UConn vs. Alabama Odds
Alabama handled Michigan State — which was without two of its best players in Jaden Akins and Malik Hall — by nine points to advance to the semifinals of the Phil Knight Invitational.
But now the Tide face their toughest challenge yet to keep their undefeated record intact.
The Tide will square off against the 20th-ranked UConn Huskies, who not only haven’t lost a game yet this season, but have beaten every team they’ve faced by 20 points or more.
Oregon was the first Power Five opponent the Huskies have faced though, and this is an Oregon team that lost to UC Irvine in its second game of the season.
Will Alabama be a rude awakening for the Huskies? Or is this UConn team yet again one of the top-10 teams in the nation?
Adama Sanogo has been great at a lot of things during his three years in Storrs. The big man leads the team, averaging 19.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
Year in and year out, he’s consistently been a dominant presence in the paint at both ends. He’s already recorded four blocks this year, as well.
This year, though, Sanogo has added yet another tool to his bag, as he’s made 6-of-9 3-point attempts so far on the season. Prior to this year, he had attempted just one shot from beyond the arc.
He isn’t the only UConn player who poses a threat from legitimately anywhere on the floor.
Tristen Newton, the transfer from ECU, is averaging 13.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game so far this season. Not to mention, he’s hitting 39.1% from behind the arc.
As a team, the Huskies have hit 10 or more 3-pointers in four of their six games so far this season. Their ability from beyond the arc will truly be tested against Alabama, though, as the Tide have held opponents to 27.2% from deep so far this season.
UConn boasts a top-10 rating when it comes to effective field goal percentage at 59.1%. The Huskies also rarely make mistakes, giving up a turnover on just 18.3% of possessions.
But again, this is their toughest test of the season so far, and this Alabama defense could have them in for a rude awakening.
The Huskies’ defense is pretty impressive in its own right, though. One of their biggest advantages over the Tide is their ability to create turnovers.
UConn is coming away with a turnover on 23.9% of possessions through six games.
That is something that could be the difference maker in a game where these teams match up so evenly. Alabama is giving a turnover up on 21.3% of possessions.
The Crimson Tide struggled with Michigan State despite the Spartans being without two of their best players. But in the second half, they were able to pull away.
The Alabama offense has been great so far this year, led by an elite freshman in Brandon Miller, who could very well be the best player on the floor in this game.
But against UConn, there is one major thing the Tide will need to focus on if they’re going to win this.
Alabama has been the second best team in the country when it comes to offensive rebounding. However, the Tide relied heavily on those offensive rebounds for a large percentage of their scoring.
Alabama ranks in the 99th percentile when it comes to second-chance points, with 18 points per game coming as a result of an offensive rebound.
UConn, meanwhile, is in the 91st percentile in defensive rebounding percentage, coming down with the ball 78.9% of the time. The duo of Sanogo and Donovan Clingan in the paint could really cause some issues for this Crimson Tide team.
UConn vs. Alabama Betting Pick
Alabama is a great team, so I can see why the market likes it here. The Tide are currently getting 65% of the bets and 85% of the money.
And while both of these teams have faced inferior competition for the most part this season, I think that Alabama’s defensive and rebounding numbers are affected the most by that lack of competition.
Against Michigan State — which was without its third best rebounder — the Tide were out-rebounded by two. Not to mention, the Spartans’ two scoring leaders getting four fouls really played a factor late in that game.
I think UConn’s experience plays a major role here, as these teams both face their biggest challenge of the season so far. I can also see Sanogo and Clingan’s presence in the paint giving Alabama fits around the rim.
That’s why I’m backing the Huskies in this one on the moneyline here. I was able to grab UConn at even money, but would back it as high as a -115 favorite.
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