HomeSports BettingBasketball BettingNIT Championship – UAB vs North Texas Odds, Predictions

NIT Championship – UAB vs North Texas Odds, Predictions

If the saying ‘defense wins championships’ holds true we might as well hand the 2023 NIT trophy to the North Texas Mean Green. The national leader in scoring defense, UNT stifled Wisconsin in the semifinals, holding Bucky scoreless over the final nine plus minutes to overcome an eight point deficit to earn a 56-54 victory. The D won’t surprise their opponent in the title game since UNT and Alabama-Birmingham both reside in Conference USA and have already played three times. The Mean Green won and covered both regular season games with UAB triumphant in the C-USA tournament. The Blazers tallied 88 points in their semifinal win over Utah Valley and own the 10th best scoring offense setting up an interesting championship in several ways.

The NIT championship game will air live on ESPN2 at 9:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 30, 2023 from Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

NIT Championship Game Odds

UAB Blazers -1.5

North Texas Mean Green +1.5

Over/Under 128

Season Story

There won’t be any with this being the fourth meeting, and for the most part the games have been close which is why the opening line has UAB -1.5. UAB has one of the top offenses in the country averaging 81.1 points to rank 10th nationally and although they didn’t hit their average in any game against UNT they did average 77.5 points the last two games, which is nearly 22 points per game more than what UNT allows, and the teams cashed the OVER in those contests. The Blazers are hot right now, too, winning 12 of their last 13 games with the only setback to Final Four participant FAU in the conference title game. They are 9-4 ATS in that span.

North Texas continued the best season in program history extending its record for wins to 30 by beating Wisconsin in the semifinals as a 1.5-point favorite. And the secret to their success isn’t much of a secret. During their postseason run UNT held five of six opponents to fewer than 60 points allowing an average of 57.2 points. In the one that got away, the Mean Green yielded 76 points to UAB in the C-USA tournament. UNT definitely knows they can beat UAB having done it twice already with two different styles. The Mean Green won the first meeting 63-52 holding the Blazers to 36 percent shooting. They had an offensive outburst to win the second matchup 82-79, though it took overtime.

UAB Blazers

With leading scorer Jordan Walker going for 32 points, the Blazers had no problem penetrating the iron fortress of UNT’s defense in the C-USA tournament. Only four times this season has UNT conceded more than 70 points in a game and the Blazers own half those. Walker had 20 points and UAB scored the most points the Mean Green have allowed, though it took overtime and UAB lost, 82-79. Still, they seem to have the right combination to attack and score against the No. 1 defense.

Scoring hasn’t been an issue for the Blazers, and as they showed against Utah Valley the points can come from anywhere. Walker is the main guy, though, averaging 22.3 points for the year. He missed the first game between the clubs and the offense suffered scoring a season-low 52 points. Walker tallied at least 20 in each of the other two games and averaged 26 points in them.

North Texas Mean Green

I’m just not sure UNT has enough offense to compete against a wildly athletic opponent. And if they can’t get a handle on Walker this one could get out of control in a hurry. Based on the three previous meetings I don’t think that’s going to happen. When facing a team for the fourth time it’s about self scouting, and the Mean Green will take a look at why they struggled to defend in the last two games against UAB. They also need to find someone that can stop Walker.

UNT will likely have to score more than their 64.2 average to win and that will be difficult if Abou Ousmane isn’t available. The big man missed the last three games and his status is unclear. He’s averaging 11.1 points and a team-best 6.0 rebounds. Moulaye Sissoko has done a nice job defensively filling in, but he’s not the offensive threat. Tylor Perry and/or Kai Huntsberry need to have a big game for the Mean Green to be champs.

UAB vs. North Texas Prediction

The Blazers cracked the code on UNT’s defense and their up-tempo approach isn’t going to change. UAB is also solid defensively holding four of seven postseason opponents to 60 points or less. Walker has been the biggest difference in the previous games and UAB doesn’t seem to have an answer for him.

NIT Prediction: UAB Blazers -1.5 / OVER 128

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Jake Flynn
Jake Flynn
Senior writer for Writes NBA, NCAA basketball, MLB, UFC and daily fantasy sports articles.

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