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College basketball odds and betting picks for Tuesday (12/14)

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The 2021-22 men’s college basketball season is in full swing, and the nonconference schedule is loaded with matchups between the top teams in the country. Below is my analysis and favorite bet for Tuesday’s slate.

 

 

Alabama vs. Memphis

(Line: Alabama -3.5, DraftKings Sportsbook)

Memphis came into the season with all the hype in the world after Penny Hardaway locked up another loaded recruiting class including five-stars Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren to go along with his returning NIT championship squad. What made Memphis so scary was their elite defense, which finished last season as the top-ranked defense in the entire country per KenPom. To say things haven’t gone according to plan this season would be the nice way to put it, as Hardaway’s squad looks like a complete mess, dropping four straight, including losses to two very mediocre Georgia and Murray State teams. Issues with effort, role definition, jealousy and selfishness appear evident and the most concerning part are Hardaway’s comments to the media putting the blame on his players. I did have some concerns about the Tigers coming into the year and was a little lower than most as the roster construction and Penny’s coaching philosophy gave off the feeling of a glorified AAU team, but no one expected them to fall of a cliff as they did.

On the other side, Alabama is cruising along and look great coming off back-to-back wins over Gonzaga and Houston behind a physical defense and four-headed monster in the backcourt between Jahvon Quinerly, Keon Ellis, Jaden Shackelford and JD Davison. Schematically, what Memphis likes to do is pressure the backcourt, dominate the paint and the glass (12th nationally in offensive rebound percentage) and force turnovers (37th nationally in defensive turnover percentage) that will lead to their offense. Yet, Alabama’s elite backcourt won’t be bothered by the pressure, and they have the bodies in the frontcourt to compete in the paint, especially with Juwan Gary back in the rotation. Even on the road this is not a matchup to overthink with Alabama with a clear coaching advantage and trending in the complete opposite direction than the falling Tigers. I’ll gladly give the points.

The Pick: Alabama -3.5

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