March 23, 2011 9:10:00 AM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama men''s basketball team will play host to the University of Miami at 8 tonight (ESPN2) in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament at Coleman Coliseum.
The No. 1 seed Crimson Tide (23-11) and the second-seeded Hurricanes (21-14) will face off for a chance to see which tam will advance to Madison Square Garden in New York next week to take on the University of Colorado (24-13), which beat Kent State 81-74 on Tuesday.
Alabama, the Southeastern Conference Western Division champion, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 64-44 win against Coastal Carolina on March 15 and a 74-67 win against New Mexico on Monday night.
Miami defeated Florida Atlantic 85-62 and Missouri State 81-72.
"They''re a good team that obviously played extremely well last night," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "They had a good win at home against Missouri State and really shot the ball well. They''re a very explosive offensive team with four guys on the floor at any time that can really hurt you offensively."
Grant doesn''t anticipate his squad losing its focus at home, where it is a 18-0 this season,
"Our guys are excited about that and we''ve talked about that and the opportunity to play for a championship," Grant said of the possibility to advance to New York. "We understand to do that we need to take care of today. I think our guys have done a good job of that and this will be the next challenge for us."
Alabama home opponents have averaged 52.4 points this season and are shooting 34.2 percent at Coleman Coliseum.
First-team All-SEC selection JaMychal Green and second-team All-SEC selection Tony Mitchell lead the team in scoring averaging 15.5 points per game. Mitchell had a game-high 23 points Monday, while SEC All-Freshman selection Trevor Releford matched a career-high with 20 points and had six assists.