Avery Johnson is part of the TNT team calling the Alabama first-round game


The Alabama men’s basketball team learned Sunday that they will face the winner Notre Dame-Rutgers in next week’s 6-11 NCAA Tournament game. Hours later, the whistleblower time and televised designation for the first-round game in San Diego was revealed.

Alabama’s first-round game at Viejas Arena on Friday, March 18 kicks off at 3:15 p.m. CT and will air on TNT. The broadcast team will consist of Lisa Byington, Steve Smith, Lauren Shehadi and former Crimson Tide head coach Avery Johnson, who is now an analyst for CBS Sports. Johnson coached at UA from 2015 to 2019, leading the Tide to the tournament in 2018.

Johnson will also be on call for the Notre Dame-Rutgers game on Wednesday, March 16, which will take place in Dayton, Ohio. The First Four contest airs at 8:10 p.m. on truTV.

If Alabama defeats the Fighting Irish or the Scarlet Knights, they will face the winner of Texas Tech-Montana State in the second round, which is scheduled for Sunday, March 20. Game information for the 32nd round will be released after the first round.

This will be the 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance for Alabama’s men’s basketball program and the first consecutive Big Dance invitations for the Tide since 2005-06. This will be Nate Oats’ fifth NCAA Tournament finish as head coach. He has a 4-4 playoff record, including a 2-3 mark in his four seasons as head coach at Buffalo.

“We’re super excited to be playing in the NCAA Tournament,” Oats said Sunday night. “I mean, that’s what these kids dream of growing up. We had a good run last year and made the Sweet 16. We lost several in a row here, but this is a fresh start. I think the spirit of our guys is good. We practiced before the selection show, not really knowing who we were going to have or where we were. But we had already given them two days off, Friday and Saturday.

“…Rutgers has some quality wins. They beat Purdue, beat Iowa, which just won the Big Ten, Illinois, Wisconsin, which won the regular season in the Big Ten. They had some great wins. If you look at Notre Dame, they beat Kentucky, which is one of the best teams in our league, one of the best teams in the country. Both of these teams are more than capable of beating good teams. We showed that we were more than capable of beating good teams.

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Contact Charlie Potter by personal message or on Twitter (@Charlie_Potter).


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