Final Four Tempo Report | 2 Over/Under Bets for NC State vs. Purdue & Alabama vs. UConn (Saturday, April 6)

Final Four Tempo Report | 2 Over/Under Bets for NC State vs. Purdue & Alabama vs. UConn (Saturday, April 6) article feature image
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Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Painter (Purdue)

Different styles of play are set to show up in Glendale for the Final Four, as transition, post play and plenty of 3-pointers are on tap.

Purdue and NC State elect to run their offenses through the post at a top-10 rate above all other Division I teams.

Although UConn has trees in the paint, veer and backdoor cuts dominate its offensive sets.

Finally, what would a Final Four be without long-distance shooting? Alabama is top-25 in points per possession when it comes to off-the-dribble and catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts.

These teams have different paces of play. Alabama is the speedster of the group, going over the closing total in 13 of its past 15 games. The only Final Four team that finished the season with more unders than overs is Connecticut, closing 21-16 to the under.

This article will look at the preferred tempo and style for each of the four teams, looking for advantages in the totals market.

First, here's a look at the average possession length for the Final Four:

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NC State vs. Purdue

Saturday, Apr 6
6:09 p.m. ET
TBS

If a lesson is needed in how to run offense through the post, DJ Burns Jr. and Zach Edey will provide the rough draft.

Both NC State and Purdue run offense through their bigs, each with a top-10 rank in frequency of post-up offensive sets.

Purdue has been unstoppable as the second-highest offense in Adjusted Efficiency, per KenPom. Not only does Edey get plenty of touches in the post, the Boilermakers are top-10 in free-throw rate.

Zach Edey NCAA Tournament highlights 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/8iYnUXgc8q

— Big Blue Carti (@BigBlueCarti) March 31, 2024

Most other offensive play calls from head coach Matt Painter will be defused, as NC State brings higher defensive ranks against the pick-and-roll, isolation and half-court sets.

The pace for the Boilermakers will remain slow, but a heavy advantage on the glass — with plenty of expected free-throw attempts — will make Purdue tough to stop.

NC State will combat with Burns in the post, as it looks to get Edey in foul trouble while receiving trips to the charity stripe. Purdue is a much more disciplined team in terms of fouls, ranking seventh in defensive free-throw rate.

The advantage on the offensive glass plays on the other end of the court, as Purdue ranks 13th in defensive rebounding.

The Wolfpack do prefer off-the-dribble 3-point shots when the post-play efficiency is down, an area that Purdue has been soft at defending (333rd).

North Carolina State Opponent Points Per Possession via Torvik

As shown above, the NC State defense is trending in a positive direction. Since the start of the ACC Tournament against Louisville, the Wolfpack have posted eight of their best season results in terms of opponent points per possession.

This game is expected to be a war in the post, as the two offenses run at a grinding pace.

The Wolfpack may fall short on points with no advantages on the glass, while Purdue will look to get to the free-throw line on every offensive possession.

Pick: Under 146


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Alabama vs. UConn

Saturday, Apr 6
8:49 p.m. ET
TBS

The Crimson Tide are on a massive run of overs dating back several months. Alabama hasn't posted two consecutive unders since the first week of January.

Head coach Nate Oats calls an offense that's third in average possession length, with a high rate of transition looks and finishes at the rim. Alabama is third in the country at Rim-and-3 Rate, putting the primary handicap on UConn to defend the two highest quality shots in college hoops.

MARK SEARS CANNOT MISS 🔥#MarchMadness@AlabamaMBBpic.twitter.com/E0TebwUf8C

— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 31, 2024

The Crimson Tide and Huskies project to have 70 possessions in the Final Four. Transition hasn't been a deterrent for UConn this season, as it won four games this season that eclipsed 70 possessions.

Alabama will look to finish at the rim against 7-foot-2 sophomore Donovan Clingan. UConn ranks just inside the top 50 in defending the rim.

Long-distance shots could also be an issue for the defending national champions, as UConn falls outside the top 150 in defending spot-up and off-the-dribble 3-point attempts.

With Alabama winning the free-throw rate battle statistically, it's predicted that the Tide will finish at the rim, with some shots waiting at the charity stripe in the second half.

UConn runs at one of the slowest offensive paces this season, generating double-digit wins against fast-minded opponents such as North Carolina, Gonzaga and Xavier. Head coach Dan Hurley is no stranger to transition, running tempo at the 72nd-highest frequency.

The bread and butter of the offense is off-ball screens and cuts. Both offensive sets have been detrimental to Alabama this season; the Tide rank outside the top 220 of all Division I teams against screens and cuts.

A little give and go between Cam and Clingan 👀#MarchMadness@UConnMBBpic.twitter.com/OB8mH6xSpB

— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 30, 2024

UConn has a large advantage in getting to the line, as well, as Alabama is 311th in defensive free-throw rate. The Huskies have the top overall Adjusted Offensive Efficiency rank in the nation, indicating plenty of screens and cuts in the paint against Alabama.

While the UConn offense is expected to have success in the post, the defense has been phenomenal, generating a large uptick in opponent points per possession.

Connecticut Opponent Points Per Possession via Torvik

Alabama may sputter out of the gate from a combination of hot UConn defensive play and long-distance shooting in an NFL stadium. Look for the Huskies to take away shots at the rim and force the Crimson Tide to the outside, as any mid-range screens with pick-and-roll will be neutralized by the Huskies.

Pick: First Half Under 76

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