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Alabama, Auburn, UAB all playing tournament basketball in Birmingham this week


The Birmingham Times

The NCAA tournament selection committee on Sunday made Alabama a top seed for the first time in the program’s history and the No. 1 overall seed in the entire tournament.

Alabama and Auburn are both playing in the NCAA tournament while UAB has accepted an NIT invite.

Alabama will open Thursday in Birmingham by playing the winner of a No. 16 seed play-in game Tuesday between Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Southeast Missouri State.

Both the first and second round games will take place in Legacy Arena. After undergoing extensive renovations in 2020-21, the building is hosting its first NCAA tournament games since 2008.

With a win, Alabama, who plays at 1:45 p.m. would advance to play the winner of No. 8 seed Maryland and No. 9 seed West Virginia on Saturday. The Terps and Mountaineers will play at 11:15 a.m. CT on Thursday.

Alabama already has a program-record 29 wins and, at 16-2 in the conference, captured its second SEC regular-season title in the past three seasons.

No. 9 seed Auburn will play in the Magic City as part of the tournament with four games Thursday and two Saturday.

The Tigers (20-12) were tabbed as a ninth-seed in the Midwest Region and will face eighth-seeded Iowa (19-13) in the opening round of the tournament Thursday in Birmingham at Legacy Arena. Tipoff is at 5:50.

Schedule for Birmingham’s NCAA first round games Thursday:

–11:15 a.m.: Maryland vs. West Virginia (CBS)

–1:45 p.m. Alabama vs. TAMU-CC/SEMU (CBS)

–5:50 p.m.: Auburn vs. Iowa (TNT)

–8:20 p.m.: N. Kentucky vs. Houston (TNT)

Meanwhile, the UAB Blazers have accepted an invite to the National Invitational Tournament, selected as the No. 4 seed in the Clemson bracket and will face Southern Miss, Tuesday, March 14, at Bartow Arena in Birmingham.

Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN+.

The Blazers enter the NIT at 25-9 overall, ranked ninth nationally in scoring offense (82.2 ppg) and have the nation’s third-leading scorer (23.3 ppg) in Jordan “Jelly” Walker, who was a C-USA First-Team selection and C-USA all-tournament team pick.