South Alabama vs Louisiana Predictions & Odds for Sun Belt Championship Game
- Surprising South Alabama is a 1.5-point underdog to Louisiana in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Final
- The 2-seeded Ragin’ Cajuns have beaten the 8th-seeded Jaguars twice already this season
- See below for the latest Sun Belt Championship Final odds, plus analysis and best bets
Can the fun-run continue all the way to the dance for the South Alabama Jaguars?
After ripping off upsets in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament over top-seeded Southern Miss and 4th-seeded James Madison, the Jaguars (19-15, 9-9 Sun Belt) face off with the 2nd-seeded Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (25-7, 13-5 Sun Belt) in the tournament final.
The winner will grab the lone berth to the NCAA Tournament.
This matchup threw SBD’s projected March Madness bracket for a loop, as it picked the Marshall Thundering Herd as the SBC rep. The tournament’s 3-seed was bounced in the quarterfinals.
The Sun Belt Conference final goes tonight (March 6) at 7pm ET from the Pensacola Bay Centerin Pensacola, FL. You can watch the game live on ESPN2 and ESPN+.
South Alabama vs Louisiana Odds
South Alabama Jaguars
|+1.5 (-105)||+110||Ov 139 (-105)|
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
|-1.5 (-115)||-130||Un 139 (-115)|
The Cajuns are 1.5-point betting favorites and -130 on the moneyline, giving them an implied probability of 56.52% to take it all. The game also features a total of 139.
This will mark the third meeting between these teams, with Louisiana winning both previous matchups: 79-76 on January 14, and 74-64 on Feb24.
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Odds as of Mar 6 at DraftKings.
South Alabama vs Louisiana Betting Analysis
It’s been a wild ride for the Jaguars, who are coming off a 75-66 win over the James Madison Dukes in the semifinals, to punch their ticket into the winner-take-all Monday showdown.
Isaiah Moore led the way with 18 points, five boards and five dimes, while Owen White chipped in with 17 points and three boards. Just a game earlier, White went for 23 points and six boards, while Moore had 17 points and seven dimes as they spanked top-seeded Southern Miss 78-61.
𝗪𝗛𝗜𝗧𝗘 𝗕𝗔𝗟𝗔𝗡𝗖𝗘.@owenwhite_22 continues to deliver from long range for @SouthAlabamaMBB. #SunBeltMBB ☀️ 🏀 pic.twitter.com/aESHrnDMjP
— Sun Belt (@SunBelt) March 5, 2023
South Alabama’s top-flight defense — 83rd in KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric, holding teams to 65 points per game (43rd in the NCAA) and an effective field goal percentage of 46.3% (21st) — has been stellar all tournament.
They held Southern Miss to 37.3% shooting from the field and 4-for-17 from distance, and limited the Dukes to 39.7% from the field, and a paltry 2-for-16 from three-point range.
South Alabama vs Louisiana Head-to-Head
|8||Sun Belt Tournament Seed||2|
|71.1||Points per Game||78.3|
|65.0||Points Against per Game||69.9|
|46.3%||Opponent Effective FG%||50.5%|
How will they handle Louisiana? The Ragin’ Cajuns are the 3rd-highest scoring team in the conference, putting up 78.3 points per game.
Their semifinal showdown was against upstart 11th-seed Texas State — who bounced 3-seeded Marshall in the quarters — and they won a tight one 64-58. Jordan Brown was the high scorer, dropping 18 points, with six rebounds and two assists.
A day earlier, they put the clamps on the 7th-seeded Georgia Southern Eagles 67-49. Brown had 16 points and 13 rebounds in the win.
While they have only allowed an average of 53.5 points across two games this tournament, the Cajuns are a very capable offensive unit, ranking 59th in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric. They also led the SBC with a 37.5% mark from downtown.
South Alabama vs Louisiana Prediction
Neither school has figured in the NCAA Tournament odds, which is likely the case for teams who currently project to be no higher than a 14th seed.
The last head-to-head matchup, ULL’s 74-64 win, was a slog, and might be more of what we’re in for tonight.
South Alabama shot just 43% from the field, and 4-for-13 from beyond the arc, a 31% clip. Louisiana won the rebounding edge big, 39-25 , which helped cloak a terrible three-point shooting night themselves, where they hit 2-for-16.
With the kiss off the glass!
📊 https://t.co/ae6J36yhis#GeauxCajuns ⚜️ pic.twitter.com/LjufSxNp7J
— Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns® Men's Basketball (@RaginCajunsMBB) March 6, 2023
The Jaguars’ three-point defense is among the best in the nation, holding teams to 28.9% shooting, the 7th-best mark in the NCAA.
This also could come down to who comes up big in the clutch: Brown is the 3rd-leading scorer in the SBC, putting up 19.6 points per game. How he matches up with Moore, who was fourth at 18.5, could be a real difference.
Momentum, if you believe it, is clearly on South Alabama’s side, and they’ve been a good bet, going 8-1 against the spread in their last nine games. Rather than bet on the dream run to end, let’s stay with the total. ULL has hit the under in four of their last five, and with two strong defenses clashing, it’s the strongest bet available.
- UNDER 139 points (-115)
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