NCAA Tournament Round One: Alabama beats Virginia Tech 86-83

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The Wildcats rank 14th in assists per game (16.8) while the Crimson Tide rank 206th (12.7). If John Petty (20 points on 6-of-9 shooting) can have another huge game, they'll have a chance. We were right on the three-point final score, but the Tide prevailed 86-83.

"I feel like it started midseason when we all just started trusting in each other, yeah, that was big", Sexton said Friday.

"I try not to get caught up in any records or anything like that, but that is one I have been very proud of", Williams said. This is a new season for us. Although the game was tied at 21 at halftime, Williams told his staff he was heading back to his hotel room to begin preparations for the Tar Heels' second-round game Sunday game against Texas A&M. Obviously, we're glad, happy, that we're advancing. "He was one of the first few coaches who came and started recruiting me pretty hard and we just built that trust". We want to play. "These guys get so excited and it's really a lot of fun".

Yet, something changed. The Crimson Tide, under head coach Avery Johnson, seemed to come into the second half more focused and ready to play tougher defense on the Hokies. Kerry Blackshear also fouled out for the Hokies.

KANSAS 76, PENN 60 Devonte Graham ignited sluggish Kansas midway through the first half, pouring in 29 points and lifting his top-seeded team.

Sexton isn't wrong. The Tide rank 18th in the nation in Ken Pomeroy's adjusted efficiency defensive rankings, and in big wins this season, it has often been the defense that has shined-50 points allowed in a win against Florida, 50 points allowed in a win against Tennessee and 63 points allowed in a win against Auburn. A three-point win over Virginia Tech got them to this point, and another close finish could work to their advantage.

Today against the Crimson Tide could and should give the Wildcats more difficulty. Over the first 10 minutes of the second half the Wildcats were 8-of-10 from the field and sank all six of their attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.

He finished off a thunderous alley-oop then went on his 3-point spree. That team is a No. 1 seed because he is its leader. Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams, his voice already hoarse, erupted on the sideline and was hit with a technical foul. From there, Alabama would knock down 9-of-11 free throws to seal the win. Virginia Tech led 15-12 after less than five minutes on a 3-pointer by Alexander-Walker, one of seven 3-pointers the Hokies hit in the half.

Jalen Brunson scored 16 points, and the top-seeded Wildcats hit 14 three-pointers in an 87-61 romp over the No. 16 Highlanders in Pittsburgh.

Now, less than 36 hours after beating Virginia Tech on Thursday night, 9th-seeded Alabama (20-15) will look for a repeat performance from its two dynamic freshmen when it takes on No. 1 seed Villanova (31-4) this morning from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The Cougars surrendered 64.9 points per game throughout the year, but No. 11 San Diego State gave them a scare in a 67-65 first-round matchup.