Alabama Looks to Continue Home Dominance Against Maryland in NIT Quarters
Those who like college basketball betting recognize that sometimes teams from the so-called “major” conferences take anything less than an NCAA berth lightly. But the ACC’s Maryland Terrapins and the SEC’s Alabama Crimson Tide have proven an exception to that, and they will do battle in Tuscaloosa tonight for the right to go to the tournament semi-finals in Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is 7:30 PM ET for this game, which will be seen on ESPN.
Here’s the setup:
Maryland Terrapins (24-12 SU, 16-11 ATS) at Alabama Crimson Tide (23-12 SU, 16-15 ATS)
Tuesday, March 26 – 7:30 PM ET
Coleman Coliseum – Tuscaloosa, AL
Alabama is a team that was a bit disappointed that it did not do enough to gain an invitation to the Big Dance, but they are making up for that by getting themselves one step from punching a ticket to Madison Square Garden. Maryland developed a reputation as a tough defensive team, and they have one of the better centers in the country, who will almost certainly be playing in the NBA.
Here are the college basketball betting odds as they are posted at BetAnySports:
Alabama Crimson Tide -4
Maryland Terrapins +4
Over 127.5 Points -110
Under 127.5 Points -110
Alabama wins game -190
Maryland wins game +165
The guy to watch if you are somewhat interested in the Maryland side is 7’1″ center Alex Len, a sophomore out of the Ukraine who can be an imposing figure in the lane. Len started his season with a blast, as he had 23 points (his scoring high foe the season), a dozen rebounds and four blocked shots against defending national champion Kentucky. he makes people alter their shots, but Maryland would like for him to assert himself a little more on the offensive end. Len scored 20 points against North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, but has not been very productive at all in the NIT, with 13 points and six rebounds in two games. He’s got problems with foul trouble, limiting him to just 14 minutes against Denver five nights ago.
There are some interesting trend figures for those customers at BetAnySports who are into technical figures. Alabama has now won twelve straight games at home, but it’s HOW they win those games at home that could provide some insight into the handicapping process. The Tide has played ten lined games in Tuscaloosa where there has been a total posted, and they have played eight game sunder the total. Overall, they have played 17 unders in 21 games. When they are playing better teams (i.e., those that have winning records), they have gone “under” in 16 of 19 games.
What’s interesting about what Alabama has done is that they entered the NIT with a 3-10 ATS record at home, but have really taken care of business, ringing up two pointspread victories and doing it in decisive fashion. Granted the first NIT game was against a Northeastern squad that was missing its leading scorer, but Saturday night’s game was against Stanford, which just happens to be the defending NIT champion. Stanford shot just 31% from the field, and that’s even stingier than Alabama usually is on their home floor, where they permit less than 39% shooting. The ‘Bama squad has now covered seven of their last eight games, and allowed 53 points a game over the last five.
Maryland is a team that could be in for a rough matchup. The Terrapins have a tendency to turn the ball over. To put this in perspective, there are 345 teams in Division I basketball. The Terps rank 338th in turnover margin, and they average very close to 15 turnovers per contest. Alabama is a team that will force TO’s; in fact, they’ve chalked up more than eight steals a game, so the Maryland backcourt will unquestionably be challenged. And there is not a lot of offensive firepower in that backcourt; the ACC club has made just 30% of its three-point attempts.
In the $1 Million Charles Jay / BetAnySports March Madness Challenge, a simulation in which I am required to place a bet on every game in the NCAA, NIT, CIT and CBI events,. I’m placing a $30,000 wager on Alabama minus the points.
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