Beyond the numbers, one game shows the ceiling of this Alabama team. Down 15 points in the second half at Houston, they stormed back for the win.
In addition, their best player Brandon Miller didn’t have a basket in this game (8 points on 9 free throw attempts). Alabama’s ball movement was exceptional against an elite defense. This is the best win by any team in the nation.
On offense, coach Nate Oats follows the analytics and shoots the three. Alabama takes 47.5% of their field goal attempts from behind the arc. The freshman Miller is their best shooter at 39.5%.
Miller also has the athletic ability to get to the basket, and this combination of skills makes him a lottery pick in the next NBA draft.
Their second best shooter is probably Mark Sears, a 6’1” point guard who transferred from Ohio. Sears makes 35.4% of his threes, and he starts over Jahvon Quinerly, who has started the past two seasons for Alabama.
Overall, Alabama ranks 16th on offense by my adjusted points per possession. If they have a weakness, it’s taking care of the ball. Alabama ranks 114th in turnover rate adjusted for opponents.
Alabama is elite on defense, as they rank 2nd in my adjusted points per possession. They are due for regression, as they have held opponents to 28.1% from three, third best in the nation.
However, don’t expect Alabama to slip too much. They rank 1st in my adjusted two point field goal percentage. While big Charles Bediako certainly helps here, Alabama is doing this with freshmen like Miller, guard Jaden Bradley and big Noah Clowney.
In the tournament, Alabama has excelled. They hammered a good Maryland team to make the Sweet Sixteen without shooting particularly well (6-21, 28.6% from three).
Against San Diego State on Friday night, Alabama is a 7.5 point favorite. Models consider the entire season worth of data can’t quite get to this number. For example, Ken Pomeroy has Alabama by 6.
Members of The Power Rank have access a college basketball model that reacts more aggressively to recent performance. Alabama has a made a surge in this model over the past two weeks, and this model predicts Alabama -8.
This more aggressive model also has Alabama at 31% to win the national championship. If you think Alabama is playing over their head the past two weeks and will regress, then this is probably an overestimate.
However, you might think Alabama is surging at the right time. In addition, this San Diego State spread seems accurate. If so, my more aggressive model is closer to the truth. You should shop around for the best price, but my numbers see value at Wynn with Alabama +350 to win the national championship (22.2% break even probability).
Smarter sports betting in less than 5 minutes
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