Friday NCAAB Pick: Alabama & Texas Searching For Offense In Austin

alabama basketball

Friday, December 2, 2016 4:11 PM GMT

A rather short and somewhat weak NCAA basketball betting card is in store for Friday night, with one of the top games pitting the Big 12's Texas Longhorns at home against SEC school Alabama. UT is a small favorite on NCAAB odds. 

Upon seeing the Crimson Tide and Longhorns scheduled to meet on the hardwood, my first reaction was it would at least be a more evenly-matched and entertaining NCAA basketball game than if the two football teams met. After watching Texas drop three in a row and plummet out of the rankings, now I'm not so sure.

The collision between SEC and Big 12 teams that each play in the enormous shadows cast by their football programs takes place on an otherwise lackluster Friday basketball slate. Tip-off at Erwin Center in Austin is a little past 9:30 p.m. ET with the Longhorns giving up 4 at BookMaker, where the total has slipped two points from the opener to 124.

Outside Shooting Lacking On Both Sides

Alabama coach Avery Johnson is taking his gang to a hostile gym for the first time this season, and a win in Austin plus at least a strong showing a week from now at Oregon could help get the Crimson Tide into their first NCAA Tournament since 2012. Alabama will be at home after those two games until the SEC schedule begins, a date against Clemson also part of the non-conference slate.

This is the first time the Tide are getting points on the NCAA basketball odds board, covering just half of the six games they've been favored in up to now -- four of the contests failing to reach the totals. Johnson should be pleased with the defensive effort he has been seeing, but finding enough offense has been an issue. Freshmen Braxton Key and Dazon Ingram are the only players averaging 10 PPG or better, and the Tide will need others to step up their games.

Texas came out of the gate with three consecutive wins, and that's when things fell apart for Shaka Smart's squad. You can almost excuse the losses to Northwestern and Colorado in the Legends Classic up in New York, but the 72-61 setback a few days ago to UT-Arlington is going to sting for a while. Favored by 7½, the Longhorns were horrible from beyond the arc for a second straight contest and were manhandled on the glass by the Mavericks.

Both Teams 'Under' Winners In Early Going

Friday's matchup marks the first time in about 45 years the two schools have gone against one another on a basketball court, the Longhorns owning a 7-4 advantage in the 11 games played between 1947-72. The most recent SEC opponent Texas faced was rival Texas A&M in the opening round of last year's Battle 4 Atlantis, an 84-73 win for the Aggies. Alabama's last Big 12 foe was Iowa State in the semis of the 2014 CBE Classic, the Cyclones posting an 84-74 decision over the Tide.

Along with Alabama's 2-4 O/U mark on the total this season, Texas has trended strong to the 'under' as well with all five of its lined games never reaching the scoreboard tally. Going against tendencies like that is not something I normally do with my free NCAA basketball pick, but in this case, the total has been set a little low and my play will be the 'over.' My season record is 10-10 (-1.00 units).

NCAAB Free Pick: 'Over' 124

Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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