Busting Brackets

Alabama basketball: 3 keys to beating UNC Tar Heels in Sweet 16 matchup

Grand Canyon v Alabama
Grand Canyon v Alabama / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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1) Get the offense going early

It will be important that Alabama jumps out to an early lead. On the season the Tide has the No. 1 scoring offense in the country with nearly 91 points per game. Led by Mark Sears (21.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.2 apg) this Alabama team has scored a truly insane amount of points this season. The Tide scored 100 or more points ten different times this season, winning all ten of those games, and has only lost once when scoring more than 90 points, a 117-95 loss to a really good Kentucky team.

Alabama also has one of the most efficient offenses in the country, making nearly 48 percent from the floor on almost 65 shots per game and 11 threes per game, hitting 36.7 percent from behind the arc.

Few teams have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Tide. But Alabama’s offense won’t be why it doesn’t win this game. The Tide has one of the worst defenses in the country. At 80.9 points per game, only seven teams in D1 give up more points per game.

UNC on the other hand has a solid defense. The Tar Heels only allow 70 points per game, Alabama has been held to under 75 points only five times this season. North Carolina will have its work cut out for it in this matchup.

I know the Tide’s offense is good enough to take down any team in the country, but its defense completely negates that and allows almost any team to test Alabama. If Alabama gets off to a shaky start, I don’t know if its defense can do enough to slow down a good UNC offense. North Carolina has one of the better offenses in the country, scoring nearly 82 points per game. If Alabama can put some distance between itself and North Carolina early in the game then I like the Tide's chances of advancing to the Elite Eight.