The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday with two of the “First Four” play-in games in Dayton, Ohio (9:00 p.m. ET, truTV).
The late game on Tuesday has two No. 12 seeds meeting as UAB (22-8 SU, 17-11-1 ATS) faces Clemson (21-11 SU, 13-13-2 ATS). The winner of this game will meet No. 5 seed West Virginia on Thursday.
You can make a case that neither Clemson nor UAB belongs in the NCAA Tournament. UAB is a huge shock to be in the tournament since the Blazers lost in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament.
They were not even really considered a bubble team but the NCAA Tournament selection committee make a questionable call by putting UAB into the field. The Blazers’ only win of note this season came against VCU which is another questionable tournament selection – VCU plays USC in one of the play-in games tomorrow.
Of course, UAB is certainly capable of pulling off an upset. The Blazers play solid defense as they allow just over 62 points per game. They are led by seniors Jamarr Sanders and Aaron Johnson. They also have Cameron Moore who had 13 double-doubles this season.
Clemson is not a great team either. The Tigers rely on defense to win games and were ninth in the country in defensive efficiency. The Clemon defense is led by 6-foot-8 senior Jerai Grant who leads the team in rebounding and blocked shots.
Clemson’s offense, on the other hand, is simply not very good and they struggle to score against quality teams. The Tigers are led by senior guard Demontez Stitt who averages 14.7 points and 3.4 assists per game.
The Blazers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games as an underdog. The Blazers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 non-conference games. The Blazers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven vs. the ACC.
The Tigers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games overall. The Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven Tuesday games. The Tigers are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 neutral site games as a favorite.
The under is 7-1 in the Blazers’ last eight non-conference games. The under is 4-1 in the Blazers’ last five NCAA Tournament games. The under is 9-3-1 in the Tigers’ last 13 overall. The under is 5-0 in the Tigers’ last five non-conference games.
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