Clemson vs Alabama Pick & Prediction: Tide Can’t Be Stopped

Clemson vs Alabama Pick & Prediction: Tide Can’t Be Stopped article feature image
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Photo by Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Grant Nelson (Alabama)

Clemson takes on Alabama on Saturday, March 30, at 8:49 p.m. ET on TBS. Here's a Clemson vs Alabama pick and prediction.

Clemson Tigers vs Alabama Crimson Tide Odds, Pick

Saturday, March 30
8:49 p.m. ET
TBS
Clemson Odds
Point SpreadTotalMoneyline
+3.5
-110
164.5
-110o / -110u
+145
Alabama Odds
Point SpreadTotalMoneyline
-3.5
-110
164.5
-110o / -110u
-170
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

While everybody prepared for the dramatics of Caleb Love's possible reunion against North Carolina in the Elite Eight, we forgot about their opponents — Clemson and Alabama.

In stunning circumstances, the Crimson Tide and Tigers pulled out stunning upsets.


Clemson Tigers

As the old saying goes, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Now, don't get it twisted — Clemson deserved all three of its wins over New Mexico, Baylor and Arizona, but the Tigers benefited from a 3-point variance.

In the three games, opponents went an unsustainably bad 17-for-75 from 3-point range.

With the season only lasting three more games — at most — variance is less likely to flip than it would during the regular season. It's part of what makes stunning postseason runs special.

Chase Hunter is a fifth-year senior for Clemson and is in the midst of the best stretch of his career. The 6-foot-4 guard hit the dagger and one layup against Arizona for three of his 18 points in the game.

He's scored 18+ points in all three tournament games and tossed five-plus assists as well. He's been awesome in the Big Dance and will look to overwhelm Bama's guards with his size and strength.

Hunter's perimeter partner — Joe Girard II — is just 4-for-18 from 3 in the NCAA Tournament. I didn't see Clemson winning multiple tourney games with Girard shooting 22% from 3, but it shows how dangerous it is.

The Tigers' bread and butter is playing through the versatile bigs, PJ Hall, Ian Schieffelin and RJ Godfrey. In Clemson's win over Alabama early this year, all three players made winning plays — Godfrey scored 11 points, Hall scored 21 and Schieffelin grabbed 11 rebounds.

That's how you beat Alabama, especially with Nick Pringle dealing with a heel bruise suffered in the win over UNC.


Alabama Crimson Tide

In the Sweet 16, Nate Oats out-coached Hubert Davis, and sometimes great coaching wins games in March.

For one key reason, Alabama's defense looked totally different in the second half. The Tide sagged off Seth Trimble and Elliot Cadeau — a pair of non-shooting guards — and Davis took them off the court for Jae'Lyn Withers and Paxson Wojcik, who derailed the Heels' offense.

Oats playing chess while Davis played checkers gave Alabama the tools to succeed on the defensive end. That's been Alabama's issue this year, as it ranks 104th in Defensive Efficiency.

It's worth noting that Latrell Wrightsell Jr. missed the game with a head injury, and there's no word on his status for Saturday's outing. While he's Alabama's best shooter, it's no coincidence Alabama's defense improved with Pringle's size instead of Wrightsell's lack of size — when he starts, that means three guards 6-foot-3 or shorter in the lineup.

Alabama has one of the best offenses in the sport, ranking fourth in Offensive Efficiency, per KenPom. The Tide rarely look for mid-range looks, besides Aaron Estrada. Oats isn't a fan of mid-range shots, so expect a steady diet of 3s and layups.

The duo of Grant Nelson — the hero in Alabama's win on Thursday — and All-American guard Mark Sears could dictate the outcome of this Elite Eight affair.

Nelson scored 24 points with 12 rebounds and four blocks — including the game-winning bucket — against UNC. He's incredibly skilled and more athletic than Clemson's bigs, but he's not nearly as strong. The former North Dakota State big needs to stay out of foul trouble against Hall and "The Chef."

Sears had a real argument for SEC Player of the Year over Dalton Knecht, but he never gained enough traction for him to seize the award. The six-foot guard averages over 21 points on 50% shooting and 42% from 3.

He'll need a banner performance for the Tide to advance to the Final Four.


Clemson vs. Alabama

Betting Pick & Prediction

Variance, variance, variance. That's the keyword here. Clemson's lucky shooting numbers will fade in this game against Alabama.

The Tide are significantly better than the first time they played Clemson. Alabama went 11-for-35 from 3 in the first game, compared to over 50% for Clemson from 3.

I could see those numbers flipping on Saturday in an Alabama win to secure a Final Four berth.

Roll Tide!

Pick: Alabama -3.5 (Play to -4)

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