UAB vs. San Diego State Prediction, Odds and Key Players for NCAA Tournament First Round (Back the Blazers)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for UAB-San Diego State.

Mar 17, 2024; Fort Worth, TX, USA;  UAB Blazers forward Yaxel Lendeborg (3)reacts after receiving the AAC Trophy.
Mar 17, 2024; Fort Worth, TX, USA; UAB Blazers forward Yaxel Lendeborg (3)reacts after receiving the AAC Trophy. / Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

UAB was one of the key bid stealers in this year’s NCAA Tournament, snagging a March Madness bid with three wins in three days in the American Conference Tournament. No. 12 UAB, in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons, draws No. 5 San Diego State in the first round on Friday in Washington. 

San Diego State is trying to build off a run to the national championship game last season. The Aztecs are coming off a loss to New Mexico in the Mountain West Championship game. Does San Diego State have another deep run in them or is UAB fitted for Cinderella’s slippers? Here’s the betting breakdown of the first-round matchup with a best bet. 

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UAB vs. San Diego State Odds, Spread and Total

UAB vs. San Diego State Betting Trends

  • UAB is 20-12-1 ATS this season
  • San Diego State is 13-19 ATS this season
  • UAB is 11-2 ATS as an underdog this season
  • San Diego State is 11-14 ATS as a favorite this season
  • The OVER is 19-14 in UAB games this season
  • The OVER is 16-16 in San Diego State games this season

UAB vs. San Diego State How to Watch

  • Date: Friday, March 22 
  • Game time: 1:45 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Spokane Arena
  • How to watch (TV): TNT
  • UAB record: 23-11
  • San Diego State record: 24-10

UAB vs. San Diego State Key Players to Watch


Alejandro Vasquez: The 6-foot-4 junior guard averages 11.3 points per game but went on a scoring tear to get UAB into the NCAA Tournament. In the final two games of the AAC Tournament, Vasquez combined for 45 points on 18-of-29 shooting with six 3-pointers. He scored 29 points in the AAC Tournament final against Temple on Sunday. 

San Diego State 

Jaedon LeeDee: A TCU transfer who helped the Aztecs reach the national title game last season, LeeDee had never averaged double figures in a season before exploding for 21.1 points per game this year. He’s also the Aztecs’ leading rebounder, grabbing 8.4 boards per game. LeeDee combined for 81 points and 30 rebounds in three Mountain West Tournament games. 

UAB vs. San Diego State Prediction and Pick 

UAB’s offense was on fire in the AAC Tournament and they’ll have to have another great night to upset the defensive-minded Aztecs. 

San Diego State is No. 9 in KenPom in defensive efficiency and is No. 33 in effective field goal percentage. The Aztecs had the No. 1 scoring defense in the Mountain West this season, permitting just 66.6 points per game. UAB might be No. 233 in shooting 3-pointers, but only attempt triples at a 31.4% rate.

Over 53% of the Blazers points come from inside the arc and San Diego State is weaker at defending shots from 2-point range (No. 84) than on the perimeter (No. 84). UAB can create second-chance opportunities at a high rate, too. UAB is No. 22 in offensive rebounding percentage and get to the free-throw line at a top-25 rate in the country.

San Diego State has issues with foul trouble, committing the third-most fouls in the Mountain West.

Defensively, UAB has struggled to cause misses, though San Diego State has equally struggled shooting the rock. The Aztecs are No. 219 in effective field goal percentage and ranked last in the Mountain West in true shooting percentage (44%).

A team that can go cold is not one you want to back as a modest favorite, and UAB is 11-2 ATS as an underdog this season. Back the Blazers with the points. 

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Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.