For our NCAA basketball pick Thanksgiving we look to the Advocare Invitational where 23rd ranked Xavier take on Alabama. Bama' is in rebuilding mode but I think they're getting too many points.
NCAA Basketball Oddsmakers have Alabama at a +10.5 underdog across the board like at Bookmaker -110. For one of my NCAA Basketball Pick today I'm going to back Alabama in this spot as I think this will be up and down affair in which they can hang with Xavier. This should be a very entertaining game.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama offensively is averaging 76.7 points per game, shooting 45.1% in the field, and 38.7% from beyond the arc. They are in a big rebuilding mode with new coach Avery Johnson but they do return a solid point guard in Retin Obasohan. I can see why they are a big underdog in this spot as Xavier has looked solid and Alabama got absolutely throttled at Dayton. But playing at the Flyers home-court is never an easy task so I am giving Alabama a bit of a flyer on that one, no pun intended. They don't have a ton of size and will play pretty small compared to Xavier but if they can get the tempo going I believe offensively they can hang in with this pretty large spread.
Defensively Alabama's allowing 79 points per game, 42.6% shooting from the field, and 40.3% from beyond the arc. That is not very good perimeter defense and is something I'm sure Coach Johnson will address. In short, this team has a long way to go on the defensive end but I predict they will not get blown out in this contest. If they can keep Xavier from getting too many extra chances like they did against Michigan they should keep this relatively close.
Xavier comes in averaging 80.8 points per game, shooting 41% from the field, and 35% from beyond the arc. Head coach Chris Mack has a nice squad and seems always come around in March. So far they have six guys averaging double figures led by sophomore guard Trevon Bluiett. They have been hitting the boards hard averaging 43.5 per game and limiting opponents to just 29 per game, this could be the point of contention against Alabama.
Defensively Xavier's allowing 68.5 points per game, 41.3% shooting from the field, and 37.4% from beyond the arc. They did a nice job at Michigan to come out with a really nice win limiting the Wolverines to just over 40% from the field. Where they dominated that game was on the glass 47-29. If they can repeat that same type of performance and get second chances Alabama could be in trouble. This game though I think is going to go up-tempo so there is good value in my opinion in grabbing the points with the Crimson Tide.
Avery Johnson is going to have a ways to go to get Alabama back into the fold to contend in the SEC. On the other side I am a big fan of Chris Mack and think he is one of the most underrated coaches in college basketball. With this game being on a neutral floor though, I think in this matchup Alabama can push some tempo to hang with Xavier and cover the double-digit spread. For one of your NCAA picks I recommend grabbing the points with the Tide.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Alabama Crimson Tide +10.5 (-115) at Bookmaker