UAB vs San Diego State Odds & Pick: How to Bet Friday’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Clash

UAB vs San Diego State Odds & Pick: How to Bet Friday’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Clash article feature image

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It's time to take a look at the UAB vs. San Diego State odds and make a pick in our betting preview for Friday's NCAA Basketball Tournament clash on March 22.

UAB Blazers vs San Diego State Aztecs Odds

Friday, March 22
1:45 p.m. ET
UAB Blazers Odds
Point SpreadOver/UnderML
-110o / -110u
SDSU Aztecs Odds
Point SpreadOver/UnderML
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

San Diego State and UAB is the earliest local time tip-off of the entire NCAA Tournament, as the two teams will meet in Spokane, Washington, for a 10:40 a.m. local time tip (1:40 p.m. ET) on Friday.

The Aztecs are a No. 5 seed for the second consecutive season after making a run from five-seed to national runner up in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

The Aztecs have been quite mortal outside of Viejas Arena this season after inconsistent performances throughout the non-conference and six regular season losses in the Mountain West against the league's top seven teams.

While the Aztecs are a vulnerable team overall this year, UAB is one of the weakest 12 seeds in recent memory. There hasn't been a 12-seed in the field outside the top 100 in KenPom entering the tournament since Chattanooga in 2016, who lost by 20 to Indiana in the opening round.

On paper, it's a good matchup for the UAB offense, which relies on attacking the glass and getting to the free-throw line. The Aztecs play an aggressive brand of defense that can leave them prone to fouling and vulnerable on the defensive glass.

The biggest question is how the Blazers defend Jaedon LeDee in the post, and whether the Aztecs can overcome their profile of a team that's ripe to get upset early in this tournament.

UAB Blazers

UAB wants this game to be played in the open floor as much as possible, and San Diego State is extremely unlikely to get dragged into a matchup that suits the Blazers' athleticism in transition.

The Blazers' biggest question is how they defend the post, given their struggles there this season. UAB is 291st in ShotQuality defense against post-up sets this season, and they'll probably need to send extra defenders to slow down LeDee.

The Blazers' defense is one of the worst in the country at preventing high-quality looks in the half-court, per ShotQuality. Their best bet is to pack the paint, dare the Aztecs to shoot over them and make shots from distance, which they haven't proven they can do.

As a result, that will slow the game down and lead it to SDSU's preferred pace.

The Blazers' offense is extremely reliant on getting to the rim as much as possible because UAB has little to no consistent outside shooting. It ranks 38th in near proximity attempt rate and outside the top 300 in 3-point attempt rate.

The best way to beat the Aztecs is through quick guards who can make shots, especially in the mid-range.

That's not really the Blazers' style.

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San Diego State Aztecs

The Aztecs' offense is most efficient when running through LeDee, mainly because shotmaking has been a consistent issue for them all season.  SDSU has made 30.4% of 3s in MWC play, worst in the conference.

The lack of space on the floor around LeDee presents an opportunity for the Blazers to dare the Aztecs to knock down outside shots by doubling and fronting LeDee in the post.

SDSU lacks late shot-clock scoring. Last year, Matt Bradley was efficient at the end of possessions in isolation sets, and it enabled the Aztecs to get bailed out.

With so much of the offense running through the post now, it's much harder for them to execute late in the shot clock.

The Aztecs' profile is taking on a similar trend line to last year. Midway through the season in 2022-23, the Aztecs' defensive numbers were lagging and the offense was better than anticipated.

In the final 10 games, the offense struggled to find shot making, and Brian Dutcher made a decision to use even more physical and defensively-formidable lineups.

This year, the Aztecs are outside the top 80 in offense since Feb. 1, but remain a top-eight defense. The tournament slows them down even further, and points will be at a premium.

UAB vs San Diego State

Betting Pick & Prediction

The Aztecs' defense hasn't been as elite in ball screen coverage this season, mainly because they don't have the elite rim protector in Nathan Mensah.

Even still, it's really hard to execute offensively in the half-court against the Aztecs, and that's especially the case when they further lock in for a tournament setting.

With the early tip-off, two poor perimeter jump-shooting teams and the Aztecs likely to control the pace with their experience and discipline, points will be hard to come by.

If this was a different 12-seed, I would have that squad knocking off the Aztecs. But SDSU should survive this by executing better in a slow game.

I'd bet the under at 139 or better.

Pick: Under 139 or Better

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