The University of Connecticut Huskies and the Alabama Crimson Tide face off in the semifinal of the Phil Knight Invitational Bracket on Friday night.
This should be a close battle between a pair of Top 25 schools, with college basketball betting lines opening with the Tide as 1-point faves and the total sitting at 148.5. Here are my best free college basketball picks and predictions for UConn vs. Alabama on November 25.
UConn vs Alabama best odds
UConn vs Alabama picks and predictions
This spread is razor thin, and when you consider they are right next to each other in the KenPom rankings (Alabama at No. 11 and UConn at No. 12), and just two spots separate them in the latest AP Poll, that makes plenty of sense.
In fact, these are two of just seven teams that currently rank in the Top 20 in both adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.
It isn't easy to find a handicapping angle between these programs, and while the Tide beat the better team last night, they benefitted from a few key injuries on the Spartans' side.
Ultimately, I think Alabama's offense has been a bit too reliant on freshman Brandon Miller. UConn has more scoring depth, shoots the ball better, and does a better job of taking care of the ball. Those kinds of things are often the deciding factors when two evenly-matched teams face off.
My best bet: Connecticut +1 (-110 at bet365)
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UConn vs Alabama spread analysis
Alabama beat Michigan State 81-70 last night, which was the Tide's first real test of the season after they trampled small-conference schools in their first four games. The Tide shot a modest 44% from the floor against MSU, but they held the Spartans to a field goal percentage of just 39%.
This is a revamped Alabama squad with three returning starters from last season actually seeing their roles diminish due to a hungry group of newcomers.
Miller was ranked as the No. 11 recruit in the nation according to 247Sports and leads the team with 21 ppg on 48/53/80 shooting splits. Transfer Mark Sears was named First-Team All-MAC with Ohio last season and has taken over as the lead guard with 13.6 points and 3.8 assists per game.
The Huskies are a perfect 6-0 straight up and 5-0-1 against the spread after destroying Oregon 83-59 last night. They controlled that game from start to finish and knocked down 17 treys at a 46% rate while limiting the Ducks to 5-15 from beyond the arc.
UConn also has a lineup featuring plenty of new faces, but its best player is returning big man Adam Sanogo who averages 19.8 ppg and 7.7 rebounds per game.
Senior transfers Tristen Newton (13.2 ppg, 4.3 apg), Nahiem Alleyne, and Joey Calcaterra have also played big roles, while freshmen Donovan Clingan and Alex Karaban combine with Sanogo to give UConn plenty of size down low.
Both of these teams have been dominant on the glass, with Bama second in the country in rebounding rate and UConn sixth.
UConn vs Alabama Over/Under analysis
Given the quality of opposition these sides have played against and the new faces on both squads, it's tough to handicap the total here.
The Tide play at the ninth-fastest tempo in the country, but they hold opponents to a 32.3 FG% — the third-lowest number in the country. They rank outside the Top 150 with their own 43.4 FG% but, due to that quick pace, have scored over 80 points in three of their last four contests.
The Huskies are shooting a sizzling 50.7% from the field (14th best in the country) but have also been productive at the other end of the floor, where they limit foes to a 37.4 FG%.
They play at a modest pace, ranking 119th in adjusted tempo but have eclipsed the 80-point plateau in every game this season and rank 12th in the nation with 86.5 ppg. That said, Alabama is the best defensive team they've faced this season, so it will be interesting to see how efficient they look on offense tonight.
UConn vs Alabama betting trend to know
The Over is 16-5 in Alabama's last 21 games versus a team with a winning percentage above .600. Find more College basketball betting trends for UConn vs. Alabama.
UConn vs Alabama game info
|Location:||Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR|
|Date:||Friday, November 25, 2022|
|Tip-off:||9:30 p.m. ET|