San Diego State vs. Alabama 2023 NCAAB Tournament Sweet 16 Odds & Picks: Deep Aztecs Can Hang Around

Matt Bradley San Diego State Aztecs Furman Paladins
Matt Bradley #20 of the San Diego State Aztecs dribbles the ball against the Furman Paladins on March 18, 2023. Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images/AFP.

The Picks

Back San Diego State at +7.5 and take the ‘Under’.

NCAAB Pick: San Diego State +7.5 (-110) at Bet365 

NCAAB Pick: Under 137.5 (-109) at BetRivers 

While two No. 1 seeds didn’t reach the Sweet 16 of the 2023 NCAA Tournament, No. 1 overall seed Alabama is alive and kicking as the Tide faces No. 5 San Diego State in South Region action on Friday from Louisville.

Here are our side and total picks with NCAAB odds from the top-rated online sportsbooks. 

San Diego State Aztecs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide 

Friday, March 24, 2023 – 06:30 PM EDT at KFC Yum! Center

This South Region Sweet 16 matchup between No. 5 seed San Diego State of the Mountain West and No. 1 Alabama of the SEC is shown by TBS on Friday. The winner takes on either No. 15 Princeton or No. 6 Creighton on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four, and that will be the Bluejays with all due respect to the surprising Tigers. 

It’s the first meeting between the Aztecs and Crimson Tide. To win the South, Alabama is the -150 favorite and should be favored. SDSU is +550 at the top-rated books. 

SDSU Goes 9 Deep 

Fifth-seeded San Diego State (29-6) is in its first Sweet 16 since 2004. Note that a No. 5 seed has never won the national title, and only SDSU and Miami are left standing among the No. 5 seeds in the Sweet 16 this year. That a No. 5 wins it all is +1600 on the NCAAB futures, while a No. 1 seed like Alabama is the +130 favorite. 

The Mountain West has had a terrible tournament with Nevada losing in the First Four and Boise State and Utah State both losing in the first round. San Diego State is the first Mountain West team to reach the Sweet 16 since Nevada in 2018. It’ll be the third regional semifinal appearance for the Aztecs and the seventh for the Mountain West overall. 

Players’ Chemistry Has Been the Key

The Aztecs had no trouble with No. 13 seed Furman in the Round of 32, winning 75-52. Four SDSU players scored in double figures after only Matt Bradley did in Round 1. Micah Parrish had 16 points, Darrion Trammell 13, Lamont Butler added 12 and Bradley finished with 10 against the Paladins. 

“They play the right way, they’re for one another,” Coach Brian Dutcher said. “Most teams can’t play this deep a bench and have great chemistry. We have incredible chemistry playing a nine-man rotation and that’s been key to our success. We play selfless, we play together and we’re all about winning.” 

Indeed, Dutcher does go about nine deep, although he was able to empty his entire bench against Furman. In the first rounds, SDSU reserves are outscoring their counterparts 51-19. SDSU also has dominated in paint scoring in both games, outscoring Charleston 38-26 and Furman 40-16. The Aztecs won’t have the height advantage this time but are defensive oriented.  

During their six-game winning streak, SDSU’s opponents have averaged just 85 points per 100 possessions. By comparison, Tennessee is ranked first in adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom and held its SEC opponents to 92.6 points per 100 possessions this season. 


  • Aztecs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall. 
  • Aztecs are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Friday games. 
  • Aztecs are 12-3-2 ATS in their last 17 games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record. 
  • Under is 14-3 in the Aztecs’ last 17 overall. 

Alabama Playing Like Top Seed 

This a reminder that no team seeded No. 1 overall has won the NCAA title since Louisville in 2013 but the Tide are +360 favorites. You can also bet at FanDuel which No. 1 seed goes further: Alabama (-145) or Houston (+110). To reach the Final Four, the Tide would obviously need to win this game and then presumably beat No. 6, Creighton. Houston would have to beat ACC regular-season champion Miami and then either No. 2 Texas or No. 3 Xavier. Yeah, I’d take Alabama. 

Some Tide backers were a bit worried when SEC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year Brandon Miller was scoreless in just 19 minutes of Round 1 dealing with a groin injury, but he looked better in Round 2, a 73-51 rout of No. 8 Maryland. Miller had 19 points and seven rebounds in 34 minutes. Miller is now the +375 favorite to win Final Four Most Outstanding Player. 

Jahvon Quinerly added 22 points for the Tide vs. the Terps and Charles Bediako had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Alabama’s margin of victory in its two games in Birmingham was 21.5 points per contest and including two of the five top margins of victories in the program’s tournament history. Obviously, it was a huge-Alabama crowd not far from campus in Birmingham. It should be more of the same in not-too-far-away Louisville. 

Dictating the Pace

Bama is in its ninth Sweet 16 all-time and second in the last three years Coach Nate Oats is 10-3 in 13 postseason games while at the helm in Tuscaloosa. 

Which team will dictate the pace here? Alabama is one of the fastest teams in the country, ranking fifth nationally with nearly 73 possessions per game. San Diego State is at the opposite end, ranking No. 263rd with 65 possessions per game. SDSU is 22-2 when holding opponents below the 70-point mark. Alabama is 29-1 when scoring at least 70 points. That loss was to offensive juggernaut, Gonzaga. 

These teams do have a common SEC opponent. Alabama was 2-0 vs. Arkansas this year, while the Hogs beat San Diego State 78-74 in OT on Nov. 23 at a neutral site. The Aztecs can hang within a TD here.


  • Crimson Tide are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 NCAA Tournament games. 
  • Under is 5-1 in Crimson Tide’s last 6 overall. 

The Picks

Back San Diego State at +7.5 and take the ‘Under’.

NCAAB Pick: San Diego State +7.5 (-110) at Bet365 

NCAAB Pick: Under 137.5 (-109) at BetRivers is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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