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Mike Spector shares his pick from Alabama vs Houston. Will Houston keep their win streak alive?

Houston vs Alabama Prediction: Will Houston Extend Their Win Streak?

Houston vs Alabama

When: Saturday, December 11 - 10:00 PM

Where to Watch: ESPN

Spread: Alabama -1.5

Click Here For Houston vs Alabama Odds

Houston vs Alabama Prediction

When the calendar hits January, we do not get as many opportunities for marquee non-conference matchups in college basketball, as conference play is in full swing then. Thus, we should enjoy these heavyweight matchups while we have them, starting with tonight’s colossal top 14 matchup between the No. 9 Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 14 Houston Cougars. These teams were No. 2 seeds in the NCAA tournament last year, and each looks destined for a high seed once again. Will Alabama earn its second colossal win in a row, or will Houston extend its winning streak to five games?

Houston’s lone loss came in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational, a two-point defeat to Wisconsin. Outside of that, the Cougars have won eight games, three of which have come against Power Five opponents (Virginia, Butler, Oregon). Houston is led by their outstanding trio of guards (Marcus Sasser, Kyler Edwards, and Tramon Mark), who average double figures. In addition, the Cougars rank in the top 12 in the country in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and are one of the country’s best offensive rebounding teams, securing 36.2% of their misses (ranks 23rd).

Alabama has had a week off since their colossal 91-82 win over Gonzaga. Their game against the Bulldogs was technically on a neutral court as it was played in Seattle, but the arena was full of Gonzaga fans, making Alabama’s win that much more impressive. The Crimson Tide were physical with Gonzaga’s guards, holding Andrew Nembhard and Rasir Bolton to a combined 13 points. In addition, they did a great job defending potential No. 1 overall pick Chet Holmgren, limiting him to ten points on 33.3% shooting. The Crimson Tide are 7-1 overall, with their only loss coming against the Rick Pitino-led Iona Gaels. Alabama also ranks in the top 23 in the country in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency and is the 12th-best two-point shooting team at 58.2%.

This game is an interesting clash of styles, as the Crimson Tide wants to push the pace (playing at the 22nd fastest tempo in the country), while Houston intends to turn this game into a half-court grind (255th in adjusted tempo). Houston’s stingy defense has bludgeoned their last four opponents, as they held three of the four to fewer than 50 points.

We have often seen slower tempo teams imposing their will, as it is easier to slow a team down than to speed them up. That is what we expect to happen here, where Kelvin Sampson’s bunch will take the Crimson Tide crowd out of the game with their deliberate play. Houston’s offensive numbers are exceptional given their slow tempo, as they rank in the top 35 in the country in 2-point and 3-point shooting percentages.

Much of what Alabama wants to do offensively is centered around Jahvon Quinerly’s ability to break down defenders and drive to the rim or kick to open shooters. Houston has the perfect foil for him, as their guards are some of the best on-ball defenders in the conference. This season, the only team to take Alabama out of their transition game was Iona, which happened to be the only game the Crimson Tide lost this year. Look for Houston to follow Iona’s blueprint in this road matchup.

While most of the public will eagerly back Alabama based off their high-profile win against Gonzaga, we prefer the “non-sexy” pick with the team quietly going about its business.

Houston is 6-2 ATS in their last eight games, and have the mettle to not be intimidated on the road by a top ten opponent.

Houston vs Alabama Pick

Article Author


Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest


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