Maryland’s Coach Pulling For Auburn Fans to Stick Around and Cheer Against Tide
The No. 1 seed Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the No. 8 seed Maryland Terrapins at 8:40 p.m. CT on Saturday in Birmingham Al.
The Tide should see a significant home-court advantage due to playing in its own backyard, however, it won't be as large as it could be, thanks to the Auburn Tigers being placed in Birmingham and winning its first round game.
The No. 9 seeded Tigers are taking on the No. 1 seeded Houston Cougars at 6:10 p.m. CT just before the Tide tips off.
Maryland's coach Kevin Willard met with the media and spoke to the dynamic that both rivals will share a gym for the second round games.
"I would love for the Auburn game to be second," said Willard. "I'm hoping Auburn wins because then their fans will stick around. I'm afraid, if Auburn loses, then at 9:40 (EST) at night, knowing Auburn fans, they're probably going to the bar."
The Alabama enters the game ranked No. 3 in KenPom's ranking system and Maryland is No. 13, creating a challenging matchup for the Crimson Tide to escape Birmingham and advance to the Sweet 16 in Louisville.
Willard knows his team faces a challenge as the Tide is the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and will have a home-court advantage. Alabama is a 9-point favorite and the analytics favor the Tide by six.
"I think we've played in enough venues. I don't think the crowd's the factor. If you look at Alabama's roster, I'm more worried about that than I am the crowd," said Willard.
The Tide and Terrapins will square off at 8:40 p.m. CT on TBS for the right to play in the Sweet 16.
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