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Jumbo Package: Alabama vs. UCLA to tip off in prime time

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Maryland at Alabama Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. As you well know, the Tide basketball team destroyed Maryland in the second round last night, and will now move on to play 11-seed UCLA for a trip to the Elite Eight.

What a night it was, and if they can continue to play like this, anything is possible. Aaron Torres notes that this is just the beginning for the Oats era.

It’s hard not to be excited about this program. So often a senior laden team like this one will make a run, only to fall off for the next couple of years. In just a couple of seasons, Nate has already turned this program into one that reloads. What a job he has done.

In football news, the Tide practiced for the second time this spring yesterday. BOL has some photos, should you care to peruse them.

Saban wants to see better third down defense this season.

Third downs topped that list as Saban called the defensive efficiency there “the worst that it’s been since we’ve been here.” The Tide ranked 77th nationally allowing conversions 41.5% of the time — worse than a two-loss 2019 group that allowed first downs on 35.7% of third downs.

“I think we actually need to improve more on second down just putting ourselves in better positions for third down,” said rising junior middle linebacker Christian Harris. “A lot of times it would be third-and-two, third-and-three so it’s a lot harder to convert (defensively) on those. It’s an easy run play to get you a first down so we have to make it more difficult for teams on third down to improve our success.”

Harris has an outstanding point, of course. Keep the offense in third and long and you will generally find success. DeVonta Smith is going to weigh in only at Alabama’s pro day today.

Smith revealed his weight Monday — 170 pounds — per BamaOnLine.com, and said he will not participate in the pro day other than to let NFL scouts verify that number with a weigh-in.

Smith won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s top player last year, hauling in 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns as Crimson Tide QB Mac Jones’ top target in a national championship season. His slight size has been a scouting topic, however, and his decision to decline to participate in the Reese’s Senior Bowl weigh-in did nothing to quell that.

That man has nothing to prove. Last, check this out.

It’s nice to be able to root for high character people who also happen to dominate, isn’t it?

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.