UAB vs North Texas NIT Predictions, Odds, and Picks: Fade the Mean Green's Weak Offense

The NIT finals go down on Thursday when the UAB Blazers square off against the North Texas Mean Green in the Sin City. Find out why we're backing the boys from Birmingham by reading our UAB vs. North Texas betting picks.

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2023 6:27 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Jordan Walker UAB Blazers NCAAB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The UAB Blazers face off against the North Texas Mean Green in the NIT Finals tonight. These Conference USA rivals are matching up for the fourth time this season and the stakes have never been higher for either program.

Oddsmakers are anticipating a close contest with the Blazers listed as 2-point favorites for this clash as of Wednesday afternoon. Here are my best free college basketball picks for UAB vs. North Texas on March 30.

UAB vs North Texas best odds

UAB vs North Texas picks and predictions

Although the UAB Blazers lost to the North Texas Mean Green twice during the regular season, there's reason to think that their recent victory against North Texas during the conference tournament is more likely to happen again.

UAB lost 63-52 at home in January but was missing All-Conference guard Jordan Walker, who averages 22.5 points and 4.0 assists per game. Walker scored 20 points in the rematch and 32 points in the conference tourney showdown, so his absence was clearly felt against a stingy North Texas defense.

In the rematch in February, the Blazers fell 82-79 on the road. Despite going into double-overtime in that contest, UAB went to the line for just 10 free-throw attempts while North Texas took 25. Given that the Blazers average 22.3 FTA per game and the Mean Green are 339th in the country in opponent free-throw rate, don't expect an outlier like that to happen at a neutral site. 

The Blazers finally got revenge on March 10 when they beat North Texas 76-69, thanks to an incredible start where they began the game on a 22-2 run.

While the Blazers have a highly-efficient offense, they are also tough defensively and rank 36th in the country in opponent field goal percentage while blocking shots and coming away with steals. Although the Mean Green pose an elite defense, their offense has struggled and ranks just 250th in the country with a 43.5 FG%. 

The Blazers have the more consistent offense and likely won't get shafted when it comes to getting sent to the line this time around, so back them on the moneyline.

My best bet: UAB moneyline (-130 at DraftKings)

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UAB vs North Texas spread analysis

These were two of the three best teams in Conference USA this season and given that the top team Florida Atlantic is in the Final Four, that's really saying something.

The Blazers have won 16 of their last 18 games, with their only defeats during that span coming against FAU and North Texas. After clobbering their first two opponents in the NIT, they pulled away from Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals before beating Utah Valley 88-86 in the semis. 

Walker was the C-USA Player of the Year in 2022 and leads an offense that ranks eighth in the country with 80.5 ppg against Division 1 foes. Eric Gaines (11.7 ppg, 4.4 apg) and K.J. Buffen (10.6 ppg) also fill up the hoop, while center Trey Jemison anchors the defense with 8.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. 

The Mean Green have won 15 of their previous 17 contests, with their two losses coming against UAB and in overtime on the road against UTEP. They also had an easy time in the first two rounds of the NIT before a couple of tight contests. North Texas edged Oklahoma State 65-59 in overtime in the quarterfinals and then held Wisconsin to an incredible 13 points in the second half to pull off a 56-54 victory on Tuesday. 

This year's C-USA Player of the Year was North Texas point guard Tylor Perry, who leads the team with 17.3 ppg. Guard Kai Huntsberry (12.0 ppg, 3.1 apg) and big man Abou Ousmane (11.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg) are the only other members of the Mean Green averaging more than 7.0 ppg. 

Scoring hasn't been easy for the Mean Green, who rank just 291st in the country in turnover rate (19.4%) and were last in the C-USA with 64.4 ppg. However, they've been elite on defense where they boast the best mark in the country in points per game allowed (56.2) and come in at ninth in opponent field goal percentage (39.4%). 

While the Mean Green do an excellent job of contesting shots and guarding, they don't force a ton of turnovers. They also rank outside the Top 200 in defensive rebound rate (72.8%), with that number dropping to 65.7% in their last three games. The Blazers are ninth in the country in offensive rebound rate (34.6%), and if they can generate second chances on the glass, they might be able to crack this defense.

UAB vs North Texas Over/Under analysis

The opening O/U of 126.5 has since ticked up to 127.5 but remains vastly different than the projected total of 137 over at KenPom. While adjusted efficiency and tempo for teams that haven't played each other can be helpful for books, they have a decent sample size of head-to-head contests to use as a barometer in this case. 

This is the ninth meeting between these rivals since 2020, and all of the totals have been set between 125 and 127.5. The Over went 5-3 in the previous eight, but one of those Overs was that previously mentioned double-overtime contest in February where the two schools combined for 124 points in regulation. 

These teams are the complete opposite spectrum when it comes to pace and offensive production. The Blazers love to push the ball and are 31st in the country in adjusted tempo. Meanwhile, the Mean Green are dead-last in the country in adjusted tempo and their incredibly slow pace and elite defense have led to some extremely low-scoring contests.

That said, when these teams collided on neutral ground three weeks ago, they played at a decent pace and combined for 144 points despite subpar shooting from both sides. The Blazers are also coming off a high-scoring contest against a stingy Utah Valley defense that is fifth in the country in opponent shooting percentage (39%).

UAB vs North Texas betting trend to know

The Over is 9-2 in UAB's last 11 neutral site games. Find more college basketball betting trends for North Texas vs. UAB.

UAB vs North Texas game info

Location: Orleans Arena, Paradise, NV
Date: Thursday, March 30, 2023
Tip-off: 9:30 p.m. ET

UAB vs North Texas key injuries

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