A stylistic contrast and a conference rivalry will serve as the backdrop of the 2023 NIT championship game Thursday when the UAB Blazers meet the North Texas Mean Green. Tipoff between these Conference USA foes is set for 9:30 p.m. ET from Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The clubs met three prior times this season. The No. 3-seeded Mean Green (30-7) won both regular-season matchups, but the No. 4-seeded Blazers (29-9) earned a measure of revenge with a 76-69 win in the C-USA tournament semifinals. The high-powered Blazers score at a clip of 81.3 points per game (No. 14 nationally), while North Texas boasts the top scoring defense in the nation at 55.7 points per game.
Tipoff is set for 9:40 p.m. ET from Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The Blazers are 2.5-point favorites in the latest UAB vs. North Texas odds according to Caesars Sportsbook. The over/under for total points scored is 129. Before making any North Texas vs. UAB picks, be sure to see the college basketball predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Div. I college basketball game 10,000 times. The model enters the Final Four of the 2023 NCAA Tournament 85-54 on all-top rated college basketball picks this season, returning more than $1,700 for $100 players. It also went 6-1 on top-rated picks during the first two weeks of March Madness. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has set its sights on North Texas vs. UAB and revealed its coveted picks and predictions for the NIT 2023. You can head to SportsLine to see the picks. Here are several college basketball odds and trends for UAB vs. North Texas:
- North Texas vs. UAB point spread: UAB -2.5
- North Texas vs. UAB over/under total: 129 points
- North Texas vs. UAB money line: UAB -150, North Texas +126
- UNT: The Mean Green are 12-3 against the spread in their past 15 games overall.
- UAB: The Blazers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games against opponents with winning records.
- North Texas vs. UAB picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why UAB can cover
A key motivating factor for the Blazers is the possibility of making history with the first postseason championship for the program. The best they have ever finished in the NCAA Tournament was a Sweet 16 trip under legendary former coach Gene Bartow, and they reached the semifinals of the NIT two other times but never reached the final. UAB was the pre-season favorite to win Conference USA, but ran up against one of the strongest overall seasons for the conference in recent memory. Florida Atlantic won the regular season at 18-2 before defeating UAB 78-56 in the conference tournament final. The Owls received a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament and are now this season's Cinderella story as they reached the Final Four.
North Texas finished the regular season at 16-4 for second place, two games ahead of UAB, and its regular-season sweep of the Blazers made the difference. But now the Blazers are focused on getting the final say in the conference rivalry and hanging a championship banner afterward. "We're looking forward to doing one thing that has never been done in the storied history of UAB basketball, and that is capturing an NIT championship," UAB coach Andy Kennedy told the media.
Why North Texas can cover
The Mean Green might have a feeling of invincibility following a second consecutive NIT contest in which they rallied to defeat a Power Five conference opponent. In a national showcase contest on Tuesday, they managed an improbable comeback that will be remembered as one of the biggest in program history. The nation's top-ranked scoring defense (55.7 points per game) looked more than vulnerable in the first half as the Badgers dissected it and hit shots with regularity. Behind five 3-pointers from Chucky Hepburn and other contributions, Wisconsin built a 41-29 lead against a North Texas club that appeared a little rattled on the big stage.
The North Texas comeback was a gradual climb, as it still trailed 54-46 with 9:08 remaining in the second half. The Badgers would never score again, amid a perplexing sequence of turnovers and missed shots down the stretch while the Mean Green whittled away at the deficit. Moulaye Sissoko gave North Texas its first and only lead at 56-54 with 2:08 remaining, and the Mean Green defense held Wisconsin scoreless on its final five possessions to close out the game.
How to make UAB vs. North Texas picks
The model has simulated the 2023 NIT championship and is leaning Over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 137 points. It also says one side of the spread hits nearly 60% of the time. You can only see that selection at SportsLine.
So who wins North Texas vs. UAB? And which side of the spread hits nearly 60% of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on Thursday, all from the computer model that has crushed its college basketball picks.