Posted Monday, April 01, 2013 01:14 PM
I’ve been writing about college basketball consistently
since the Super Bowl, and there’s room for one last college hoops column this
week. No, I’m not going to break down
the NIT Final Four, the CBI ‘best of three’ series between Santa Clara and
George Mason, or the CIT Championship Game between East Carolina and Weber
State. This column is about the big boys!
Four teams have stood out above the rest on the biggest of
stages over the past two weekends: Michigan, Syracuse, Wichita State and
Louisville. Bracketologists might be
surprised that only one of the top twelve seeds made it this far, with a pair
of #4 seeds and a #9 seed joining the top overall seed Louisville in the Final
But bettors know that seeding is essentially meaningless,
especially when we’re talking about the bevy of quality teams in the Big Dance. That’s why we’ve seen lower seeded teams
favored on more than a handful of occasions here in the tourney, like when
Syracuse was the chalk against #3 seed Marquette, in one prominent example this
Only one team can cut down the nets in Atlanta next
Monday. This week, I’ll take a closer
look at all four squads, assessing their chances moving forward. Teams are listed from ‘most likely to win it’
to ‘least likely to win it.”
Louisville is the
Posted Monday, March 25, 2013 12:20 PM
The first weekend of the Madness is in the history books and
only 16 teams remain standing in the NCAA Tournament. The
two best conferences in the regular season – the Big Ten and the Big East -- proved
to be the two best conferences in the Big Dance, sending seven teams to the
Sweet 16 between them. The ACC and the
PAC-12 were the only two other conferences to send multiple teams onto the
second weekend of the Big Dance.
This week, I’ll be taking a look at the sixteen remaining
teams in the field; assessing their chances for continued tournament success as
the field gets reduced to the Final Four this coming weekend. Teams are listed in rotation order.
drawing comparisons to the UConn
team that won it all two years ago. The
Orange, like the Huskies, slumped down the stretch of the regular season. Like the Huskies, they came on strong in the
Big East tournament, rebuilding their confidence in the process. Also like UConn, Syracuse has all kinds of
NBA ready talent. Michael Carter-Williams, James Southerland and Brandon Triche
are all expected to be drafted this spring.
Don’t sell the Orange short just because their regular season record
Indiana had more
turnovers than assists against Temple last weekend, and were outrebounded by
the Owls; failing to sniff a pointspread ... [More]
Posted Monday, March 18, 2013 12:57 PM
With the madness that is March now in full swing, it’s time
to take a look through the brackets.
Today, I’ll offer a quick take on the 28 matchups already set for
Thursday and Friday. Games are listed in
the entire season losing close games on the road, falling in OT at UCLA and
Kentucky, while dropping games by three points or less at Tennessee, Arkansas,
Texas A&M, LSU and to Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament. Larry Eustachy got the most he could out of Colorado State’s talent level this
year, but the Rams, too, lost nearly every step-up game on the highway.
As a #3 seed, Marquette
is only a 3.5 point favorite over #14 seed Davidson; the shortest 3-14 pointspread in recent memory. The betting markets clearly respect the
Wildcats five upperclassmen starters that started 30 of their 33 previous games
together this season.
Butler has won at
least the first two games of every single postseason tournament they’ve played
since 2010, including runs in the Horizon League and A-10 conference tourney’s,
two runs to the championship game in the Big Dance and last year’s run to the
CBI semi-finals. Bucknell’s fellow Patriot League member Lehigh knocked off #2 seed Duke
in the first round last year.
eleven juniors and seniors on the roster, and they’re loaded with siz... [More]
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 09:46 AM
Part 1 of this article last week, I took a basic look at the profile of the
past 15 NCAA champions. From that profile, I was able to make a ‘short
list’ of potential champs in 2013, consisting of the following 15 teams: Florida,
Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Georgetown, Louisville,
Marquette, Syracuse, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Miami-FL and
However, since last week, one
of those 15 teams has been bounced from consideration. Syracuse’s late
season meltdown – four losses in their last five ballgames – has left them
above the seven loss cut-off line.
I’d still call the Orange a
‘live’ longshot – let’s not forget that fellow Big East member UConn in 2011
also lost four of their last five regular season games before reeling off eleven
consecutive wins in the Big East and Big Dance tournaments to win the
title. Then again, that 2011 UConn team is clearly the ‘exception to the
rule’ type of squad when we examine the last 15 title winners.
step in the elimination process is to look at the team’s records away from
home. The NCAA
championship is not won on a team’s home floor. Even with a favorable
location one weekend, a team is still going to have to win four ‘neutral site’
games in order to cut down the nets in Atlanta on April 8th. And the best
predictive evidence for future success in neutral or hostile environments is
Posted Monday, March 04, 2013 07:08 AM
Who Has What It Takes to Win the Big Dance in 2013?
History shows us many things about what it takes to be a champion. I write this article every year, and every year except for one, I have been able to identify the eventual NCAA national champion among my elite level teams. Last year was no exception. I pegged Kansas as my title team, and they made it all the way to the national championship game against Kentucky before falling short.
Past predictions do not necessarily indicate future success, but I’ll stand by my track record in this article. Remember, as always, this gets written before the regular season is over, before the conference tournaments, before the seedings are announced and before a single tournament game has been played.
I’ve nailed the winner of the NCAA tournament three times in the last six years, correctly predicting Florida in ’07, Kansas in ’08 and North Carolina in ’09. I did NOT predict Duke in 2010, and didn’t even have UConn in the discussion in 2011.
Here is a list of the last 15 NCAA champions and the teams they beat in the title game: Kentucky over Utah in ’98, UConn over Duke in ’99, Michigan St over Florida in 2000, Duke over Arizona in ’01, Maryland over Indiana in ’02, Syracuse over Kansas in ’03, UConn over Georgia Tech in ’04, North Carolina over Illinois in ’05, Florida over UCLA in ’06, Florida over Ohio State in ’07, Kansas over Memphis in ’08, North Car... [More]
Posted Monday, February 25, 2013 07:42 AM
It’s late February, and there’s still two more full weeks of
regular season action in college hoops before the madness truly begins. It’s too early to write about conference
tournament betting strategies – I’ll save that for next week. But it’s not too late to write about the bevy
of ‘dead’ teams that are populating the college hoops landscape right now;
teams that are lethargically playing out the string of the regular season. Sometimes, the sharp move is to lay big
points fading sorry teams.
Even bad teams have hope in November – the season is fresh
and new; teammates aren’t sick and tired of each other or their coaches, and
the nagging injuries haven’t started to pile up. And teams that get smacked around in
non-conference play for two months get an opportunity to regroup against
comparable competition when conference play begins in January.
But when things go south in conference play, it’s not easy
for many of these squads to continue competing at the same level they were
earlier in the season. By late February,
the final few weeks of the regular season are a meat grinder for struggling
squads, particularly those who have suffered from injuries and attrition,
leaving them banged up and shorthanded down the stretch. I call these squads ‘dead’ teams, and look to
bet against them at every reasonable opportunity.
Posted Monday, February 18, 2013 03:42 AM
I’ve done my last two columns breaking down aggregate season
long stats, examining the very best and very worst pointspread teams in all of
college basketball. Next week, the focus shifts towards conference tournaments
and the Big Dance. In between? This little doozy about how to make money
betting NCAA hoops in the always tricky month of February!
The key to late regular season college hoops for me has
always been about ‘morphing’ teams – squads whose long term numbers don’t match
their short term momentum – either positive or negative. There are quite literally dozens of such
teams right now, all of whom are at least moderately mispriced in the betting
markets these days, offering savvy bettors solid opportunities on a near daily
Who are some of these teams?
Why are they morphing now? Read
on to find out!
I’ll start with a handful of teams moving in the right
direction – from mediocre to good, or from good to great. Georgetown
certainly stands out on this list; a perfect 7-0 straight up and against the spread
in their last seven contests. The Hoyas
were never a bad team, but a 2-3 SU start in Big East play left them somewhat
undervalued at the same time that NBA lottery bound small forward Otto Porter
really stepped up into his ‘go-to-guy’ role during crunchtime.
But more... [More]
Posted Monday, February 11, 2013 12:33 AM
Last week, I took a look at the best pointspread teams in
all of college basketball, with the goal of assessing which teams were most
likely to continue their ATS success down the stretch. This week, I’m taking the opposite approach;
examining the very worst pointspread teams in college basketball. Why are they so bad against the spread? Will they continue to be overvalued as
February rolls into March? Let’s find
The single worst pointspread team in all of college
basketball this year has been IUPUI
(Indiana-Purdue, Indianapolis); the type of team that only wiseguys bet on or
against on a regular basis. At 5-17 ATS,
no team in all of college basketball has suffered more pointspread defeats than
the Jaguars this year. The Jaguars play
in the Summit League, on the added board in college hoops – exclusive territory
IUPUI has virtually no homecourt edge, covering just a
single pointspread at home all year.
They’ve been besieged with injuries and attrition; leaving them with a
rotation that goes only seven deep these days. Statistically, their two biggest weaknesses
really stand out: rebounding (-5 per game) and defense (49% shooting and 77
points per game allowed).
But the real question is why a team like IUPUI is at the very
bottom of the ATS standings. Todd Howard’s
squad wasn’t particu... [More]
Posted Monday, February 04, 2013 12:55 PM
The Super Bowl is in the rear view mirror after Sunday’s
wild Ravens victory, which can only mean one thing – college hoops is on center
stage for the next eight weeks. I’ve
been writing game previews for ESPN.com/Insider for the last month, but I’ve
yet to write a true ‘college basketball overview’ column for any publication so
far this season. That streak ends here.
I’m going take a look at the very best pointspread ‘regular
board’ teams in the country in this week’s column. The list of ATS juggernauts is likely to
surprise many people due to it’s diversity.
Elite level teams aren’t necessarily pointspread winners, and bottom
feeders can cash ticket after ticket if the betting markets set numbers that
allow them to hang within the number as big underdogs. Look no further than the single best ATS team
in the nation so far this season.
I’ll wager that less than a dozen people in the country knew
that Fordham is the #1 ATS team in all of D-1 basketball this year; 14-5 against
the number. The Rams are 6-16 SU, just
2-5 in Atlantic-10 play. This is nothing
new or different – the Rams went a combined 17-40 SU in head coach Tom Pecora’s
first two years on the job. They’re a
bad offensive team, hitting less than 41% from the floor for the season while
missing more than one out of three free throw attempts. They’re a mediocre def... [More]