Alabama basketball vs. San Diego State in March Madness: Scouting report, prediction

·3 min read

Alabama basketball is one win away from the best finish in four seasons under coach Nate Oats. To achieve that, the Crimson Tide must score a victory over San Diego State.

The Aztecs are the No. 5 seed in the South Region and have beaten No. 12 seed Charleston and No. 13 seed Furman en route to their matchup against No. 1 seed Alabama on Friday (5:30 p.m., TBS) in Louisville.

San Diego State's best wins this season have come against Utah State, ranked No. 27 in KenPom. The Aztecs beat the Aggies, a No. 10 seed that lost in the first round of the tournament, three times this season.

San Diego State figures to provide stout defense against the Crimson Tide. The Aztecs rank No. 5 in adjusted defensive efficiency in the country and boast the No. 4 3-point defense, too. That could force Alabama to shoot fewer triples and drive to the basket more.

Ahead of the Sweet 16 matchup, here's a look at how Alabama (31-5) and San Diego State (29-6) stack up.

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Projected starting lineup for San Diego State

Guard Darrion Trammell (senior): 5-foot-10, 175 pounds. Averages: 9.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.1 blocks, 1.6 turnovers.

Guard Lamont Butler (junior): 6-2, 195. Averages: 8.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.1 blocks, 2 turnovers.

Guard Matt Bradley (senior): 6-4, 220. Averages: 13 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks, 1.4 turnovers.

Forward Keshad Johnson (senior): 6-7, 225. Averages: 7.7 points, 5 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 0.9 turnovers.

Forward Nathan Mensah (senior): 6-10, 230. Averages: 6.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.6 blocks, 1 turnover.

San Diego State also has a veteran-heavy lineup like Maryland did in the Round of 32.

San Diego State's rotation

The Aztecs have nine players who have seen time in 30 or more games and averaged 15 or more minutes per game in total. Outside of the five listed above, Micah Parrish (21.7 minutes), Jaedon LeDee (18.2 minutes), Adam Seiko (20.2 minutes) and Aguek Arop (15.9 minutes) round out that group.

How San Diego State stacks up with Alabama in scoring, defense and tempo

KenPom tracks adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, which are points scored and allowed per 100 possessions. The Aztecs' defense is among the best in the country while the offense is solid.

Alabama will look to play significantly faster than San Diego State, as is the case in most matchups. KenPom measures the adjusted tempo statistic based on the number of possessions per 40 minutes.

Adjusted offensive efficiency:

San Diego State: 111 (70th nationally)

Alabama: 116.2 (18th)

Adjusted defensive efficiency:

San Diego State: 90.8 (5th nationally)

Alabama: 88.1 (3rd)

Tempo

San Diego State: 65.9 (263rd nationally)

Alabama: 72.6 (5th)

Score prediction

Alabama 70, San Diego State: 64: The Crimson Tide and Aztecs figure to be in a defensive battle as two of the best in the country. Alabama has more scoring, though, and should come out on top.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama basketball vs. San Diego State: Scouting report, prediction