KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY, host the 2023 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen South Region participants as they all hope to advance to Sunday’s South Region Final, also known as the Elite Eight.
No. 5 seed San Diego State Aztecs begin Friday’s Sweet 16 South Region with a matchup against No. 1 seed Alabama Crimson Tide, followed by No. 15 seed Princeton Tigers facing No. 6 seed Creighton Bluejays.
OH Betting sports betting analyst Phil Naessens has the scoop on both Friday night contests and has a terrific Caesars promotion for Ohio sports bettors to enjoy.
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San Diego State Aztecs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
No. 5 seed San Diego State is a +7.5 underdog with a 137-point total when they meet top seed Alabama at 6:30 pm on TBS.
Phil’s Best Bet: Alabama Under 137 points -110 at Caesars.
Friday’s opening contest should be a defensive battle, and my best bet is Alabama Under 137 points -110 at Caesars.
- According to Kenneth Pomeroy, this contest features two of the most efficient defensive teams in the country–San Diego State allows the 25th fewest points per game while Alabama is 125th.
- San Diego State makes a high percentage of their two-point shots, but Alabama is among the top teams in opponents’ two-point percentage.
- Alabama relies upon the triple for 37% of its total points, but San Diego State is a nationwide 4th in opponents’ three-point shooting percentage.
- Under is 5-1 in Crimson Tide’s last 6 overall
- Under is 6-0 in Aztecs’ last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- Alabama’s leading scorer and rebounder Brandon Miller is expected to suit up Friday but has been hobbled by a groin injury–Miller was clearly affected by the injury in Saturday’s Round of 32 victories over Maryland.
Alabama may not be the most experienced team, but they are likely the best team in the country with a hobbled leading scorer and rebounder. Miller failed to score over 19 minutes in their opening round victory over Texas A&M Corpus Christi but gutted out 34 minutes against Maryland.
The strengths of each offense match the strengths of each defense, and the individual matchups will be fun to watch. Considering the Crimson Tide’s turnover issues and mediocre free-throw shooters, we see a low-scoring contest ending Under 137 points. Phil’s Best Bet: Alabama Under 137 points -110 at Caesars.
Princeton Tigers vs. Creighton Blue Jays
Princeton is a +10 underdog with a 140 total when they meet Creighton in the final Friday South Region contest at 9:00 pm on TBS.
Phil’s Best Bet: Creighton Under 140 -110 at Caesars
- Both teams play a below-average tempo, and there likely won’t be enough possessions to exceed 140 points.
- Creighton is the better shooting team of the two but is a lousy offensive-rebounding side, and second-chance points will be at a premium for the Bluejays.
- Both teams have below-average free-throw rates. Princeton is a below-average free-throw shooting team, but Creighton is a top-15 shooting team from the charity stripe.
- Under is 6-0 in the Tigers’ last 6 NCAA Tournament games
The Under is the only pick to make for this contest. Princeton relies far too much on the three-point shot, but they make less than 35% of those shots and face a Creighton defense ranked 5th in the Big East in opponents’ three-point shot percentage. Both squads lack solid offensive rebounders, which will prevent these teams from getting many second-chance points. Princeton shoots the ball late in the clock and will attempt to hold onto the ball as long as possible. Phil’s Best Bet: Creighton Under 140 -110 at Caesars