The 10th-seeded Maryland Terrapins are set to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in a highly touted round of 32 matchup. Both teams are coming off of impressive first-round victories and will matchup fairly well on Monday night. Alabama has been playing great basketball all year but has a few holes that Maryland can take advantage of. If they're able to do so, the Terrapins may very well make this a ball game. I'm putting this game on upset alert. It’s time to continue the NCAA odds series and make a Maryland-Alabama prediction and pick.
Here is how the sportsbooks set the odds for this game.
NCAA Odds: Maryland-Alabama Odds
Maryland Terrapins +6 (-115)
Alabama Crimson Tide -6 (-105)
Over 138 (-115)
Under 138 (-105)
Why Maryland Could Cover the Spread
Let's not get it twisted, the Maryland Terrapins were not looking like a very good team entering the tournament. They had finished the season on a 1-3 SU run and looked like an easy win for the Connecticut Huskies. They put a damper on that as they came out red hot in their 63-54 upset win. Defense was the major difference in the first-round victory. The Terrapins locked UConn down all game, allowing the Huskies to shoot just 32.3% from the field and 30.4% from three. If Maryland plays this level of defense consistently, watch out!
Maryland had a solid game on the offensive end as well, shooting 51.2% from the floor and 9-18 from beyond the arc. The Terps have a friendly matchup in the second round as Alabama finished just within the top-150 in scoring defense. The Terrapins offense lives and dies on the success of guard Eric Ayala (15.2 ppg). He had a great game against UCONN, scoring twenty-three on 8-14 shooting. Aaron Wiggins and Donte Scott also shot the ball well and will need to come up big for Maryland tonight. Maryland only turns the ball over 11.2 times per game, which is a crucial stat when evaluating this matchup. If they can hold onto the ball and improve on the boards, the Terrapins have a real shot of knocking off the Crimson Tide.
Why Alabama Could Cover the Spread
The Alabama Crimson Tide had one of its best seasons in recent history. Expectations are high for the Tide as a second-seed and conference champion. Alabama is coming off of a solid 68-55 win against Iona after trailing at one point in the first half. Herb Jones led the offense in Saturday's victory with twenty points on 8-15 shooting. He picked up the slack for Jaden Shackelford (14.2 ppg) and John Petty Jr., who combined for twenty points on 7-20 shooting. These two have been crucial for the Tide and will need to bounce back against the stingy Terrapins.
Alabama's had great success in 2021, thanks in large part to its monstrous advantage on the boards. The Crimson Tide average 40.5 rebounds per game, which is one of the best marks in the land. They abused Iona on the boards, out-rebounding the Gaels by sixteen in the win. They also grabbed 13 offensive-rebounds and were too sure to capitalize. If they continue to rebound at such a high rate, it will be difficult for anyone to stick around. For a team that averaged nearly 80 points per game this season, it will be crucial for ‘Bama to play with a balanced attack against Maryland on Monday night.
Final Maryland-Alabama Prediction & Pick
As I've mentioned time and time again, I love the hot teams that have nothing to lose. The Maryland Terrapins fit that mold and will bring an added boost into Monday night's game. The Crimson Tide have been beatable all year and have major holes on the defensive end. Maryland will smother Alabama on the defensive end and will be sure to put an emphasis on securing the boards. If they can shoot at a high clip again, look for a Terps upset victory. Regardless, they will keep this game within five points and force the Crimson Tide to will their way to the Sweet Sixteen.
FINAL MARYLAND-ALABAMA PREDICTION AND PICK : Maryland +6 (-115)