Alabama vs. Clemson in basketball? Football schools face off with Final Four on the line


LOS ANGELES — See if this sounds familiar: Clemson and Alabama are facing each other in a playoff with the chance to compete for a national championship on the line.

For college sports fans, it’ll be another instance of the Tigers and the Crimson Tide battling on the national stage Saturday. But this time, it won’t be played on the gridiron with Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban on the opposing sidelines.

It’ll be on a 94-foot-long basketball court with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

It’s relatively new territory for the schools that are primarily known for their accomplishments on the football field. Alabama, which boasts 16 national championships while consistently staying in the title picture, is playing in its first Elite Eight since 2004 and second in team history. Clemson, which has found success in the College Football Playoff with two titles, also is in the Elite Eight for just the second time, the first coming in 1980. By the end of the night, one team will be in the Final Four for the first time.

Suddenly, things don’t sound familiar.

“Alabama and Clemson playing in L.A. Most people would think we’re out here playing in the Rose Bowl,” said Alabama head coach Nate Oats.

Clemson center PJ Hall (24) defends Alabama guard Aaron Estrada (55) at Coleman Coliseum.

Acknowledging being at football schools

Reaching the Final Four is a tremendous accomplishment for any school, regardless of its other sports, but Oats and Clemson head coach Brad Brownell acknowledge what a Final Four spot would mean to their respective programs at schools where football is the primary attention-getter.

“Alabama football is obviously the best football program in the country in college football. They’ve got all sorts of national championships,” Oats said. “But multiple sports have won national championships at Alabama….

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Author : USA TODAY Sports

Publish date : 2024-03-30 13:29:52

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