It’s a great Wednesday around college basketball and two games clearly stand out from the rest: No. 1 Alabama at No. 10 Tennessee in the SEC and No. 16 Xavier at No. 11 Marquette in the Big East. Let’s break each down on the NCAAB odds.
Top NCAA Basketball Betting Picks For February 15: Bet Tennessee, Xavier In Top 25 Matchups
No. 1 Alabama at No. 10 Tennessee (-2.5)
When: Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Where: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville
Time: 7:00 PM EST
TV: ESPN 2
SEC game tips at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Crimson Tide reached No. 1 in the AP Poll on Monday for the first time since the 2002-03 season and the top of the USA Today poll for the first time ever yet find themselves as underdogs in their first game as such at an excellent Tennessee team.
Two of the best defenses in the nation will square off as both defenses rank as the top-two in holding their opponents to the lowest effective field goal percentage this season (No. 1 Tennessee, 40.7 percent and No. 2 Alabama, 41.1 percent). During SEC play, Tennessee leads the league in scoring defense (58.6 ppg), free-throw percentage (.762), assists per game (16.1) and assist/turnover ratio (1.41).
The Tide are led by maybe the nation’s top freshman in Brandon Miller. He has won SEC Freshman of the Week for the sixth time this season, tying the program record set by James “Hollywood” Robinson in 1991. Miller leads the SEC in points per game (18.8). He is the only player in Division I to score 470 points, record 200 rebounds and make 75 three-pointers this season.
The Tide come off a 77-69 win at rival Auburn on Saturday to remain undefeated in SEC play at 12-0 which is just behind the 1955-56 program-best 14-0 record in league play. Additionally, the Crimson Tide are 22-3 on the season which matches the 1975-76 team for the best record in school history after 25 games played.
The Tide are one of three teams and the only Power 5 team left this season with an unbeaten record in conference play (Oral Roberts in the Summit and Eastern Washington in the Big Sky). Alabama has won 10 SEC games by double digits, which is the second-most in program history (The 1955-56 team won 11 SEC games by double-digits.) Alabama is 14-12 against AP Top 25 teams during Nate Oats’ tenure. Tide center Charles Bediako’s status is uncertain for Wednesday’s game because of a minor knee injury. He is averaging 5.6 points and 5.3 rebounds while leading the team with 41 blocked shots.
Tennessee (19-6, 8-4 SEC) is coming off a second consecutive one-point loss, as the Vols fell to Missouri at the buzzer Saturday, 86-85. Wednesday marks just the third Top-10 matchup in the 36-year history of Thompson-Boling Arena and second this season. On Jan. 28, No. 4 Tennessee defeated No. 10 Texas, 82-71, while on March 2, 2019, No. 7 Tennessee defeated No. 4 Kentucky, 71-52.
Alabama is the eighth different program to face the Vols while ranked No. 1, joining Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, Ohio State, Memphis, Kansas and Gonzaga. The Vols have won five straight home games vs. AP top-10 teams. Tennessee has five all-time wins over teams ranked No. 1 in the AP poll.
Tennessee trails the all-time series with Alabama, 70-82, dating to 1914. This is one of only two SEC series in which UT does not hold the advantage.
No. 16 Xavier at No.11 Marquette (-6)
When: Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
Time: 7:00 PM EST
TV: CBS Sports Network
Big East game at 7 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network with both battling for the conference title. Xavier looks for the season sweep as it beat Marquette 80-76 on Jan. 15. The game featured seven ties and 10 lead changes. With the game tied at 72-72, the Musketeers finished the game on an 8-4 run. Xavier went 1-for-1 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the foul line during the run, highlighted by six points from Souley Boum. He and Jack Nunge led Xavier with 16 points each. Boum added six rebounds and five assists. Nunge pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
Xavier scored nine more second-chance points (17-8) than the Golden Eagles. Both teams scored 13 bench points. Marquette held an 11-7 advantage in point off turnovers and scored two more points in the paint (42-40).
Xavier leads the Big East in four major offensive categories: first in the nation in assists per game at 20.6 apg., fourth in the nation in overall field goal percentage (.500), second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (.401) and ninth in the nation in scoring offense at 83.2 ppg. XU is second in the Big East and eighth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.59.
Boum, XU’s leading scorer at 16.1 ppg. (tied for fifth in the Big East), sixth among active career scorers in NCAA Division I with 2,255 points. Boum, who leads XU and is fourth in the Big East in assists at 4.9 apg., leads XU and is third in the BIG EAST (26th in the nation) in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.73-to-1.0.
Picked to finish ninth in the preseason coaches poll and without a player on the all-conference roster, MU (12-3) is currently in sole possession of first place in the Big East. Marquette’s last regular-season league title came in 2012-13 (shared with Louisville and Georgetown) and the team also claimed the Great Midwest Conference championship in 1993-94 and the Conference USA crown in 2002-03.
Guard Tyler Kolek currently leads the league and is second in the nation in assists per game (7.7). He is just the fourth player in Marquette’s history to dish out 200 assists in a season (see below) and has already surpassed his season total from 2021-22 (188). In the last five games, Kolek leads the team with 17.6 points per contest and has combined to shoot 51.7 percent (31-of-60) from the floor overall and 10-of-20 (50.0 percent) from behind the 3-point line. He has also averaged 7.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds per outing.
The Golden Eagles own a 55-27 overall lead against Xavier.
Tennessee and Xavier ATS
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