Alabama vs San Diego State Odds, Picks & Predictions: Our Sweet 16 Bet
Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Lamont Butler.
Alabama vs San Diego State Odds
-110o / -110u
|San Diego State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Alabama is one of two No. 1 seeds left in the NCAA tournament, but it’ll be no easy walk to the Elite 8 against San Diego State.
As the only top seed that has looked impressive, the Crimson Tide breezed by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Maryland in their first two games. Nate Oats’ team has a great path to the Final Four with Creighton or Princeton next up, but it first must deal with a difficult San Diego State team.
The Aztecs survived against Charleston in the first round and then absolutely manhandled Furman to get to the Sweet 16. Brian Dutcher has one of the most physical and experienced teams and is ready for a test like this.
Though San Diego State excels on defense, its offense has held it back this season. Do the Aztecs have enough offense to compete with one of the best teams in the country?
Alabama puts a premium on only taking 3-pointers or shots at the rim. Per ShotQuality, 91% of its field goal attempts come either at the rim or behind the arc, which is the second-highest rate.
By nature, the Crimson Tide are a top-10 3-point rate team, but they’re only hitting a little over 34% of them. San Diego State has allowed a 28.7% mark from long range, which is fourth-best.
The Crimson Tide turn the ball over at an incredibly high rate, ranking 226th in turnover percentage. That could spell disaster against San Diego State.
One thing that has plagued Oats for some time is the fact that Alabama’s defense was far from elite. This season, though, Alabama has one of the best defensive teams, ranking third in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
It’s really quite amazing how good the Tide are at defending jump shots, as they’re first in effective FG% allowed, third in 3-point FG% allowed and first in 2-point FG% allowed.
With that being said, Alabama is a very analytical team — it wants to force the opposition into shooting a lot of mid-range jumpers instead of 3-pointers and shots at the rim.
Against most teams, that’s a great game plan, but that doesn’t work against a San Diego State team that shoots a high volume of mid-range jumpers.
The common theme in the first two games for the Aztecs has been their defense, as they held both Charleston and Furman to just 0.83 PPP.
San Diego State is so great at boxing out and attacking in transition.
Matt Bradley here with the tough finish pic.twitter.com/e9yQdg1rJu
— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) March 18, 2023
For the season, the Aztecs are fifth in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. This is a fascinating tempo clash when you look at average possession length. Alabama is at 15.3 seconds (sixth-fastest), while San Diego State on defense is at 18.5 seconds, which is 346th, per KenPom.
The game against Charleston — a fast-paced team — was played at a 69-possession pace, which is right in the middle between the two tempos. But during Mountain West play, New Mexico was the only team to push San Diego State over the 70-possession pace mark in a non-overtime game.
Alabama’s last game against Maryland was played at a 67-possession pace and all three of its games in the SEC Tournament were played at or below the 70-possession pace mark.
Offensively, the Aztecs operate at a high frequency in the mid-range and posting up; they also get to the free-throw line at a top-100 rate. Alabama has been average defending the mid-range and is due for negative regression.
Per ShotQuality, the Crimson Tide have allowed 32% shooting from the mid-range, but were expected to allow 38%. The Tide are also 290th in defending post-up sets and 222nd in free-throw rate allowed.
Alabama vs San Diego State Betting Pick
I think the market is a tad too high on Alabama. The Aztecs have an elite 3-point defense and it’s no fluke they’re only allowing 28.7% shooting from beyond the arc given they’re eighth in 3-point rate.
San Diego State is also one of the most experienced teams in the country, ranking 21st in KenPom’s D-I Experience metric. Dutcher, who is one of the best game-planners, will have something cooked up to stop Brandon Miller and the Tide offense.
I like San Diego State to slow the pace down to below 70 possessions, keep it in the half-court and muck up the game.
Give me the Aztecs +7.5.
Pick: SDSU +7.5
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