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San Diego State vs. Alabama preview, picks for second round of 2023 NCAA Tournament

The Aztecs and Crimson Tide meet at KFC Yum! Center in the Sweet 16 of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Maryland v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The No. 5 San Diego State Aztecs will face off against their toughest opponent yet in the Sweet 16 as they take on the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide. The game will take place on Friday, March 24 at the KFC YUM! Center in Louisville. It will air on TBS at 6:30 p.m. ET. Alabama enters as a 7.5-point favorite.

No. 5 San Diego State (29-6, 15-3 MWC)

First-round result: Defeated Charleston, 63-57
Second-round result: Defeated Furman, 75-52
KenPom rating: 14 Overall, 24 Offense, 10 Defense
NET ranking: 14, (5-5 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Matt Bradley, 12.8 PPG
Key stat: Holds opponents to 60.1 ppg (5th in the nation)

The San Diego State Aztecs looked shaky in a messy win over Charleston in the first round but dominated a fan-favorite Furman team in the Round of 32. Their highly-ranked defense was on display in the second round as they outrebounded the Paladins 41-24 and held them to just 23% from the field.

Alabama will be the hardest team they’ve faced this tournament by quite a long shot. Furman’s first-round upset provided the Aztecs an easier path to the Sweet Sixteen, where they will face the No. 1 overall seed of the tournament.

No. 1 Alabama (31-5, 16-2 SEC)

First-round result: Defeated TAMU-CC, 96-75
Second-round result: Defeated Maryland, 73-51
KenPom rating: 3 Overall, 21 Offense, 3 Defense
NET ranking: 2, (12-5 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Brandon Miller, 19.5 PPG
Key stat: 26.2 bench points per game (24th in the nation)

Alabama is frighteningly good, blowing out two opponents back-to-back in a tournament that has seen multiple No. 1 and 2 seeds already out after the first weekend. Their depth is impressive — even when their top scorers aren’t putting up big numbers, they are still getting plenty of looks. Their defense is a major part of this — despite shooting under 40% from the field, they out-rebounded the Terps 44-32 and held them to 35% from the field.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Alabama -7.5
Point total: 137
Moneyline: Alabama -380, SDSU +240

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Alabama -7.5
Point total pick: Under 137
Pick to Win: Alabama

Alabama is on a roll, and SDSU won’t be able to outmatch them offensively, even if they can go toe-to-toe on defense. I like Bama to win big here.