Rovell: Alabama vs. San Diego State Sweet 16 Prediction

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A quick glance at the total for Alabama vs. San Diego State in the Sweet 16 on Friday night might make it seem like something is off.

Alabama scores 82.3 points per game — only Toledo and Gonzaga scored more this year.

San Diego State isn't a particularly low scoring team either, putting up 71.2 points per game. Combined, the two teams score 153.5 points per game. Yet Friday's total is a full 16 points under that average.

So why is that?

Because Alabama is Jekyll and Hyde.

Five times this season they scored more than 100 points. Six times this season they scored fewer than 70 points.

Of those five games in which they scored 100, none of those teams — including Georgia, Vanderbilt, UNC and LSU — made the tournament. Their combined record was 85-81.

These are also two very solid defenses.

Alabama is fourth in the country in defensive efficiency (0.895). San Diego State is fifteenth (0.926). This game is the only Sweet 16 matchup between two teams with a defensive efficiency of .095 or lower.

So, we have a team with a high offensive ceiling — but a distinctly low floor — and two very, very good defenses.

In the 334 games between these types of teams since 2010, the spread has been an even 50-50 — teams in these situations went 164-164-6 against the spread.

But for the total, it's a completely different story.

In the Sweet 16 or later, these teams are 49-39-2 to the under (55.7%), including 3-0 to the under in the last two tournaments and 27-14 since 2014.

The books have been assigning too much value to the over in these sorts of matchups.

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In terms of recent play, these two teams have been under machines, too. Alabama has hit the under in four out of its last five on an average total of 148. San Diego State is 5 out of 5 to the under in its last five games on an average total of 138.5.

And unders are currently 35-17 (67.3%) in this tournament, the best win percentage this far into the tournament for the last 30 years. On Friday night, another under will go into that column.

Take the under of 137.5 at BetMGM for Alabama vs. San Diego State.

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