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Alabama vs. Virginia Tech - NCAA First Round - 3/15/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Alabama Crimson Tide (19-15) at Virginia Tech Hokies (21-11)

College Basketball: Wednesday, March 15, 2018 at 9:20 pm (PPG Paints Arena)

The Line: Virginia Tech Hokies -2 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: TruTV

We have some NCAA tournament first round action out of the East Region as the #9 seed Alabama Crimson Tide take on the #8 seed Virginia Tech Hokies in a college basketball matchup from the PPG Paints Arena on Thursday.

The Alabama Crimson Tide come into the tournament as a #9 seed in the East region, receiving an at-large bid after finishing the year 19-15, including an 8-10 SEC conference mark that saw the Tide finish with the #9 seed in the conference tournament, starting a magical runs with a second round win over Texas A&M before a quarterfinal victory over top-seeded Auburn that saw the Tide go from 10 points down at halftime to opening the second half on a 28-3 run and not looking back. Alabama’s conference tournament run ended with a semifinal loss to eventual conference champion Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. Alabama had a decent run out of conference, posting wins over Memphis, UT-Arlington, BYU, Louisiana Tech and fellow NCAA tournament team and top-25 ranked Rhode Island. Freshman phenom Collin Sexton led Alabama with an average of 19 points and 3.5 assists per game while Donta Hall led the Tide in rebounding with 6.8 boards per game this season. As a team, Alabama is scoring 72.4 points per game on 45.8% shooting from the field, 32.5% from behind the arc and 67.2% from the foul line this season.

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Alabama vs. Virginia Tech - NCAA First Round - 3/15/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies got their hands on an at-large bid as the #8 seed in the region after finishing the year with a 21-11 overall record, including a 10-8 record in conference play, good enough for the #7 seed in the ACC tournament, where the Hokies made a brief appearance, losing their opening game in the second round to Notre Dame. The Hokies hung points on some pretty stiff competition out of conference, winning games over Iowa, Mississippi ad Washington, putting up 90 or more points in 7 of their first 10 games this season. Justin Robinson led Virginia Tech in scoring and distribution with averages of 13.8 points and 5.6 assists per game while Chris Clarke led Virginia Tech on the glass with an average of 6.5 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Virginia Tech is scoring 79.7 points per game on 49.8% shooting from the field, 38.5% from behind the 3-point line and 71% from the foul line this season.

Alabama is 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games while the under is 14-6 in their last 20 games overall. Virginia Tech is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games overall while the under is 9-0 in their last 9 games overall. 

I personally think that the Crimson Tide match up better with the Hokies than most teams give them credit for. Alabama has guys like Donta Hall, Dazon Ingram and Braxton Key to negate Virginia Tech’s advantage on the glass. Between two teams that like to push the pace and get up and down the floor, the difference for me is Sexton, because if he can keep up the same kind of play that we saw in the SEC tournament, Alabama could bust a couple of brackets. I’ll take the free bucket with Alabama here.

__________________________________________________Win $1,000,000 playing fantasy football this week. Draft your team and take a shot at cashing out on Sunday! Sign up today (T+C’s apply)__________________________________________________

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