NCAA Tournament East Region First Four Picks: UAB vs. Clemson

2011 NCAA Tournament First Four – East Region
#12 UAB Blazers vs. #12 Clemson Tigers, University of Dayton Arena,  Dayton, OH
Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 9 pm Eastern, TV: truTV
Opening Line: Clemson -4.5
Current Line: Clemson -4.5
Opening Total: 119.5
Current Total: 121.5
Money Line: Clemson -210 / UAB +175

Vegas oddsmakers have made the Clemson Tigers 4.5-point favorites against UAB in the First Four.

The 12th-seeded Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (22-8) and 12th-seeded Clemson Tigers (21-11) were both controversial selections in the East Region of the NCAA tournament, but both of them will be able to prove themselves when the First Four gets underway at the University of Dayton Arena on Tuesday.  Neither team won its conference tournament, and each will be playing for the right to face #5 West Virginia on Thursday in Tampa.

Clemson (-4.5) nearly pulled off a victory last Saturday in the Atlantic Coast conference tournament semifinals that would have likely kept the team out of this play-in game.  But the Tigers blew a 14-point lead in the first half and lost in overtime to top seed North Carolina, 92-87.

Harrison Barnes burned Clemson with a freshman tournament scoring record of 40 points, connecting on 6 of 8 shots from beyond the 3-point arc, including the go-ahead basket with 4:13 remaining in the extra session to put the Tar Heels up for good.  The Tigers had led by as many as seven points in the last four minutes of regulation and will need to do a much better job of closing out their next opponent if they want to advance and meet the Mountaineers.

Top seed Alabama-Birmingham also failed to win an overtime game in the Conference USA tournament, falling to #8 East Carolina in the quarterfinals, 75-70.  The Blazers had beaten the Pirates 66-48 just five days earlier and were fortunate that the selection committee decided to take another team from the conference in addition to tournament champion Memphis, the #4 seed that edged #3 UTEP 67-66 in the title game on Saturday.

UAB ended the regular season with four straight wins and won Conference USA’s regular-season championship with a 12-4 record.  Clemson won three of four down the stretch before clobbering Boston College 70-47 in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament on Friday.  Without that impressive win over the Eagles, the Tigers probably would not be here in the First Four.

The UNDER has cashed in four of the last six games for both teams, with overtime pushing the total OVER in their most recent outings.  Clemson had scored 70 points or less in its previous seven games before losing to North Carolina while Alabama-Birmingham totaled less than 70 in its previous five games before the Conference USA tournament.  The UNDER has gone 17-10-1 for the Tigers so far compared to 17-11-1 for the Blazers.

Now that you have read this NCAA tournament betting preview featuring Clemson & UAB, check out the NCAA basketball odds on this and all the games to compare the best lines at multiple sportsbooks.

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