A long drought will come to an end for one team in the March 14th LSU vs Alabama meeting for the SEC tournament championship. Alabama hasn’t worn the conference crown since 1991, and it’s been even longer than that for LSU, 1980. Oddsmakers like the #6 Crimson Tide by -6.5 points on Sunday afternoon.
LSU isn’t scared to be an underdog, they were +3.5 on Saturday vs. #8 Arkansas and left with a 78-71 win. It doesn’t look like the Tigers match up too well with the Crimson Tide though, losing 60-78 at Alabama (+8.5) and 75-105 at home (+1). It’s a championship game though, is 6.5 too many points?
Can Tigers Match Up?
LSU went 5-2 down the stretch after their most recent loss to Alabama on February 3rd. Counting their two tournament wins that’s 7-2 over the last 9 so LSU is playing pretty well at the right time of the year.
LSU showed a lot of depth in their 76-73 win over Ole Miss to open up tournament play. SEC leading scorer Cam Thomas (22.6) was his usual great self with 18 vs. the Rebels, but Trendon Watford led the team with 24 while Darius Days had 20 points and 12 rebounds. Thomas had 21 to end Arkansas’ 9-game win streak by the score of 78-71 and this time Javonte Smart added 19.
That’s good offensive output, but then again LSU ranked 2nd in the SEC and 10th in the entire country putting up 82.7 ppg. Days, Watford, and Smart all averaged 14+ ppg to go with 22+ for Thomas. That’s a lot of reliable guys in case one player struggles in this third game in as many days.
Alabama Set to Run Away Here?
While LSU was in such a physical matchup on Friday vs. Ole Miss that Thomas bled on coach Will Wade, the Crimson Tide were able to stroll to an 85-48 stomping of Mississippi State. Having that energy on reserve helped the Crimson Tide battle back from a 15-point second half deficit against Tennessee on Saturday to advance to the March 14th LSU vs Alabama championship game.
Thomas is a great scorer for the Tigers, but the Crimson Tide have the conference player of the year in Herbert Jones. He had just 8 points in the opener, but also played only 19 minutes since the Tide were up 47-19 at the half. Jones’ full talents were on display vs. the Vols with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Jones averaged just 10 and 6 on the season, and three other Alabama players score 12+ on the season.
Nate Oats’ team has to have confidence in the matchup with LSU after beating them by a combined 48 points in two games this season. The Tigers were playing without Days in the previous matchup, and it showed as they were outrebound 51-35. Back in the January meeting Alabama set a conference record by hitting 23 three-pointers.
Free March 14th LSU vs Alabama Pick
Nobody could blame you for banking on a Crimson Tide blowout on Sunday, especially if their shot falls like it did in the first meeting with LSU. Alabama was bad enough to get down by 15 vs. Tennessee though (yes, also good enough to come back), and the Tigers have some top-level scoring. They at least keep this one close.
Alabama 76 – LSU 73
Free Pick: LSU +6.5