Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#805 Maryland vs.
#806 Alabama
Saturday, March 18, 2023 at 9:40pm EDT
Written by Chris King


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It’s a second-round clash from the South Region of the NCAA Tournament as a member of the Big Ten takes on one from the SEC down in the Yellowhammer State. The eighth-seeded Maryland Terrapins battle the top-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide with a berth in the Sweet 16 on the line Saturday night. Maryland held off ninth-seeded West Virginia 67-65 in their first-round matchup Thursday afternoon, winning outright as a 2.5-point underdog. Alabama rolled past 16th-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 96-75 in their first-round matchup Thursday afternoon, failing to cover as a 24-point favorite. In the all-time series between the teams, the Terrapins own a 3-2 advantage but it was the Crimson Tide prevailing 96-77 in a second-round East Region matchup in the NCAA Tournament at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in the most recent meeting March 22, 2021.

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Maryland Terrapins Try to Earn Spot in Sweet 16

Maryland was in a hole early but rallied to take down ninth-seeded West Virginia in their first-round matchup Thursday afternoon. The Terrapins enter this game 22-12 overall and went 11-9 in the Big Ten on the season. Against West Virginia, Maryland couldn’t get things going early on, giving up an early 17-2 run to trail 19-6 midway through the first half. The Terrapins rallied to lead by two at the half, led by as many as seven early in the second half, and gave up a 16-0 run to trail by nine with 15:08 to play. Maryland trailed by three with 5:51 to play before going on an 8-0 run to go in front 64-59 with 2:47 to go. The Terrapins didn’t let the Mountaineers even again en route to the win. Maryland shot 51.1% from the field, including six of 18 from three-point range, and held the Mountaineers to 39.3% shooting in the game. Julian Reese led the Terrapins with 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the win.

The Terrapins enter this game slightly below average in scoring offense as they are 206th with an average of 70.3 points per game. Maryland is 252nd in rebounding with 33.6 boards a night and 307th in assists by dishing out 11.5 dimes per contest. The Terrapins are above average defensively, ranking 26th in scoring defense as they allow 63.2 points a night. Jahmir Young leads the team with 15.9 points plus 4.7 rebounds a night this season. Julian Reese (11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds) and Donta Scott (11.5 points, six rebounds) each average in double figures. Hakim Hart (11.6 points, 4.2 rebounds), Don Carey, Ian Martinez, Patrick Emelien and Jahari Long are looked at to contribute for coach Kevin Willard. Maryland shoots 45.1% from the floor as a team this season. The Terrapins are connecting on 6.8 threes per contest while shooting 33% from beyond the arc. Maryland is above average at the stripe as the team is converting 73.7% of their chances at the free throw line this season.

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Crimson Tide Looking to Live Up to Lofty Seeding

Alabama rolled past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in their first-round matchup to cruise into the second round of the tournament and they look to keep things rolling here. The Crimson Tide improved to 30-5 overall and finished the regular season 16-2 in the SEC. Against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Alabama jumped in front 9-0 just over two-and-a-half minutes into the game and led wire-to-wire. The Crimson Tide led by 20 at the half and by as many as 24 in the game as they rolled to the victory. Alabama shot 47.1% from the floor, including 15 of 33 from three-point range, and held a 48-44 advantage on the boards in the win. Nick Pringle led the Crimson Tide with 19 points and 15 rebounds off the bench in the victory.

For the year, Alabama is averaging 82.2 points per game this season, putting them 5th in the nation in scoring offense. The Crimson Tide collects an average of 44.4 rebounds per game (1st in the country) while they dish out an average of 15.2 assists a night. Alabama is surrendering an average of 68.5 points a night this season, putting them 132nd in the country in scoring defense. Brandon Miller leads the team in scoring with 19.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest. Mark Sears (12.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists) is one of two other players scoring in double figures on the year. Noah Clowney (10.1 points, 7.9 rebounds), Jaden Bradley, Nimari Burnett, Rylan Griffen, Jahvon Quinerly, Noah Gurley, Charles Bediako and Nick Pringle are among those who have to step up offensively for coach Nate Oats. The Crimson Tide is decent when it comes to shooting the ball as they are hitting 44.6% from the field as a team on the year. Alabama knocks down an average of 10.1 three-pointers a night while sinking 33.8% from beyond the arc. The Crimson Tide is slightly above average at the charity stripe as they convert 72.6% of their chances at the line.

Miller (groin) was injured in the SEC Tournament title game against Texas A&M on Sunday. He was scoreless in 19 minutes Thursday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi but is expected to take the floor in this contest.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Maryland survived a slow start to get past West Virginia but an opening 10 minutes like they had Thursday here could put them in a hole that they would be unable to dig out of against the Crimson Tide. The Terrapins played some stout defense against West Virginia to get through but they were helped by getting the Mountaineers in foul trouble, opening up the interior for easy buckets. Alabama hung 96 on the board with their best player going scoreless while playing just 19 minutes. Granted, Maryland is better defensively than Texas A&M-Corpus Christi but the Crimson Tide have plenty of depth, as evidenced in Thursday’s win. It also helps that they are playing in their home state. Look for that depth to make the difference as Alabama prevails to advance to the Sweet 16.

Prediction: Alabama Crimson Tide -8.5

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Full-Game Total Pick

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Maryland has seen the under post a 22-11-1 mark in their 34 games with a posted total this season. The Terrapins are 59th in effective field goal percentage defense (47.8%), 71st in two-point defense (47.4%) and 103rd in three-point defense (32.4%) on the season. Maryland is a slow-paced team as they are 322nd in the nation in tempo with an average of 64.4 possessions per game. Alabama has seen the under post an 18-16-1 mark in their 35 games on the year. The Crimson Tide is 19th in offensive efficiency, 61st in effective field goal percentage (52.9%), and 30th in offensive rebounding percentage (33.8%) while they are prone to turnovers as they are 229th in turnover percentage (18.7%) this season. Alabama loves to run as they are 5th in the country in tempo with 72.7 possessions a night. The Crimson Tide get their share of points but the total is a couple of points too high for teams that are above average defensively, especially if Maryland controls the tempo. Lean to the under in this contest.

Prediction: Under 144.5

Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.