Two great SEC football rivals will meet on the basketball court on Wednesday night as the no. Alabama Crimson Tide host the LSU Tigers. The early betting line lists Alabama as a 7.5-point favorite at home, with the over/under set at 163 points.
The Crimson Tide saw their 10-game winning streak snapped over the weekend against Oklahoma in the Big 12-SEC Challenge. However, Alabama remains firmly in control of the SEC at 9-0, with LSU being one of two teams that sit three games behind at 6-3. At 14-4 overall, the Crimson Tide is looking like a potential top-4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Likewise, the Tigers are also trying to bounce back from a loss in the Big 12-SEC Challenge. LSU looked poised to upset Texas Tech, only to get outscored 12-0 to end the game, ultimately losing 76-71. The Bayou Bengals have now lost three of their last four games, putting them squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble and in need of a quality win.
At times, LSU looks more like a team playing at the local park than a college basketball team. The Tigers have one of the lowest assist rates in the country, relying on a lot of one-on-one play to get buckets rather than sharing the ball and setting up other players. In the loss to Texas Tech, the Tigers had just eight assists, well below their average of 12.5 assists per game.
Despite that lack of passing, LSU still averages 82.9 points per game. The Tigers have four players who average at least 12 points per game, including freshman Cameron Thomas, who leads the way with 22.3 points per contest. Thomas, Ja’Vonte Smart, and Darius Days can all step outside and knock down shots while forward Trendon Watford does most of his damage inside the paint. Of course, nobody on LSU’s roster outside of that quartet averages more than four points per game, meaning the Tigers need all four to contribute if they hope to beat a quality team like Alabama.
On the Outside
It’s no secret that the Crimson Tide have a perimeter-oriented team. Alabama has seven players on the roster who have made at least 12 three-point shots in 18 games this season, including three who have already made at least 30 shots from beyond the arc. John Petty and Joshua Primo are the most dangerous, as both shoot 41% from deep.
Of course, while Petty is Alabama’s leading scorer, Primo is more of a role player compared to the rest of the Crimson Tide backcourt. Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly are both playmakers and capable scorers who average double figures. The Tide are also solid in the frontcourt with Herbert Jones, who is a versatile stat stuffer. Alabama has also received plenty of quality performances this season from veteran big men Jordan Bruner and Alex Reese, who are both capable scorers given the matchup.
It’s Nice to Have Depth
The Crimson Tide should be able to refocus after losing to Oklahoma. Alabama’s depth of scoring options is also a better bet than LSU’s core-four. Finally, keep in mind that only one of Alabama’s nine SEC wins this season has come by fewer than eight points. Bet on the Crimson Tide to win and cover against LSU.
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