Monday’s NCAAB Betting Previews: Nebraska-Clemson, Murray State-Alabama
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Isaac Copeland
Without any tournament-like college basketball slates for the long haul, let’s shift back to back to reality with an enticing appetizer Monday evening. Which teams have an advantage in Nebraska-Clemson and Murray State-Alabama? Let’s break things down.
>> All odds as of 10 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and track your bets
Betting odds: Nebraska Cornhuskers at Clemson Tigers
- Spread: Clemson -3.5
- Over/under: 138.5
- Tip: 7 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPN2
Many will solely consider the Cornhuskers’ second-most recent contest against Texas Tech when handicapping this game, as the Red Raiders smothered Tim Miles’ unit to the tune of 21.7% shooting from behind the arc and a 21.2 turnover percentage.
But I consider that anomaly; Chris Beard’s group consistently ranks top 10 in KenPom’s Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
Nebraska has adopted position-less basketball, and it’ll present the Tigers plenty of defensive issues. The Cornhuskers have yielded the fewest Points Per Possession (0.70 PPP) and lowest Effective Field Goal Percentage (35.7%) in the nation early this season.
Their ability to switch on ball screens every position is a credit to their length and quickness. The Huskers will showcase a size edge over Clemson with Isaiah Roby and Isaac Copeland in their “frontcourt” and the athletic 6-foot-6 James Palmer on the wing.
With Marcquise Reed, Aamir Sims and Elijah Thomas — three of the Tigers’ top four scorers — dealing with turnover issues, Nebraska will capitalize, as it forces the 36th-highest opponent turnover rate in the country (23.6%).
The Cornhuskers were 10-3-0 ATS (76.9%) when getting at least 3.5 points in the 2017-18 regular season.
Guided by an abundance of ball-handlers and the No. 44 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, I expect them to continue to build off that momentum against the Tigers’ inconsistent defense.
THE PICK: Nebraska +3.5; Under 138
Betting odds: Murray State Racers at Alabama Crimson Tide
- Spread: Alabama -8.5
- Over/under: 139
- Tip: 8 p.m. ET
- TV channel: SEC Network+
The Crimson Tide welcome in the Racers’ Ja Morant, one of college basketball’s premier scorers (24.3 ppg). The 6-foot-3, 175-pound sophomore also ranks first in assist rate and has amassed a surprising 7.0 rebounds per game, given his size.
Expect Alabama’s physical backcourt to frustrate Morant, as he’s yet to face an opponent with an AjD ranking higher than No. 136 overall. The Tide sit at No. 50.
Although Alabama lacks the ball pressure that West Virginia provided last season with former Mountaineers guard Jevon Carter, Morant struggled with Bob Huggins’ similarly well-built guards in their March Madness affair, notching 14 points without a single 3. Alabama’s Herbert Jones will give him fits defensively.
Morant hasn’t done his team any favors with offensive miscues, amassing a 27.8 turnover percentage. Murray State owns the fifth-worst team rate in that department, and the Tide should be able to take advantage in transition with guards John Petty and Kira Lewis Jr.
The Racers will struggle with Alabama’s clear-cut size advantage, as well: 6-foot-9, 230-pound Donta Hall (9.2 ppg) should have a big impact at both sides of the floor.
Hall has accumulated a top 70 ranking in defensive rebounding percentage (26.9%) and block rate (9.4%).
THE PICK: Alabama -8.5