The UAB Blazers are early 1-point favorites over North Texas in the early betting for Thursday’s NIT championship game. The total on the game is 126.5. UAB will be -120 on the moneyline.
The championship game will be hard-pressed to match the excitement of the semifinals, where both games were decided by two points. It’s considered a minor tournament, but the NIT has provided a lot of excitement for those who partake in NCAAB betting. The UAB vs North Texas odds suggest another close finish could be on hand in the championship game on Thursday. The game will be televised by ESPN2 at 9:30 p.m. ET from Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Overtime was needed to decide the winner of the UAB vs Utah Valley. The Blazers jumped out to an early 10-point lead, but the Wolverines chipped away at the lead and forced the overtime session. UAB had an off shooting night, hitting just 39.7% on 2-pointers. The Blazers were better from 3-point range, going 7 for 16 (43.8%) to help seal the victory. The Wolverines had a few more turnovers and the rebounding battle was pretty even.
The Blazers were pushed for the second straight NIT game. After winning its two opening games by an average of 23 points, UAB finally pulled away from Vanderbilt in the final minutes of a 67-59 win. The UAB defense allowed 60 points or fewer in each of its first three games. Utah Valley scored 74 points in regulation of the semifinal matchup.
The Mean Green also have had to work the last two games to reach the NIT finals. North Texas needed overtime against Oklahoma State to reach the semifinals and then held the Badgers scoreless the final 6:47 of the game to get the 56-54 win on Tuesday. The Mean Green allowed just 13 points in the second half. Early on, it was all Wisconsin. The Badgers led 38-24 at one point and 41-29 at the half.
North Texas hit 56% of its 2-point shots but was just 30.4% from 3-point range. But the Mean Green did hold their own on the boards against Wisconsin, which played a large role in getting the win. North Texas can be a hard team to figure out. Ken Pomeroy has North Texas rated No. 33 in his power ratings. The Sagarin college basketball ratings have North Texas ranked No. 51.
Handicapping the Game
The UAB vs North Texas odds indicate two solid defensive teams. UAB is ranked No. 52 in adjusted defensive efficiency ratings. North Texas comes in at No. 18. The Blazers are No. 45 in adjusted offensive efficiency compared to the Mean Green’s No. 75 ranking. But the big difference between the two teams is pace. North Texas ranks No. 363 in adjusted tempo. UAB is ranked No. 31. The team that can dictate the style of play will have an advantage.
The Blazers shoot the 3-pointer well. But they don’t shoot many of them, electing to get the ball inside. UAB ranked just No. 239 in 2-point field goal percentage. The Blazers are pretty good from the foul line and one of the top teams in the country at snagging offensive rebounds. North Texas is equally strong against the 2-pointer and 3-pointer. The Mean Green rank in the top 20 defensively against both. North Texas can force some turnovers, but are average in preventing offensive rebounds.
The Mean Green rank No. 79 in 3-point field goal percentage. But North Texas is just No. 220 in 2-point field goal percentage. However, the Mean Green are No. 32 in the nation in free throw percentage. The Blazers are in the top 60 in defensive field goal percentage against both the 2- and 3-pointer.
The UAB vs North Texas odds might be showing a little too much respect to North Texas’ defense. The total is low, especially for a UAB game. The Blazers do like to push the ball and do it well. North Texas will try to slow things down against the UAB defense.
The NIT title game is a good one for college basketball betting. This game appears to be one that could go either way. But the total is a bit on the low side and the over 126.5 is the way to bet this one.
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