#809 Alabama +5.5 over LSU 6:00 PM CT
LSU has certainly had some good fortune on its way to a 15-4 mark, rebounding nicely amidst lower expectations after a Sweet 16 season a year ago that was marred by controversy surrounding Will Wade. After a mediocre 7-4 start to the season the Tigers have won eight in a row including a perfect 6-0 start in SEC play. The noteworthy wins over Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Florida all came at home and all came by a grand total of five points combined. LSU has now won six straight games by no more than four points including an overtime win but will lay at least five tonight hosting Alabama.
Alabama is 12-7 behind new head coach Nate Oats who led Buffalo to NCAA Tournament wins the past two seasons. Alabama has won four straight games and has six top 100 wins in the last month for a nice run that puts the Tide into the NCAA Tournament conversation. Only the season opening loss came outside the nation’s top 100 and the Tide have four wins away from home this season. Alabama defeated Auburn and lost close games with Florida and Kentucky in matchups vs. top SEC contenders.
An Alabama offense that pushes the pace will go up against a LSU team that ranks 11th in the SEC in defensive efficiency despite the perfect record while Alabama is actually second in the conference. No team has been better in the SEC against 2-point shots while no SEC defense has been worse than LSU in defending the 3-point shot allowing over 27 percent. Alabama takes a great deal of 3-point shots and should have favorable looks in this matchup.
LSU’s ability to close out close games makes the Tigers a worthy favorite but given the slim recent margins vs. similar or lesser caliber teams the points are appealing in this rivalry that is usually much more consequential on the football field.
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