Wichita State Home Cover vs. Alabama for NCAA Basketball Picks

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 8:36 PM GMT

This inter-conference rivalry features the SEC vs. the MVC as the Alabama Crimson Tide gear up to face the Wichita State Shockers tonight at 9:00 PM ET. Don't miss our NCAA basketball pick for this game. 

Alabama vs. Wichita State (-13) 9:00 ET ESPN2
This inter-conference rivalry features the SEC vs. the MVC.  Since this isn’t’ football, we have no trouble favoring a home standing Valley team on NCAA basketball odds, who has proven to be one of the best in the nation, when these two tip off at 9:00 ET at Koch Arena under the whirring cameras of ESPN.

Sixth year Alabama HC Anthony Grant has deep roots on the defensive side of the ball.  First as Asst. at Florida and later at VCU, as well as at Alabama, Grant has stressed a defense first concept.  Last year, his Crimson Tide allowed just 42% from the field and 31% from the arc. Those are numbers that normally point to a solid winning team.  But, the Crimson Tide offense was horrendous shooting just 44%, 33% from behind the arc while handing out only 11 assists per game.  When the smoke cleared, the Tide had gone 13-19 SU, 7-11 SU in SEC play.  It was Grant’s 1st losing season in 5 years, after recording 3 consecutive 20 win seasons in Tuscaloosa.  With the new season, has come a new offensive philosophy … push the pace and score the basketball.  In fact, they have scored 80 or more points in 5/8 of their games.  I was shocked when I first tuned in to Alabama in their game against Iowa St. Rather than slow the pace, they were choosing to run with the Cyclones.  As expected, it was the kiss of death in an 84-74 loss.  In Alabama’s only road game at Xavier, the same pattern was followed.  Running at Xavier resulted in a 97-84 defeat.  In those 2 contests, they allowed Iowa St. and Xavier to shoot 57% from the floor.  That’s bad news for Alabama fans, when they take to the floor against a very focused Wichita St. team.

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Under 8th year HC Marshall, Wichita St. has emerged as the mid-major program of the decade.  In the previous 5 seasons, Wichita has recorded 146 wins, capturing 25 or more victories in each of the seasons. Last year, Wichita St. was 35-1 SU, losing only to Kentucky (78-76) in the Sweet 16. Along the way, Wichita amassed a 25-7 ATS campaign.  In an era when the linemaker continues to over adjust from previous results, that is an amazing mark.  When they started the campaign, 5-0 ATS, it lifted the run to 30-7 ATS.  The Shockers last 2 victories have come by identical scores of 77-68 against Seton Hall (in which the Shockers let a 20 point lead slip away) and at Detroit (where they needed a late game spurt to put the game away). Neither of those defensive performances sat well with HC Marshall.  Expect a classic, smothering Wichita St. defensive performance tonight against the up-tempo Tide.  With veteran guards, VanVleet and Baker, controlling the tempo, Wichita will perform efficiently in the half court. Then there is the trademark late-game excellence of the Shockers that has characterized their ATS success.  For our free NCAA basketball picks tonight, look for them to close the back door and extend the margin against an Alabama team who is a notch below their usual defensive standards.

Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Wichita -12 at 5Dimes

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