Get your track shoes on. “SEC speed” isn’t limited to the football field. Saturday night’s battle in Tuscaloosa between the Gamecocks and Crimson Tide will be played at a brisk pace with plenty of offense. Which team will find themselves on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble on March 1? Leap Day’s Alabama vs. South Carolina preview, courtesy of The Gold Sheet:

Date/Time: 02-29-2020, 20:30 EDT
Opening Spread: Alabama -5
Opening Total: 159.5

With both sides clinging desperately to the Big Dance bubble, a possible absence of a key performer might loom large. Unfortunately for ‘Bama, that absence comes in the form of junior G John Petty, Jr. (15 points per game), who left with an arm injury in first half of Tuesday night’s game at Mississippi State. Petty was sorely missed as Tide lost and failed to cover in Starkville. And if Petty can’t make post at Coleman Coliseum, it could be edge South Carolina, which kept its NCAA hopes alive with OT fightback on Wednesday vs. Georgia. Frank Martin’s latest hero-for-a-night was unsung 6-7 soph PF Alanzo Frink, who obliterated his career-high with 22 points while cool frosh G Jermaine Cousinard nailed all five of his free throws in overtime en route to his eighth-straight double-digit scoring effort. South Carolina has covered eight of last ten games outside of Columbia.

Alabama vs. South Carolina Pick: South Carolina 78 – Alabama 74

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Betting college basketball in March is a lot different than betting it in November. What betting angles do you need to keep in mind as conference tournaments kick off next week? Host Kelly Stewart sits down with professional handicappers Tony Finn and Drew Martin to go over some of their favorite March Madness betting tips.

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