BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Shortly after Maryland took down West Virginia in its NCAA Tournament opener Thursday, Terrapins guard Noah Batchelor had a message for Alabama guard Jaden Bradley
“You’ve got to win this next game,” Batchelor told his former IMG Academy teammate, “so we can play on Saturday.”
The clash between close friends has been brewing since top-seeded Alabama and No. 8 seed Maryland were both placed in the South bracket. Following Maryland's win over West Virginia, Bradley and the Crimson Tide took care of their half of the equation, cruising past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to cement the bragging rights showdown.
“After they won, he called me and started talking a little smack,” Batchelor said. “It’s all friendly talk. He was just saying how they are going to beat us, but I think otherwise.”
Friendships will be temporarily put on the back burner Saturday night as Batchel...