The SEC Tournament has nearly gone to form and, as a result, it will be the top-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide taking on the second-seeded Texas A&M Aggies in the title game. The Aggies reached the finals after taking out Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon. Alabama cruised into the title game after taking down Missouri on Saturday. The opening tap for the SEC Championship is scheduled for 1:00 PM EST.
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Aggies Look to Upend the Champs
Texas A&M is now one win away from capturing an SEC Tournament Title after a surprising season in which the Aggies went 15-3 in conference play. In the quarterfinals, the Aggies came back from a halftime deficit to take down Arkansas and followed that up with a convincing win over Vanderbilt in their semifinal win, 78-68. The game was nearly over by halftime as Texas A&M built up a 24-point lead and withstood a Vanderbilt charge in the second half to punch its ticket into the finals. The Aggies shot 60% from the field and 56% from 3pt range in the win. Wade Taylor IV led the way with 25 points, including 4-of-7 from 3pt range. In all, the Aggies went 10-of-19 from long range.
— Texas A&M Basketball (@aggiembk) March 12, 2023
Win or lose, the Aggies are in the NCAA Tournament but a win would certainly push them up the seedings. A&M met Alabama just once this season, picking up a 67-61 win at home in the season’s final game. The Aggies shot just 34% from the field in the win but held Alabama to 33% shooting. The game was decided at the free-throw line. While Alabama went 10-of-11 from the line, the Aggies went 27-of-28 from the line to give them a 17-point advantage at the charity stripe.
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One Win from a Double-Double
The Alabama Crimson Tide look to be completely back in form as they storm through the SEC Tournament. The Crimson Tide opened with a 23-point win over Mississippi State in the quarterfinal round and then took down Vanderbilt by 11 points in their semifinal win. Alabama led by just two points at halftime but pulled away in the second half. The Crimson Tide held the high-scoring Tigers to just 33% shooting from the field while shooting 49% themselves. Freshman phenom Brandon Miller led the Tide with a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds.
— Alabama Men’s Basketball (@AlabamaMBB) March 11, 2023
Alabama is in prime position for one of the #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. With a win, they also have an outside shot of being the #1 overall seed. To do so, however, the Crimson Tide will have to avenge a loss to Texas A&M in the last game of the season. The Crimson Tide struggled from the field, shooting just 21% in the first half and 33% overall for the game. Alabama could not keep from fouling the Aggies, committing 22 personal fouls and sending the Aggies to the free-throw line 28 times. Brandon Miller scored 19 points in the loss.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
While the Aggies are red-hot coming into this game with wins in 10 of 11 games, the Crimson Tide look to be playing like they were in running roughshod over the SEC and earning the nation’s #1 overall ranking for several weeks. Alabama has gone 2-0 ATS in the two wins in the SEC Tournament and the team’s defense looks to be in top form. Each of the first two teams has shot well under 40% from the field and Miller looks like the player that looked to be the favorite for Player of the Year for much of the season. The Aggies held Alabama in check in the season finale but their season numbers don’t match that. A&M was just 11th in the SEC in scoring defense and eighth in the opponent’s field goal percentage. Alabama is also the #1 rebounding team in the SEC and has been active on the glass in the tournament. Revenge is a good motivation as well so I expect the Crimson Tide to exact revenge in this matchup.
Prediction: Alabama -4
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Full-Game Total Pick
While Alabama moves at the second-fastest pace of play in the country, the Tide has gone to the under in both SEC Tournament games. Texas A&M, meanwhile, comes in with the 244th-ranked pace of play in the country and has played to the under in three of its last four games. Alabama finished the regular season with the third-ranked scoring defense in the conference and that has been evident in two tournament games where the Tide has held the opposition under 40% shooting. Both of these teams shot under 40% in the first meeting this season and I expect more of the same in the title game.
Take the under.
Prediction: Under 145.5