Alabama forward Herbert Jones (1) celebrates in the second half of a first-round game against Iona in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 20, 2021. Alabama defeated Iona 68-55. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
- The Maryland Terrapins play the Alabama Crimson Tide in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Monday
- The two-seed Crimson Tide had all they could handle from Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels in the first round
- See the odds, spread, analysis, and best bet, below
The second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament will continue in Indianapolis when the Maryland Terrapins (17-13, 9-11 Big Ten) meet the Alabama Crimson Tide (25-6, 16-2 SEC). Tip-off goes at 1pm ET.
The two schools have only met on the hardwood four times since 1950 with Maryland taking three of the games. The most recent was a thrilling Terrapin 58-57 victory back on March 26, 2013. The matchup opened with Alabama as a five-point favorite.
Maryland vs Alabama Odds
|Maryland Terrapins||+5 (-109)||+180||O 137 (-113)|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||-5 (-112)||-220||U 137 (-107)|
Odds at DraftKings as of March 20th.
It took a little longer than most bettors expected for Alabama to pull away from Iona in the first round but they came away with a win. They didn’t cover the 17-point spread but they did advance with a 68-55 win. Maryland had no trouble putting away the Connecticut Huskies 63-54 as they led almost the entire game.
Maryland Came to Play
The Terrapins came into their first round matchup with the Connecticut Huskies as 2.5-point underdogs. That number swelled to 4.5 points at some shops before tipoff, even though more than 60% of the wagers were said to be on Maryland. It appeared as if the sharps were on UConn but somebody forgot to tell Eric Ayala because he was a one-man wrecking crew.
AYALA CANNOT MISS.
Maryland is taking it to UConn right now 😳 pic.twitter.com/4rvDvikBUN
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 21, 2021
Ayala came into the game as the Terrapins’ leading scorer on the season, averaging 14.9 points per contest. He outdid himself in this one, going for 23 points on only 14 shots from the field including, 3-for-5 from three-point land. Ayala was a big reason why Maryland went ahead for good only minutes into this one.
Alabama is Unique
According to KenPom, the Crimson Tide are the seventh best team in the nation. They boast the number one defense in terms of efficiency (adjusted for opponent) and they play at the ninth fastest pace in the country. Led by the AP SEC Player of the Year, Herb Jones, the Crimson Tide present a unique problem for any team and they gave the Iona Gaels fits in the first round.
HERB JONES COMING THROUGH! 😤
The @SEC POY is taking over for @AlabamaMBB. #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/tcAsq4Dou8
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 20, 2021
It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies for Alabama, as Iona gave them all they could handle early on. The Crimson Tide only led by one at halftime but a completely different team seemed to show up in the second half. They outscored the Gaels by 12, holding them to only 23 points. Jones led all scorers dumping in 20 points for the winners.
Best Betting Angle
Bettors that watched the Alabama-Iona matchup should be able to point to the reason the Crimson Tide didn’t cover rather easily. Poor free-throw shooting by Alabama was the culprit. The Tide were only able to connect on 56% of their 23 attempts from the charity stripe which is far below the 72% they shot on the season. They fell only a few points short of the cover and a few extra makes from the free-throw line would have gone a long way.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
The total on this one seems very low for the pace that Alabama likes to play. Maryland wants to play a slow and deliberate pace but against elite offenses they have had trouble keeping that pace. As a result, in two matchups with Michigan they allowed the Wolverines to score 79 and 87 points. On top of that, they allowed the Iowa Hawkeyes to drop in 89 in their lone meeting back in January. If Alabama can get into the mid-70’s in this one, it is highly likely to go over the posted total.
The pick: Over 137 (-113)
John has spent the past 20+ years betting sports on a daily basis and is considered by many to be a walking sports betting encyclopedia. From obscure player props to sides and totals, if there is an angle, John will find it.