College basketball weekly preview: Is it time to fade Alabama?

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Last week’s midweek college basketball preview went 2-1, moving to 7-1 overall on the year. While there is going to be some regression, let’s try to stay hot this week.

The theme of this week’s article is assessing how the market perceives certain teams and if it is the right time to buy or sell their current form.

As always, these are KenPom projected spreads and totals unless indicated below.

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Florida State at Louisville (-2, 140.5), Monday 7 PM

The spread above is from DraftKings Sportsbook on Monday morning, and I’m going to be siding with the road underdog here. I have thought all season that Florida State is the best team in the ACC in a down year, but COVID postponements have kept them out of the public eye.

The Noles are going to be without stud freshman Scottie Barnes once again, but I still like this matchup against Louisville. For one, FSU uses its incredible size to stymie teams inside the three-point line, the bread and butter to the Cardinals offensive attack. Louisville scores more than 56% of its points from inside the arc, but FSU is inside the top 30 in the country in opponent two-point FG percentage.

Florida State is going to dare its opponents to hoist from three, and this is a Louisville team that is around the national average in three-point FG percentage. That could spell disaster on Monday night.

FSU has responded to its layoff with two big wins, a 32-point victory over North Carolina State and a seven-point win at home against North Carolina (without Barnes). There is still time to get on the Florida State train and buy them as the team to beat in the ACC. I see them making another statement on Monday night with a win.

Alabama at LSU (-1, 161), Tuesday 9 PM

No one is running as hot as Alabama right now. The Tide have won seven straight with its latest victim being Arkansas by 31 at home. Nate Oates’ squad plays fast, third in the country in adjusted tempo on offense at KenPom, and lights up the scoreboard, 21st in offensive efficiency.

This is the time to sell on the Alabama heater though. LSU plays at a similar speed under coach Will Wade, 60th in offensive pace, but has a much more balanced offense. The Tigers are adept at getting to the free throw line and cashing in when there, they have a top 40 rate in free throw attempts per field goal attempts and stroke it at 77% as a team, 23rd in the nation.

Bama relies heavily on the three, 38% of its points come from deep, but Wade’s defense is built to shut down the perimeter. LSU runs teams off the three-point line and forfeits the easy two. Opponents are shooting 27% from beyond the arc against the Tigers.

With a projected total of 161, expect a track meet, but I like the way LSU matches up with Alabama and getting this inside of a bucket is a play on the home team. I’d play LSU up to -2.

Texas Tech (-8, 132) at TCU, Wednesday 8 PM

Note: This game has been canceled due to COVID-19 protocols

The bottom appears to be falling out for Jamie Dixon and the Horned Frogs, and we as bettors need to keep pushing until we are proven otherwise.

TCU has lost its last three by a combined 27.6 points and now welcome a Red Raider team who is off a tough road loss to Baylor. Chris Beard is sure to have Tech ready for this one in what is a perfect get right spot.

Texas Tech is one of the best teams in the country at turning its opponents over. The Red Raiders rank top five in turnover rate, while TCU places 237th in offensive turnover percentage. Mac McClung and the Red Raiders can generate easy buckets and push this lead out early.

With a top 20 offensive rebounding team, Tech is also sure to generate a ton of second chance opportunities against TCU, who is 191st in opponent’s offensive rebounding percentage. With a big edge on the boards and creating turnovers, this is a great matchup to back Texas Tech.

Not to mention, the home team is going to struggle to stay at arms length with its putrid free throw mark of just over 62%. I’d play Tech up to -9.5 in this matchup.