Alabama, the No. 1 overall seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, faces quite the interesting challenge on Friday in the Sweet 16 as the Crimson Tide battle a fierce San Diego State defense with a spot in the Elite Eight on the line in South Region action. The No. 5 seed Aztecs allow just 63.1 points per game and prefer to play at a slow pace, which stands in contrast to an Alabama squad that averages 82.3 points per contest. The Crimson Tide also rank No. 3 in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom, which means there are simply few flaws to exploit within the SEC's regular season and tournament champions.
Freshman phenom Brandon Miller is Alabama's leading scorer, and a dynamic one at that, but the Crimson Tide have multiple skilled offensive players and rank ninth nationally in made 3-pointers per game at 10.1. Shutting everyone down will be a challenge for San Diego State as the program makes its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2014. Offensively, the Aztecs are led by physical senior guard Matt Bradley, who averages 13 points per game on 36.6% shooting. SDSU simply played a more physical style than Charleston and Furman in the first two rounds of the tournament, and imposing its will in similar fashion against the Crimson Tide will be a challenge.
Follow along with the CBS Sports Sweet 16 live blog on Friday as Alabama takes on San Diego State in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Watch Alabama vs. San Diego State in Sweet 16
Date: Friday, March 24 | Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: KFC Yum! Center -- Louisville, Kentucky
TV: TBS | Live stream: March Madness Live
Alabama vs. San Diego State: What to know
These two teams are strolling into this Sweet 16 showdown after big wins in their previous games. The Aztecs took their second-round matchup against the Furman by a conclusive 75-52 score. Four San Diego State players scored in double digits: guard Micah Parrish (16), guard Darrion Trammell (13), guard Lamont Butler (12) and guard Matt Bradley (10).
Meanwhile, last Saturday the Crimson Tide proved too difficult a challenge for Maryland as they blew past the Terps 73-51. Bama can attribute much of their success to guard Jahvon Quinerly, who had 22 points in the impressive victory.
Two defensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Aztecs enter the matchup with only 63.1 points allowed per game on average, good for 25th best in the nation. As for the Crimson Tide, they have been holding their opponents to a field goal percentage of 37.10%, which places them second in the country.