lead to two points with 48 seconds remaining, but he was called for an offensive foul as Herbert Jones drew a charge for Alabama. As a product of his dynamic playmaking ability, freshman standout guard Collin Sexton is third in the conference in both of those categories, accounting for 30 percent of the team's attempts and 35 percent of their made FTs.
Southern finally ran out of answers in the fourth quarter of their first-round Women's NIT game, and Alabama ran away for a 69-56 victory at Coleman Coliseum.
The Crimson Tide are going to have to win this game on the boards. They penetrated in too deep, got too many layups. Alabama shot 61 percent (14 of 23) from the floor in the second half, including a 17-footer from Sexton that hit the back of the rim and dropped in to put the Crimson Tide up 70-64 with 5:11 to play. If Sexton starts slow and the Hokies' defense frustrates him, Virginia Tech will position themselves to jump to an early lead.
Evans shot 10-of-10 from the free throw line, grabbed six boards and passed out five assists in the victory.
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Rebounding is an issue for the Hokies as we've mentioned in our By The Numbers preview of tonight's game.
Buzz Williams has done a solid job with this program and he's close to getting the Hokies back to perennial contention.
Virginia Tech ranks 46th in steals allowed per game (5.3) while Alabama ranks 163rd (6.6).
Robinson led the way with 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting but fouled out in the closing minutes, while senior guard Justin Bibbs added 17 points and freshman Nickeil Alexander-Walker added 15 points on three 3-pointers apiece.
Last season, ninth-seeded Virginia Tech lost to eighth-seeded Wisconsin 84-74. He was just 1-for-4 in the first half for three points, but roared back in the second half to finish with a game-high 25 points.
One of the biggest things to watch will be the status of Alabama big man Donta Hall who suffered a concussion against Auburn in the SEC Tournament.
The one seed Virginia Cavaliers will face the University of Maryland Baltimore County on Friday at 9:20 p.m.
Both teams shot at a blistering clip in the first half.