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Alabama vs. Ole Miss
When and Where: Thursday, March 14, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn., 7 p.m. EST.
It’s essentially a must-win game for Alabama with regards to its NCAA Tournament chances as it faces Ole Miss in a second-round game of the SEC tournament on Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tide fighting uphill to get into NCAA Tourney field
Tenth-seeded Alabama (17-14) already has one strike against it with a sub-.500 conference record after finishing 8-10 in league play, and a late-season swoon with six losses in eight games entering this contest is a second which has largely voided a respectable NCAA Tournament resume.
The best of the best. 💪
1⃣7⃣-year-old Kira Lewis Jr. earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team.
All 🚫 Ball Donta Hall has been named to the All-Defensive Team.
— Alabama Men’s Basketball (@AlabamaMBB) March 12, 2019
The Crimson Tide have dropped three straight after an 82-70 loss at Arkansas on Saturday. Tevin Mack scored 14 points and Kira Lewis added 12, but Alabama committed 15 turnovers — four of them coming in the opening stages of the second half that wiped out the momentum in taking a five-point halftime lead.
“We’ve been talking about the same things all year long,” coach Avery Johnson told the Tuscaloosa News. “I’m the head coach, so I am 99.9 percent responsible. For that 0.1 percent, some guys need to take individual responsibility. Everyone that follows us from Tuscaloosa knows I’ve never blamed the players. But I’m hoping with our backs to the wall, maybe we will do it right.
“It’s probably good that we’re in the situation where we either win or go home. Maybe that’s just what this team needs.”
Alabama has averaged 15.7 turnovers in its three-game losing streak, an uptick from its season mark of 13.6 per contest. Senior forward Donta Hall has been a non-factor offensively the last two games, totaling just seven points while taking only six shots. He is averaging 10.6 points while shooting 63.8 percent.
Johnson’s team valued the ball far more in its only meeting with Ole Miss, rolling to a 74-53 home win despite shooting 38.5 percent as it committed just nine turnovers while forcing the Rebels into 16 that resulted in 23 points. Hall had 11 points and 10 rebounds while John Petty added 15 points off the bench.
Rebels looking to gain momentum for NCAA tourney
Ole Miss (20-11) has overachieved in Kermit Davis’ first season in Oxford, with the seventh-seeded Rebels in line for their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015. The turnaround from last season’s 12-win team earned Davis SEC Coach of the Year honors as he is on the verge of taking a third school to the NCAA Tournament after doing so with Idaho and Middle Tennessee.
— Ole Miss Basketball (@OleMissMBB) March 13, 2019
Ole Miss picked up a needed win for its psyche ahead of the SEC tournament with a 73-68 win at Missouri on Saturday in snapping a three-game losing streak. Breein Tyree scored 21 points and Devontae Shuler added 18 as the Rebels rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit and held the Tigers without a basket in the final three-plus minutes in its fifth consecutive game decided by five or fewer points.
Tyree, who is second in the SEC in scoring at 18.5 points per game, has a conference-best 17 games of 20 or more points. Terence Davis, who is seventh at 15.5 per contest, will try to bounce back from a seven-point effort in which he went 2 for 10 from the field.
The Rebels shoot 36.1 percent from 3-point range but were held to 30 percent in the loss to Alabama, hitting just 6 of 20. Ole Miss is shooting 32.8 percent from beyond the arc in road and neutral site games.
Ole Miss is:
- 18-6 ATS in its last 24 games as a favorite.
- 4-1 ATS in its last five neutral site games.
- 13-3 ATS in its last 16 games following a straight up win.
- The over is 6-1 in its last seven Thursday games.
- 1-7 ATS in its last eight games vs. SEC opponents.
- 1-6 ATS in its last seven games vs. above-.500 teams.
- 0-4 ATS in its last four games vs. above-.600 teams.
- The over is 5-2 in its last seven neutral site games.
- The over is 4-1 in its last five Thursday games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The hedge is the Rebels have sufficiently righted themselves with that win over Arkansas, one that for all intents and purposes put them in the NCAA Tournament. They should be playing for seeding at this point, which means Davis can turn his team loose in this contest.
If Ole Miss hangs onto the ball better than it did in the first game, it should win this contest going away.
Prediction: Pick: Ole Miss -2.5
Full-Game Total Pick
There is an expectation this line will tick higher between now and tip-off, so it would be good to jump on it early. It is also a confidence pick in the Rebels, who have scored more than 70 points in their last five straight games and six of seven. And as predicted, this line has moved two points higher before tip-off, increasing confidence in the over.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 141.5 points
Full-Game Prop Bet
This is a confidence pick in the Rebels remaining consistent on offense as they have scored between 71 and 76 points in their last five games. Ole Miss also reached at least 73 points in 12 of its 18 conference games.
Prediction: Pick: Ole Miss OVER 73.5 points
Half-Time Side Pick
Prior to rallying from an eight-point halftime deficit to win at Missouri, Ole Miss had led after 20 minutes in each game during its three-game skid. This is still about having confidence in the Rebels considering Alabama had opened a 16-point halftime lead in the first meeting in Tuscaloosa.
Prediction: Pick: Ole Miss -1.5
Half-Time Total Bet
Ole Miss had scored 35 or more points in the first half of four of five games before Missouri limited it to 26. The expectation is the Rebels will get back to that form in the first half in a slightly more up-tempo game and drag the Tide with them over the number.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 66 points
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Again, another confidence pick in the Rebels delivering offensively. They have scored 35 or more points in 11 first halves in conference play, while Alabama yielded 35 or more on six occasions.
Prediction: Pick: Ole Miss OVER 34 points