The first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament continues on Friday with a West region matchup at Viejas Arena in San Diego between the No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The game will tip off at 4:15 p.m. ET on TNT.
No. 6 Alabama: 19-13 (9-9 SEC): At-large
KenPom rating: 25 Overall, 13 Offense, 93 Defense
NET ranking: 30, (8-8 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jaden Shackelford (16.7 ppg)
Key stat: Alabama shoots 56.3% from two, good for eighth in the country.
Alabama is back in the big dance after a successful regular season campaign where it captured victories over the likes of Gonzaga, Houston, and Tennessee. The Crimson Tide did sputter a little bit towards the end, however, losing four of their last six games including getting bounced by Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament.
Bama has the 13th ranked offense in adjusted efficiency and will try to up the pace in this one to win.
No. 11 Notre Dame: 23-10 (15-5 ACC): At-large
KenPom rating: 51 Overall, 27 Offense, 97 Defense
NET ranking: 53 (2-8 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Blake Wesley (14.4 ppg)
Key stat: Notre Dame does a good job at protecting the ball, possessing a turnover rate of just 15.2%.
Notre Dame already had to fight this week to get into this one, surviving an 89-87 double-overtime thriller against Rutgers in the ‘First Four’ on Wednesday. This back-and-forth battle went down to the wire, where Paul Atkinson Jr. made the game-winning layup in the final moments of the contest to win it for the Irish.
Notre Dame is a Top 25 team in three-point shooting, so expect it to get things going from downtown to gain an edge.
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: Alabama -4
Point total: 152
Moneyline: Alabama -180, Notre Dame +155
Against The Spread Pick: Notre Dame +4
Point total pick: Over 152
Pick to Win: Notre Dame
The Irish got some luck the day before St. Patrick’s Day and it’s hard not to pick them the day afterwards. The NCAA Tournament can be about momentum and after Wednesday’s exciting double OT win over Rutgers, they certainly have it on their side. This will be a high-scoring affair on both side and expect Notre Dame to emerge victorious once again.
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