When you sign-up through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >
Two of the top ten offenses in the nation face off in a rivalry game on Wednesday night!
The No. 8 Auburn Tigers head to hostile territory to battle the Alabama Crimson Tide. Additionally, the 14th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles hope to close the gap on UConn for first place in the Big East with a win against DePaul.
Find our best college basketball picks today for these two matchups below!
Date: Wednesday, January 24
Time: 7:30 pm EST
Moneyline: Auburn N/A | Alabama N/A
Leave it to head coach Nate Oats to run a high-octane offense! The Alabama Crimson Tide are again one of the best teams in the country (despite being unranked) due to their lightning-fast pace (25th in adjusted tempo) and incredibly efficient offense (first in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency).
The Crimson Tide average the third-most points per game (89.2), and that number climbs more than five points when they are on their home floor (94.8.) Further, they rank 13th in 3P% (38.9) but, again, the Crimson Tide elevate their game at home, shooting over 45% from deep in front of their own fans.
It isn’t just the three-point shot and pace that make this team competitive, though; they also rank fourth in eFG%, demonstrating proficiency in finishing. Additionally, Alabama ranks 29th in offensive rebounding percentage, using its lethal combination of size and speed to crash the glass.
However, there are a few weaknesses with this basketball team. First, they are not nearly as versatile on the defensive end of the floor as they were last year. As a matter of fact, Alabama ranks 67th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Last season, it ranked third in that same metric.
Of course, Alabama lost a lot of talent to the transfer portal and the 2023 NBA Draft, including Brandon Miller (second overall pick), Noah Clowney, Jahvon Quinerly, Jaden Bradley, and Charles Bediako. Quinerly transferred to Memphis to play for Penny Hardaway, while Bradley transferred to Arizona, one of the premiere programs in the country; Bediako, Clowney, and Miller were all NBA-bound.
The Tide returned two key contributors from last season’s squad: Rylan Griffen and Mark Sears. Sears posts close to 20 points, four rebounds, and four assists per game on a ridiculous 53/47/82 shooting split; he is one of the most efficient players in the country. Griffen has also taken a huge step forward, averaging double-digit points after scarcely seeing the floor during the 2022-23 campaign.
Alabama did a solid job bringing in talent in the transfer portal, including 6-foot-11 unicorn forward Grant Nelson and Hofstra scoring guard Aaron Estrada. The Crimson Tide roster four double-digit scorers, which should not be a surprise based on their exceptional offensive output.
There is little denying the previous unit’s defensive talent, but an overall decrease in effort and attention on that end of the floor has also contributed to their struggles at times. As a result, the Crimson Tide have failed to register any truly meaningful wins; they have lost to Tennessee, Arizona, Creighton, Purdue, Clemson, and Ohio State.
On the other side, Auburn looks like a legitimate title-contending squad after starting the season with a 16-2 record. Since losing to the Appalachian State Mountaineers on December 3rd, the Tigers have won 11 straight games, all coming by double-digits. Sure, the Tigers have not played the hardest schedule in the country by any stretch of the imagination; however, they have not played around with their food this year either.
The media picked Auburn to finish sixth in the SEC in the preseason. So far, the Tigers have not lost a game (5-0) in the conference. That could come to a close on the road against Alabama, though.
Even though Alabama’s defense is suspect at times, it steps up on its home floor, allowing 15.4 fewer points per game than on the road. Additionally, the Crimson Tide ranks 60th in the nation in opponent eFG% and 74th in opponent 3P% on their home floor.
Auburn has not been tested on the road yet this season; it won over Vanderbilt (186th in adjEM) and Arkansas (100th in adjEM) but lost to Appalachian State (78th in adjEM). The Tigers are a great home team, but they have been suspect on the road. The Crimson Tide should pull this one out.
Date: Wednesday, January 24
Time: 9:00 pm EST
Moneyline: Marquette N/A | DePaul N/A
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook. Head over to DraftKings Sportsbook to place your bets.
Marquette has had a strange 2023-24 campaign thus far, climbing as high as No. 3 in the nation before tumbling to 17th; it now stands at 14th after stringing together wins against Villanova and St. John’s.
The Golden Eagles brought back nearly every key contributor from last season’s team that secured a No. 2 seed to the NCAA Tournament and won the Big East regular season and conference tournament. The only player who didn’t return was Olivier-Maxence Prosper, who was drafted in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft.
The list of returners includes Kam Jones, Tyler Kolek, Oso Ighodaro, David Joplin, Stevie Mitchell, Chase Ross, Sean Jones, and Ben Gold, meaning that eight of the Golden Eagles’ top nine scorers returned for another season. There is simply no excuse for some of these mediocre performances.
Still, Marquette has the firepower offensively, albeit inconsistent, and defensive presence (11th in adjusted defensive efficiency) to win on any night, including against a brutally poor DePaul team.
The Blue Demons have logged merely three wins this season (3-15) and rank 279th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin; they are 0-7 in the Big East, and those three wins came against Louisville (195th in adjEM), South Dakota (317th in adjEM), and Chicago State (294th in adjEM). Yikes.
Further, DePaul is an extremely bad team against the spread, boasting a 5-12-1 record. Here are the results from a few recent Blue Demons’ games to similarly skilled teams as Marquette: a 38-point loss to Providence, a 25-point loss to Villanova, a 26-point loss to Creighton, and another 36-point loss to Villanova.
Laying 17 points in a conference game is risky business, but the Golden Eagles are riding some momentum, and the Blue Demons could hardly be worse. Additionally, DePaul is actually a worse three-point shooting team at home (33.2%), and it is one of the worst rebounding teams in the nation (332nd in total rebounding rate), which plays to Marquette’s strengths because rebounding is its primary weakness. The Golden Eagles don’t have t worry about the glass in this one.
Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.More info on Andrew Norton
© Rebel Penguin ApS 2024 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)
We support responsible gambling. 21+ Only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.
WSN.com is run by iGaming Cloud Inc (a Gaming Innovation Group Subsidiary) and is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.
Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.