NCAA March Madness: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. San Diego State Aztecs betting preview, odds and predictions
In a 1 vs. 5 Sweet 16 matchup in the South region of the NCAA Tournament, the Alabama Crimson Tide take on the San Diego State Aztecs for a spot in the Elite Eight. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs.
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How to watch Alabama vs. San Diego State
When: Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Louisville, Kentucky
Odds for Alabama vs. San Diego State
Spread: Alabama -6
(Odds accurate as of Saturday, March 18th at 11:30 p.m. ET)
Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook
South Region No. 1 Seed Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama has everything you want in an NCAA tournament contender, as the Crimson Tide have a top-10 defense, reliable guards and a legitimate superstar in Brandon Miller. Miller looks like a lock to be a top-five pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, as he’s a 6-foot-9 forward that is absolutely lethal from 3 and can also create for himself off the dribble. Having the best player on the floor is always a huge advantage during March Madness. Miller was held scoreless in Alabama's first-round game, but he bounced back and had 19 points and seven boards in a blowout win over Maryland last game. It'll be interesting to see how he does against a very good San Diego State defense.
South Region No. 5 Seed San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego State was consistently excellent under Steve Fisher, and things didn’t change when he handed the program over to longtime assistant Brian Dutcher. This year, the Aztecs were the top team in the Mountain West again, and they’re a team that our VSiN Power Ratings likes quite a bit. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering they’re more like a blue blood than a mid-major team when it comes to on-court talent. Matt Bradley is the player to watch for this San Diego State squad, as the senior led the team in scoring this year. But any number of players is capable of stepping up and leading the Aztecs to a win, which is why this is a dangerous basketball team. San Diego State survived a close game against Charleston in the first round of the tournament, but the team then stomped Furman in the second round.
Alabama vs. San Diego State Matchup Analysis
Unless Virginia was a lot worse than we thought, then San Diego State's 23-point win over Furman was really impressive. The Aztecs surgically picked the Paladins apart offensively, and they gave up nothing easy on the other end of the floor. That performance showed the world just how talented and athletic Brian Dutcher's team is this season, and now the possibility of the Aztecs upsetting the Crimson Tide seems a little more realistic.
This season, San Diego State is fifth in the nation in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency, which means the Aztecs will feel good about their chances of slowing down an elite Crimson Tide offense. San Diego State is especially impressive when defending the three-point line, as the Aztecs only allow opponents to shoot 28.7% from 3. That's going to be big against the Tide, who have a number of players that can hit outside shots. And if they can prevent Brandon Miller from getting hot from the outside, this will be a testy game until the final buzzer.
The question in this one is whether San Diego State will be able to efficiently create offense against an Alabama team that is third in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Aztecs are just 69th in the country in adjusted offense, and the team averages only 71.8 points per game — while the Crimson Tide put up 82.6 points per game..
Matt Bradley is the only player on this San Diego State team that averages double figures in scoring, but that doesn't mean he's the only reliable scorer. This team has seven players that average at least 20.0 minutes per game this season, so Dutcher gives a lot of guys chances to get hot. Against Furman, it was Darrion Trammell that stepped up and knocked down some shots. He had 13 points in that game and could be an X-factor here. Trammell had a 21-point game against Arizona in the Maui Invitational earlier in the season. Perhaps he'll bring some of that same firepower to this one.
Overall, this is a really tough draw for Alabama. Bart Torvik has San Diego State as the 11th-best team in the nation, and you don't often get a matchup between two borderline top-10 teams at this point in the tournament. But the Aztecs are going to have to play uncharacteristically well offensively in order to get the job done here. However, we just saw a very similar matchup in the second round, when the Tennessee Volunteers beat the Duke Blue Devils with their defense and physicality. With that said, we know there's a blueprint for a team like San Diego State to beat a team like Alabama.
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