South Alabama vs Louisiana Odds, Picks: Sun Belt Championship Betting Preview
Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Brown (Louisiana)
South Alabama vs. Louisiana Odds
|South Alabama Odds|
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
If you’re a loyal Action Network follower and read my Sun Belt Tournament preview, you should be very happy. Our 10-1 ticket on South Alabama is 40 minutes away from cashing.
USA will battle Louisiana for a shot to go dancing. The Ragin’ Cajuns are the better team, and they swept the Jags in the regular season.
However, nothing is given in March.
It’s been a wild ride for South Alabama. The Jags have won 11 of 13 since Jan. 28, completely flipping the script on a formerly lost season.
The Jaguars are, incredibly, 22nd nationally in adjusted efficiency during the stretch. They’re 11th in eFG% (57%) and fourth in eFG% allowed (42.9%) during that time, playing unbelievably dominant basketball.
Also, I’m sold. Isaiah Moore is the Sun Belt’s best player.
Moore averaged 18.5 points and 4.5 assists per game in the regular season on 55% shooting. He backed up his regular season play by averaging 18.3 points and 6.3 assists in three Sun Belt Tournament games.
More importantly, Moore turned the ball over six times across the three games. He’s been playing near-perfect ball.
It’s also nice when your dominant guard has a dominant big man to play with. Kevin Samuel has torn apart opposing interior offenses and defenses over the Jags’ hot streak, recently posting a stat sheet of 12 points, 15 rebounds, six blocks and three steals in a tournament win over App State.
You can’t guard Samuel one-on-one. You can try double-teaming him, but that will probably not work, especially since he carved up App State’s triple-team.
Kevin Samuel doesn’t care that he was triple teamed.pic.twitter.com/uF3Bnv6ebA
— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) March 2, 2023
USA is one of the nation’s best post-up teams, and it’s because of these two players. It’s easy to understand how Samuel controls the paint, but Moore is even more dominant in that area.
Moore is comparable to Jalen Pickett and Hunter Maldonado, a post-heavy guard that uses his interior moves to score or dish to the perimeter. Moore averages a whopping 1.131 PPP in post-up sets, which ranks in the 93rd percentile.
It’s also nice that Moore has Owen White waiting for catch-and-shoot 3s on the perimeter. The wing has hit monster 3-pointers in all three South Alabama tournament wins.
.@HerculesTires 𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗢𝗡𝗚 𝗠𝗢𝗩𝗘 𝗢𝗙 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗚𝗔𝗠𝗘. 💪@owenwhite_22 came up huge for @SouthAlabamaMBB. This clutch three provided separation for the Jaguars down the stretch. #SunBeltMBB ☀️ 🏀 pic.twitter.com/XVVwSQLGFB
— Sun Belt (@SunBelt) March 4, 2023
Louisiana ended the year as the Sun Belt’s best offense by KenPom’s metrics. However, sometimes I think the Cajuns are a bit one-dimensional.
So much of the Cajuns’ offense comes from crashing the offensive boards. Jordan Brown is a monster in that category, supplanting himself as the Sun Belt’s most dominant interior presence.
However, the Cajuns also finished the season as the Sun Belt’s best post-up team by both ShotQuality and Synergy’s metrics. Brown scores a cool .975 PPP in those sets, proving he’s not just a one-trick pony.
Been a big fan of ULL’s Jordan Brown for a while now. pic.twitter.com/1Rjd03sAKi
— Mike Cyprien (@CoachCyp_NOLA) March 5, 2023
It looks like we’ll get a lot of post-on-post crime in this one. How fun.
While South Alabama’s defense is better overall, the Cajuns are the better post-up defense. That advantage will be uber-important considering the matchup.
Brown abused South Alabama’s interior defense in the regular-season sweep. He scored a combined 51 points on 22-for-27 shooting, earning KenPom MVP honors in both games.
This one could be over early unless South Alabama figures out how to stop Brown.
The Cajuns have holes on defense, specifically on the perimeter. Moore and White must exploit those advantages in this championship game, especially if the Cajuns can silence Samuel.
South Alabama vs. Louisiana Betting Pick
As much as I want to continue riding my Jaguars, Louisiana is the better side in the championship game.
The Cajuns’ interior defense will likely be the difference maker, as Brown has a more distinct advantage than Moore and Samuel.
However, the bigger issue is how much South Alabama has left in the tank. The Jags run a pretty short rotation — for example, Moore has played 113 of 120 possible minutes over the last four days — and have played an extra game than Louisiana.
Additionally, if anyone gets into foul trouble early, the Jags could be cooked and forced to rely on benchwarmers.
While I will root for South Alabama to win, I can’t condone betting on the Jags. I’d recommend betting on Brown and Louisiana with a chance to dance on the line.
Pick: Louisiana -1.5
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