Four NCAA Tournament first round games will be played on Thursday at Legacy Arena. Alabama and Auburn are the featured teams in Birmingham.
Games begin at 11:15 a.m. with Maryland playing Virginia. Alabama will play Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 1:45 p.m. with Auburn playing Iowa at 5:50 p.m. The nightcap between Houston and Nothern Kentucky will tip off at 8:20 p.m.
Here’s a look at the participating teams:
No. 1 Alabama
Coach: Nate Oats (Fourth year at Alabama, 90-41; Overall, 186-84)
2022-23 record: 29-5 overall; 16-2 SEC
Top players: Brandon Miller, 6-9, 200, freshman, 19.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg; Noah Clowney, 6-10, 210, freshman, 10.1 ppg, 8 rpg; Mark Sears, 6-1, 185, junior, 12.5 ppg, 2.6 apg.
Notes: Tide enters the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed … Lost to Notre Dame in the first round last season … Only two projected Crimson Tide starters in Thursday’s game – sophomore Charles Bediako and senior Jahvon Quinerly – played in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Quinerly suffered a knee injury three minutes into the loss to Notre Dame … Alabama is seventh in the nation in scoring offense at 82.2 points per game.
No. 8 Maryland
Coach: Kevin Willard (First year at Maryland, 21-12)
2022-23 record: 21-12 overall, 11-9 Big Ten
Top players: Jahmir Young, 6-1, 185, senior, 16.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.2 apg; Julian Reese, 6-9, 230, sophomore, 1.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg; Donta Scott, 6-8, 230, senior, 11.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg.
Notes: Terps lost to Alabama in the 2021 NCAA Tournament Round of 32 …. Jahmir Young is a transfer from Charlotte. Despite being in the Conference USA with UAB, Young never played a game in Birmingham while with the 49ers …. Maryland was picked to finish 10th in the Big Ten in the preseason media poll. The Terps finished tied for fifth.
No. 9 West Virginia
Coach: Bob Huggins (16th year at West Virginia, 345-202)
2022-23 record: 19-14 overall, 7-11 Big 12
Top players: Tre Mitchell, 6-9, 225, senior, 11.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg; Erik Stevenson, 6-4, 205, senior, 15.5 ppg, 2.5 apg; Kedrian Johnson, 6-3, 185, senior, 11.2 ppg, 3.2 apg
Notes: West Virginia beat visiting Auburn, 80-77, in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Jan. 28 … If West Virginia wins one game in Birmingham then Huggins will have just his second 20-win season in the past five seasons. West Virginia won at least 25 games every year from 2014-2018 … The last time West Virginia got past the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament was 2018.
No. 16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Coach: Steve Lutz (2nd year at Texas A&M-CC, 47-22)
2022-23 record: 23-10 overall, 14-4 Southland Conference
Top players: Isaac Mushila, 6-5, 208, senior, 14.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg; Trevian Tennyson, 6-4, 180, senior, 15.7 ppg; Jalen Jackson, 5-11, 180, junior, 7.5 ppg, 2.9 apg
Notes: Islanders advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of Lutz’s two seasons at the school. Islanders beat Southeast Missouri State, 75-71, on Tuesday in the NCAA Tournament First Four in Dayton …. Terrion Murdix, 6-1, 170 pound senior, missed the win over Southeast Missouri State after injuring his knee in the Southland Conference championship game. Murdix averages 13.4 points and 5.4 assists per game …. Texas A&M-CC lost to Texas Southern in the 2022 First Four.
No. 1 Houston
Coach: Kelvin Sampson (Ninth season at Houston, 230-73)
2022-23 record: 31-1 overall; 17-1 AAC
Top players: Jarace Walker, 6-8, 240, freshman, 11.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg; Jamal Shead, 6-1, 195, junior, 10.3 ppg, 5.4 apg; Marcus Sasser, 6-2, 195, senior, 17.1 ppg, 3.2 apg
Notes: All-American guard Marcus Sasser missed the AAC Tournament championship game loss to Memphis because of a groin injury. He played just nine minutes of the semifinal win over Cincinnati before suffering the injury … Houston advanced to the Elite Eight last year before losing to Villanova …. Houston Director of Ops and Basketball Strategy Bobby Champagne was the head coach at UNA from 2003-18 and the head coach at Tharptown High in Russellville in 2021. He is a former player at South Alabama and Coast Alabama College.
No. 8 Iowa
Coach: Fran McCaffery (13th season at Iowa, 258-173)
2022-23 record: 19-13 overall, 11-9 Big Ten
Top players: Kris Murray, 6-8, 220, junior, 20.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg; Filip Rebraca, 6-9, 230, senior, 14.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg; Tony Perkins, 6-4, 205, junior, 12.5 ppg, 2.8 apg, 4.1 rpg.
Notes: Iowa was fifth seed in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeyes lost to No. 12 seed Richmond in a Round of 64 game … Murray leads Iowa with 63 3-pointers. The Hawkeyes average eight made 3-pointers per game.
No. 9 Auburn
Coach: Bruce Pearl (Ninth season at Auburn, 186-110)
2022-23 record: 20-12 overall, 10-8 SEC)
Top players: Johni Broome, 6-10, 235, sophomore, 14.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg; Jaylin Williams, 6-8, 230, senior, 11.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg; Wendell Green Jr., 5-11, 175, junior, 13.8 ppg, 4.2 apg
Notes: Auburn is 273rd in the country in 3-pointers made per game (6.5) and 311th in 3-point percentage (31.4).
No. 16 Northern Kentucky
Coach: Darrin Horn (Fourth year at Northern Kentucky, 79-44)
2022-23 record: 22-12 overall, 14-6 Horizon)
Top players: Xavier Rhodes, 6-1, 170, senior, 7.7 ppg, 3.7 apg, 2.0 spg; Sam Vinson, 6-5, 205, sophomore, 11.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.4 spg; Marques Warrick, 6-2, 185, junior, 19.1 ppg, 2.7 apg.
Notes: Northern Kentucky played in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, losing to Texas Tech in the Round of 64 …. Horn is a former head coach at Western Kentucky and South Carolina. He led Western Kentucky to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 2007-08 … Northern Kentucky beat regular season champion Youngstown State in the Horizon League Tournament semifinals and knocked off Cleveland State, 63-61, in the championship game.
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