There is no replacement for actually watching the games. My name is Matty D. I am a college basketball junkie. And, although I respect big data stat gurus like kenpom.com, this website is the antithesis of that. Talk hoops with me and tell me what you've actually seen. What players step up in clutch situations? Which coaches make the right adjustments? Who disappears when the lights get bright? The "college basketball eye test" is a chat dedicated to storylines bubbling below the surface before they become national trends. Check the first-ever article I wrote on this website. I listed UCONN as one of 5 underdogs I could see winning the NCAA title. They did. Last season Darren Rovell tweeted visual proof of how I predicted upset victories for UAB and Georgia State together. Watch the games and join the conversation. Tweet @CBBEyeTest and have your observations added to the mix!
Princeton Tigers Remain a Live Dog +10 Against Creighton
It might seem counterintuitive, but Creighton has struggled at times this season to defend the post, and Princeton is rolling right now as it exposes the paint against other bigger teams. It will be interesting to watch whether 6-8 Ivy League Player of the Year Tosan Evbouomwan gets matched up against Ryan Kalkbrenner, or some of the smaller but very skilled defensive wings for the Creighton Bluejays. Either way, taking 10 points with Princeton feels like the best value based on what we’ve seen.
Arkansas Razorbacks +4 Against UCONN is a Slam Dunk
This is where we start to follow the trail that led us here. What teams have these teams beaten to get here? Arkansas handled Illinois, another evenly ranked team. Then, they knocked off the #1 seeded defending champion Kansas Jayhawks in dramatic fashion mounting a comeback in the final minutes.
On the flip side, the UCONN Huskies beat an Iona team that had its coach clearly on the way out (see Rick Pitino). Then, they beat a St. Mary’s team that was probably the most vulnerable top 25 team in terms of its propensity for serious droughts on offense.
Taking Texas on the moneyline against Xavier
If you haven’t caught the trend, I don’t think that more than one team from the Big East will make the Elite 8. Texas put out the fire on a red hot Penn State team and looked superior doing it. Xavier struggled at times against 14 seed Kennesaw State and then again against 11 seed Pittsburgh on its third game in five days. Sure, Xavier won by several possessions, but if you watched the game you noticed that Pitt hung around. Senior (Graduate) starting guard Souley Boum struggled on offense and was held scoreless for a majority of the game. I think you’re starting to see the liabilities for Xavier and its lack of depth with Zach Freemantle unavailable for the tournament. It’s awesome to see coach Sean Miller back on the basketball sidelines, but I just don’t see him in the Elite 8.
So many giants have fallen, that the price for a ticket on any top team has increased. Houston and Alabama are now in the 4-1 or 5-1 territory with Arizona, Purdue and Duke all already eliminated.
Best NCAAB Future Values Remaining for March Madness – Sweet 16 Edition
Princeton Tigers 200-1 to Win Championship, 40-1 for Final Four
As miraculous as Princeton’s Sweet 16 run has looked, we have seen this movie before. The Tigers didn’t only beat Missouri in the round of 32, they dominated them. Ever since Princeton put on the gas pedal and blew past Arizona in the 15-2 matchup, the Tigers have had major swagger. This team is looking like the Dunk City Florida Gulf Coast team that shocked the world as a 15 seed. This type of upset is also becoming an annual tradition with 15 seed St. Peter’s going on an Elite 8 run just last season.
Florida Atlantic 50-1 to win NCAA Basketball Championship
This is the bizarre situation where an underdog actually becomes the heavy favorite. Depending on which sportsbook you visit, Florida Atlantic became anywhere between a 12 to 15 point favorite to beat Farleigh Dickinson in the round of 32.
Creighton 10-1 to win NCAA Championshop
The Bluejays competed last year in the Sweet 16 against eventual champion Kansas and this year they thoroughly routed another Big 12 team, in Baylor. Creighton’s odds to win it all have surged from 25-1 to 10-1, but could still be a great value for a team that has all the ingredients.
The chaos of March Madness doesn’t have to swallow you, or your modest sports betting budget, whole. Check out my top 5 tips to enjoy sports betting March Madness with some moderation.
Tip #1: Bet the Futures
Betting the futures is a great way to prolong your enjoyment of March Madness.
Tip #2: Shop around
If you like an udnerdog to actually win the entire tournament, shop around for the best price. You might be surprised to see the wide discrepancy. For example, an 8 seed that I like to win the National Championship is 75-1 at one casino, but 125-1 at a casino right across the street. Even on a five dollar bet, that can cost you $250!
Track injury updates, get under-the-radar analysis, and learn some fun facts about this year’s 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Links our top 5 trending articles are listed below.
BY MATTY D.
Filling out this year’s bracket was like putting my hand to a ouija board. I would have never expected having throwback teams like Memphis, Kentucky and Michigan State in this year’s Sweet Sixteen within one region. Alas, here is how my bracket revealed itself:
College basketball blogger Matt DeSarle (ie. yours truly) will return to Las Vegas for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic to track trends and hunt value during this March Madness. Follow on YouTube for sports betting tips and fun human interest stories. He will also be updating these articles to keep you up-to-date on these top 5 storylines.
It’s often said that “this year’s tournament will be unlike any other.” While that is always true, this March it will especially be the case. The 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will feature a high number of mid-major teams and a wide spectrum of ages. This tournament will feature kids who reclassified in high school to start playing college hoops at 17 years-old. Conversely, this will be one of the only tournaments you’ll ever see so many 24 and 25 year-olds (not to mention 26-year-old DeAndre Williams).
The week before Selection Sunday gives clarity on college basketball’s rising and falling stock.
BY MATTY D.
On the morning of Thursday, March 9th CBS Network bracketologist Jerry Palm had Michigan in and Rutgers out. Mississippi State was also on the edge of the March Madness bubble. And as quickly as games could tip on that day, the tournament landscape shifted again.
Michigan lost to Rutgers by 12 points, effectively losing its place on the bubble.
Conversely, Rutgers raised its stock on the right side of the bubble.
In the SEC, Mississippi State effectively punched its ticket with a close win against the Florida Gators. The Bulldogs will now play Alabama where it’s academic who wins. Both teams should be tournament teams.
Oklahoma State is another bubble team that couldn’t pop through its own glass ceiling. The Cowboys lost in the 7 vs. 2 matchup against Texas in the Big 12 Conference Tournament. With Joe Lunardi listing them as one of the last four in, this loss almost certainly ensures they’ll show up as an 11 seed in a play-in game (if at all).
The ACC has a similar dynamic on its hand. None of its “bubble teams” are seizing the moment. Clemson, UNC, and Pittsburgh are all showing their warts within the final chapter of conference play.
Mid-major teams take care of business as bubble teams drop the ball
The team that is remiss from the bubble conversation on both Palm and ESPN bracketologist’s Joe Lunardi’s projection mid-way through Championship Week was Florida Atlantic. The Owls were a mainstay in the Top 25 before getting into the meat of its own difficult Conference USA schedule. They avoided this bubble conversation because they simply took care of business. Having only 3 losses on the season, FAU had slowly risen out of bubble talks and into the 9 or 10 seed on projections. Having played the likes of a talented North Texas and UAB squad, FAU’s regular conference season was not without its NET-boosting opportunities. The few losses that the Owls had suffered were respectable. The Owls were also able to upset the aforementioend Florida Gators in one of its few Quad 1 opportunities. FAU was still battling for its conference title heading into the weekend, but looking solid for an at-large bid regardless. Another mid-major team that took care of its business was College of Charleston. The Cougars went into Championship Week also as a 3 loss team. Joe Lunardi had them out of the tournament if it weren’t for a conference championship. But the Cougars took care of business. They beat a respectable challenger in Towson during the quarterfinals then capped off the crown with a win against UNCW. Teams like College of Charleston and FAU should be seen for what they are. They are hardened by a conference schedule where they were the hunted. And they survived. These teams should be much more fear than a fledurling Michigan or Wisconsin “bubble team” from the Big 10. (Wisconsin lost to a pathetic Ohio State team in the conference tournament).
Mountain West climbs towards five tournament teams as Selection Sunday nears
Utah State is considered a bubble team, although Aggies fans shouldn’t worry. Very rarely does a team within the top 25-30 of the NET not make the NCAA Tournament. This year, their losses are a lot more justified with the Mountain West ranking higher than the ACC in a lot of categories. Conference mate Boise State is also technically on the bubble line, although the Broncos are in a similar power position. Utah State could be the fifth tournament team from the Mountain West, joining Boise State, San Diego State (regular season champions), New Mexico and Nevada or San Jose State.
Other news and notes from NCAAB’s Championship Week:
Baylor is officially in damage control mode after getting swept this season by the Iowa State Cyclones of all teams. ISU beat the Bears three times total this season, including a conference tournament win Thursday afternoon in Kansas City.
Marquette messed around and was losing to 8 seeded St. John’s at halftime before conference player of the year Tyler Kylek and the Golden Eagles came back to win.
UCLA got great contributions from Amari Bailey and Adem Bona in their PAC-12 Tournament win against a fiesty Colorado Buffs program. Bailey and Bona are going to be crucially important as the Bruins just lost Jaylen Clark, likely out for the season.
March Madness 2023 is underway and this article is tracking the most important injuries to monitor. That includes watching how teams are adjusting after losing stars. Don’t fill out your 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket before checking on the health statuses here!
BY MATTY D.
The new headline is to track the status of a starting guard for the odds-on favorite to win the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Marcus Sasser missed the AAC Championship game against Memphis and is questionable going forward.
Unfortunately, this update also comes as one of the best players on one of the best teams just tore his ACL. Zakai Zeigler, the 5-9 spark plug for the Vols offense and defense just suffered the injury on the eve of March. Despite the cruel turn of events for this surging sophomore, he took to Twitter with a very positive message:
Aside from Zeigler’s major injury, there are many student athletes still in recovery mode. Here are the top 11 injuries to monitor while those players are nursing different ailments. See more of a summary of how this affects each team in alphabetical order below.
Top Injuries to Monitor across College Basketball
To recap, here is a top 10 list (plus some) of the most important injuries to monitor:
14. Jett Howard – Michigan guard 13. Chucky Hepburn – Wisconsin guard 12. Moussa Cisse – Oklahoma State center 11. Anthony Anderson III – Oklahoma State guard – – – – – – – – – PROJECTED CUT – – – – – – – – – 11. Nijel Pack – Miami guard 10. Efton Reid III – Gonzaga center 9. Federiko Federiko – Pittsburgh center 8. Kendrick Davis – Memphis guard 7. Timmy Allen – Texas forward 6. Ben Vander Plas – Virginia forward 5. Zach Freemantle – Xavier forward 4. Keyonte George – Baylor guard 3. *Jaylen Clark – UCLA wing 2. *Zakai Zeigler – Tennessee guard 1. Marcus Sasser – Houston guard
In the case of 2 of the top 3 injuries here, there is no chance for a recovery. Both Jaylen Clark and Zakai Zeigler are *out for the remainder of the season. In these and similar cases, we are monitoring the team adjustments instead of the personal recoveries.
Players recently returned from injury add to resurgent college basketball teams
It’s not all bad news on this list. In fact, there’s a strong handful of players who are recently back into lineups and taking their teams to the next level. Nick Smith Jr. is adding a scoring punch to an Arkansas lineup that suddenly has found itself on the bubble. Justin Moore has a month under his belt after a torn Achilles. His Villanova Wildcats looks like Nova once again. And Dariq Whitehead has been back for Duke with the Blue Devils finally safely off the bubble.
See more about each team affected in alphabetical order below.
Arkansas and its future NBA lottery pick Nick Smith Jr. navigates knee “management”
Nick Smith Jr. returned to action on February 11th after missing nearly two months with “knee management.” He played just 21 game minutes in his first pair of games, but then averaged around 35 minutes after that. In fact, he played all 40 minutes in a close matchup against the Alabama Roll Tide in a game the Razorbacks were fighting from behind for most of. He dropped 24 points and grabbed 6 points in that game. It looks like Nick Smith Jr. is back to his NBA prospect self, but check his injury status pregame during March Madness just in case!
Baylor back in the habit of reloading talent
Keyonte George missed a game at Oklahoma State in late February, but it almost didn’t matter. The freshman shooting guard has glided right into a productive role with Baylor this season. But in his absence, the Baylor Bears just reloaded again. This team is already accustomed to losing one or two first round picks to the NBA every year. Now, it’s also been in the unfortunate habit of having injured players miss some of all of the season. Baylor has been in postseason position and jockeying for the Big 12 title this season, despite not having veteran forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua. Now he is back.
In that Oklahoma State game that George missed with an ankle sprain, seldom used guard Dale Bonner filed right in with 15 points in 32 minutes. He had rarely played in the previous few games. Baylor coach Scott Drew has an abundance of riches. This team should be feared as a top pick to win it all.
Duke started its season without the services of All-American freshmen, center Dereck Lively II and small forward Dariq Whitehead. In late February, Duke had a completely clean injury report according to Covers.com. Still, double-check these youthful Dukies for any bumps and bruises.
Gonzaga monitors the injury status of its rim protector off the bench Efton Reid III
If the Gonzaga Bulldogs are going to make a deep run in the tournament, they need to stand tall at the rim. After 7-foot something Chet Holmgren left for the NBA, the Bulldogs were a little thin on the inside. They added Efton Reid III, a big man from LSU. When Reid popped up on the injury report in late February, it was a concern for Gonzaga’s overall depth.
Reid has returned to action in March, but has played sparingly. He logged only four minutes in the WCC Championship game against St. Mary’s.
Memphis monitors a motley crew of injuries to its ball-handlers
Point guard Keynote Kennedy punched a wall after a loss to Houston and effectively sidelined himself for the rest of the regular season. He was the Tigers third leading scorer. Its top scorer and senior transfer Kendrick Davis also missed that game with a bad ankle. Davis averages around 21 points a game. Both of these teams are worth monitoring as Memphis will likely be an underdog in both its own conference tournament and if/when it makes the NCAA Basketball Tournament. They’ll need all hands on deck (and not against walls).
Miami misses Nijel Pack in a game they’d like to have back
Florida State stormed back to beat the Miami Hurricanes in a game their tournament seeding will likely want back. Florida State isn’t good this year. However, it’s important to note that K-State transfer guard Nijel Pack missed that game for Miami with a lower body injury. Watch this injury closely so that Miami doesn’t suffer anymore surprises.
Michigan plays it safe with Jett Howard’s injury, looks to get on right side of bubble
The coach’s son Jett Howard missed the Wisconsin game with an ankle injury in late February where the Wolverines nearly lost. One more loss in a close game like this might cost Michigan its tournament berth. Watch Jett Howard’s status. He is averaging 14.4 points per game for a Michigan team that can struggle at times to score.
(Missouri’s Kobe Brown out with an illness February 26th – should be short term).
Oklahoma State tournament chances on thin ice while starting center and guards out
It’s never good to have your starting center and starting guard out while you’re trying to play your way off the bubble. But that’s exactly the position that Oklahoma State finds itself in. Moussa Cisse and Anthony Anderson III are both missing time as we roll into March. Anderson’s injury might be more long-standing with him dealing with a wrist injury.
Pittsburgh wins play-in-game despite not having a center in the starting lineup
The nation learned who Federiko Federiko was on Tuesday night as the tournament tipped off with its play-in games. The Panthers center was listed as a game time decision, according to Pittsburgh Sports now, but he ended up sitting out the game while nursing a knee injury. The nation watched as the Panthers battled to win a tight one point game against Mississippi State. Jorge Diaz Graham did a nice job as a substitute center, stretching Miss St. center Tolu Smith outside of the paint. The smaller lineup worked out for Pittsburgh.
(TCU’s Eddie Lampkin Jr. out with undisclosed injury late February).
Tennessee suffers major blow with Zakai Ziegler’s injury
Ziegler’s injury leaves the Vols very thin at point guard. The Volunteers just lost Kennedy Chandler to the NBA (and Memphis Grizzlies) after a one-and-done campaign. Shooting guard Santiago Vescovi is expected to do more ball handling. Tyreke Key is also expected to get more minutes.
Wisconsin watches Chucky Hepburn’s injury status
Wisconsin’s starting point guard Chucky Hepburn missed some minutes against Michigan in a critical game to finish February. He remains on the injury report with a lower body injury. Hepburn played the last few games for the Badgers, including a first round win against Bradley in the NIT Tournament.
Xavier’s Zach Freemantle ruled out for remainder of the season
For a second straight season, Zach Freemantle’s foot is finding itself on the injury report at the most inconvenient time. As March began, the power forward was ruled out for the remainder of the season. This leaves a gaping hole in the front-court of Sean Miller’s core unit. Fellow big man Jack Nunge will now need to continue (Freemantle has been out for weeks) picking up the slack on the boards and with help defense. The power forward was enjoying the fruits of a veteran team playing winning basketball with Sean Miller’s return to the Musketeers sidelines. Xavier is a 3 seed and will play against upset-minded 14 seed Kennesaw State. Kennesaw State has surged onto the national radar with an impressive program turnaround against coach Amir Abdur-Rahim.
UCLA loses super athletic wing Jaylen Clark for the season in major postseason loss
UCLA has a major problem on its hands. Despite how consistent guards Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez Jr. have been over their careers, the Bruins rely on some offense you can’t draw up. This is where Jaylen Clark has come into play. He is a great slasher, finisher, and just the type of super athletic wing who you don’t have to feed the ball to in order to get productivity. His athleticism finds a way. Clark had more than doubled his offensive productivity from a season ago and averaged 16 points a game. He gave Campbell and Jaquez a great third option in the early or late stages of a shot clock. And Clark is a great defender. Now, UCLA will head into the tournament without their most athletic wing. This is a major problem.
Bolch points to how UCLA went 6-1 while freshman guard Amari Bailey was out for a month with a foot injury. This is an apples to oranges comparison to the superior athleticism that Jaylen Clark brings on the floor. Bailey is a primary ball-handler, which UCLA already has in full supply with Tyger Campbell. Instead of thinking about Bailey as a replacement, freshman Dylan Andrews is more of the prototypical wing who Bruins fans need to look forward to stepping up.
Avoiding any chance of being upset is a good thing. That’s especially true in college basketball. On a weekend when the Super Bowl is expected to feature a tight matchup between the Chiefs and Eagles, college basketball’s conference standings are tight as well. Many important conference tournaments in college hoops have bye games for its top teams. Here’s a glance at college basketball games for Super Bowl weekend, with an eye on what teams can capture those all-important byes.
Mountain West Offers High Ceiling and High Seeding
The team that climbs to the top of the Mountain West Conference this season will reach certain heights in the college hoops landscape. The Mountain West is the fourth best conference in college basketball this year. Therefore, the conference winner will get regional preference and a top 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. There will also be a pack of hikers from the league who have a high ceiling. Conversely, someone in the middle of the pack will slip and suffer a dramatic fall. Right now San Diego State is the only team from the conference that is technically “ranked” in the Top 25. The veteran team is again loaded with experienced players who can contribute 6 points or more.
The second pack of teams from the conference is a force to be reckoned with. CBS Sports bracketology expert Jerry Palm has Nevada, Boise State and New Mexico all projected in the tournament on Super Bowl weekend. New Mexico just took a bad loss to Air Force on Friday night. The Lobos could be the character that slips from the rocks and falls out of the picture.
Two teams that could back-fill their position are Utah State and UNLV. Today they stand in the NET rankings at 33 and 82 respectively. UNLV is a current victim of how daunting this Mountain West conference actually is. However, when you watch them play, you recognize the high ceiling. The Runnin’ Rebels November matchup against another underrated conference team in Dayton was a good barameter for UNLVs’ potential. Former Oklahoma Sooner transfer Elijah Harmless led the way with 24 points. The Rebels have a fleet of skilled guards and a do-the-dirty work center in David Muoka who can compete with anyone at the rim.
On Saturday, UNLV gets an enormous chance to boost its tournament resume with a game at San Diego State. It’s unlikely that UNLV wins. It’s also unlikely that UNLV makes the NCAA tournament as an at large team. However, this game is a good litmus test to watch whether UNLV has its A game ready for the Mountain West Tournament. With six conference games remaining, it’s also unlikely that UNLV grabs a first round bye in the Mountain West Tournament. The Rebels were one slot short of that accomplishment last season. Right now they are four games behind Utah State in the loss column with six games left.
Big brands re-emerge in the Big East
There has been a bit of a Renaissance in the Big East. With exception of Georgetown, the big brand names remain relevant late in the season. College basketball fans were treated to a UCONN season where the Huskies were an AP Top 5 team. Sean Miller has returned to Xavier and immediately made them an AP Top 25 team. Although they are not a tournament team, even St. John’s is playing relevant basketball and perhaps looking at an NIT or a CBI bid.
However, the biggest mover right now is the Villanova Wildcats. This statement has caused a storm of debate on our Twitter page. However, with veteran guard Justin Moore back from an achilles tear in last year’s Big Dance, Villanova looks much better than its record shows.
The tournament committee is stubborn about a lot of things. One thing they have historically actually shown common sense about is judging a team that had a major injury. With Justin Moore back today from Achilles injury, Villanova is back in the tournament hunt as well.
Villanova was leading Creighton in Omaha on the game Justin Moore returned. They lost that one, but rebounded by beating up on Depaul. With an 11-13 record, they now play Seton Hall, Butler, Providence and Xavier next. That’s four winnable games and two Quad 1 opportunities. If they win five straight in this stretch, they will be 15-13 with an opportunity to avenge their loss against Crieghton to go to 16-13. Let’s assume they lose one more of their remaining Big East schedule. They would head into Madison Square Garden as a dangerous, experienced, battle-tested, ball security advocate in the Big East Tournament at 18-14. I don’t see the tournament committee keeping this group out of the Big Dance if they win 2 of 3 in the Big East Tournament in that scenario finishing at 20-15. That’s me. Or they could just win the Big East tournament.
These college basketball teams are all high value picks as longshots to win it all.
BY MATTY D.
This has been a volatile year for college basketball’s top 25. After the long-standing favorite of Houston, numbers 2 through 10 have been a game of musical chairs. The Houston Cougars currently sit at 6-1 odds to win it all.
Best longshot odds to win the 2023 NCAA Basketball Championship
Meanwhile, college basketball fans have been treated to some real surprising performances from mid-major teams this season. This article outlines my favorite value picks for current odds to win it all. Two of those teams have improved from an off-the-radar mid-major to a staple of the AP Top 25. Only one of my 5 value teams from the start of the season have stuck on this top 5 list.
#5 Florida Atlantic 175-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament
The Owls have come out of nowhere, so if you’re scratching your head, welcome to my list. The Owls haunted the Florida Gators and their high hopes for a tournament caliber year by dominating them in Gainesville. That was the start. Florida Atlantic continued their momentum into conference play where they’ve beaten tournament-relevant programs like UAB, North Texas and Western Kentucky. They have repeatedly been ranked in weekly polls in the 21-25 territory. Yet, they’re somehow still 175-1 to win it all. That, according to FanDuel Sportsbook app on February 15th.
The Owls can knock down the three. FAU’s bench can score — its two top scorers come off the bench. They rank among the top 10 teams in the nation in scoring and have a perimeter surrounded with combo guards who can create their own shots. Take your shot by considering this heavy underdog for at least a Final Four ticket. The Conference USA teams are always dangerous in March Madness (think Middle Tennessee and North Texas).
#4 Arkansas Razorbacks 50-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament
This is the only SEC team to currently make the list, but there could have been many others. Missouri, Auburn, and Texas A&M are also very intriguing. Arkansas makes the list because tits resume is 95% stamped for approval and a tournament team. Those other teams may be in the 65-75% range. At 50-1, Arkansas carries the flag for a conference that is still largely underrated by the futures market. If you are a futures shopper you should consider investing in the conference itself to win it all. You might even find a 4-1 or 5-1 steal and suddenly be invested in all the high level teams — Tennessee, Alabama, the list goes on.
As for Arkansas, the roster has turned over completely for 2022-2023, but the identity remains the same. Late season news for Arkansas has been a mixed bag. They took some questionable losses like losing to Vanderbilt in mid-January and losing to Mississippi State at home mid-February. The good news is that super hyped NBA prospect combo guard Nick Smith Jr. has recently returned from his knee injury. Smith Jr. is slowing gaining more minutes and productivity as March approaches.
Smith Jr. and fellow freshman Anthony Black were especially gelling in an SEC tournament game against Auburn where they scored 14 and 19 respectively with great efficiency. This team is hitting its stride as the tournament nears.
The Hogs defend hard, play fast, and challenge at the rim on both ends. This is a better team on the defensive end, ranking in kenpom’s top 20. The Mitchell brothers offer some size and athleticism down low. Jordan Walsh is really fun to watch with his Dennis Rodman-like tenacity. The team is loaded with McDonald’s All-Americans (three current, one more committed). If you are reading mock NBA draft boards and like this team because of prospect Nick Smith Jr., don’t. Smith has not been a consistent piece of this lineup. That said, if he emerges into the rotation during the start of the tournament itself, it might be time to jump on the bandwagon. That might be a guy, and this might be a team, looking to improve its stock greatly on the national stage.
#3 College of Charleston 400-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament
This one honestly made me do a double-take. I can’t believe College of Charleston is being disrespected in this way. If 400-1 is too rich for your blood (or too thrifty in this case), then you should at least consider CoC at 90-1 or 100-1 to make a magical run to a Final Four. This is a tournament team. The Cougars have cracked the AP Top 25 a few weeks ago and have stuck there in the 18-25 range. Even though they play in a mid-major conference, they may not need to win their conference tournament championship. However, they did win their conference tournament and earned a spot as a 3 loss team.
Two losses in conference took this team from 300-1 to 400-1. That includes a four point loss to Hofstra and a one point loss to Drexel. Otherwise, the Cougars only loss was against UNC early in the season. The Cougars struggled with Towson which has a great scorer in Nicholas Timberlake. The way that College of Charleston beat Towson in comeback fashion in early March and again during the Colonial Athletic Tournament shows that the Cougars can take a punch. They were the hunted all season long within their conference.
This team is especially a case where you need to shop around as a futures investor. The odds for this team are all over the place. On March 10th, three major sportsbooks had them listed with large discrepancies. Ceasars had them listed as 500-1 underdogs to win it all, while FanDuel had them at 400-1 and MGM at 250-1 (according to VegasInsider.com).
Anyone who buys this ticket should also be rooting for Florida Atlantic to win its conference tournament. Like the Owls, the Cougars don’t want to put this decision in the tournament committee hands. And if both Florida Atlantic and College of Charleston get upset in their own conference tournament, it’s highly unlikely that both get a tournament bid. Although, it would be really cool if they played each other in a play-in game! I would love that more than seeing some middle-of-the-pack power six teams play each other.
C of C has been totally running their league opponents out of the gym. They are consistently winning by 15, 20, 25 points or more. The are undefeated in the Colonial Athletic Conference and only have one loss to their name at 21-1. It has wins over Kent State, Virginia Tech, Davidson and Colorado State. Its only loss is to UNC. Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has them slotted as a 10 seed. Even if they lose one or two games in their conference, you could easily see this squad as a play-in-game 11 or 12 seed. Head coach Pat Kelsey has come over from Winthrop where he has brought his renowned conditioning and winning ways. The Cougars are deep, tall, can shoot, sprint to the ball, and play a ton of guys. A recent box score showed Kelsey playing 13 people. I didn’t even know that was possible. In that game, 10 players scored and 10 players played 9 minutes or more. Kelsey gives his guys no excuses not to run to a loose ball, hustle to a rebound, and get out in transition. The makeup of this team is perfectly suited for a tournament situation. If a 6 or 7 seed overlooks them, they’ll at least get the attention of the 2 or 3 seed in the next matchup.
#2: San Diego State 75-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament
Could this be the year that the Mountain West actually clicks? If it does, this will be the team to do it. However, there is reason for suspicion. The Mountain West went winless in last season’s tournament. This year, there is a lot of noise about the conference being fourth, fifth, or sixth best in the country. They compare favorably to the ACC, which will likely get seven teams in the tournament. With so many teams with a NET ranking in the 30s or 40s, you’d assume that the Mountain West would also get multiple bids. New Mexico is fading down the stretch of the season. Nevada and Boise State are also projected tournament teams at this point. However, it’s the Aztecs that have the experienced nucleus and chronically under-the-radar culture.
Longtime Steve Fisher assistant, and now longtime San Diego State coach, Brian Dutcher has his Aztecs playing great defense as always. The Aztecs actually rank 27th on Kenpom.com in defensive efficiency, which is perhaps lower than you’d expect from the standard set there.
If you watch college basketball, the cast of characters at San Diego State is comically familiar. It seems guys like Matt Bradley and Nathan Mensah have been there for a lifetime. And they’ve achieved so much. The starting lineup features four seniors and one junior. Bradley has reached a new level with his offensive production. He is averaging 17 points in the month of February. I would hate to have a futures ticket on a young team like Arkansas and have to face a veteran bunch like San Diego State in the tournament. ESPN college basketball Seth Greenberg talks about being “invested in winning.” By that standard, it’s time that the Aztecs commitment pays dividends. The team’s Twitter hashtag is even “The Time is Now.” If you have any belief that the Mountain West will rebound and represent itself well in the tournament this season, San Diego State is a no-brainer.
#1 Drake Bulldogs 300-1 to win a College Basketball Championship
#1 Drake Bulldogs 300-1 to win a College Basketball Championship
If it weren’t for the pandemic, this team might be a household name as an underdog similar to how Oral Roberts will be perceived coming into the 2023 March Madness. Drake is big, experienced, and boast the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. In a conference that recently sent Cinderella Loyola Chicago to the Final 4, no one should be sleeping on the Bulldogs. Point guard Roman Penn is a powerful asset as an ambidextrous and wise veteran player. The Siena transfer had battled injuries throughout his collegiate career but is looking poised to lead a deep run in another tournament. Drake ran Bradley out of the gym in its conference championship game in St. Louis. Bradley was considered to be a good team. You don’t have to worry about this mid-major team not having the size to battle against a power 5 school. Darnell Brodie is built like a right guard but can guard any center nationwide. Brodie also has a sweet stroke from the charity stripe, just saying. Book the Bulldogs, Owls or Cougars in your Sweet 16 if the bracket allows for it and make for an exciting March Madness!
Removed from List: Creighton Bluejays 30-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament
***Creighton has been removed from this list, as the cutoff for how to define an “underdog” has been drawn at the 60-1 threshold. Still, if you might like the argument below to buy in at 30-1.
Creighton’s futures tickets have been selling at a discount since a stretch when they lost 5 of 6 to start December. After then going on an 8 game winning streak, they just lost on Valentine’s Day to another ranked team at Providence. But when you look closer at the details, you see that this is still a Final Four caliber team. Creighton started the season ranked in the Top 10 of the AP Top 25. Futures for Creighton to win a NCAA Basketball Championship started around 35-1, dropped as low as 80-1, and have now regained strength around 35-1 again. After the Providence loss, the odds stuck at 25-1. If you are shopping, you could likely still grab this team at 30-1 or even 35-1.
Creighton has regained its footing with a solid performance within the Big East. However, its non-conference wins early in the season might be its saving grace. The Big 12 and SEC get a lot of hype as the best conferences in basketball. Well, Creighton beat Texas Tech (Big 12) and Arkansas (SEC) right before that losing streak started. And, the losing streak could certainly be attributed to losing their starting center, Ryan Kalkbrenner, to injury. Once Kalkbrenner returned, Creighton went 4-2 immediately. The loses they suffered during that rocky stretch included respectable losses to probably tournament teams. They lost to Arizona, BYU, Texas and Marquette in that stretch. This gives you an idea of how aggressively this team was scheduling. They had high hopes since challenging eventual champion Kansas in last year’s NCAA tournament.
Creighton was 65-1 to win it all on the FanDuel Sportsbook app on January 25, 2023.
Creighton’s athletic wings Arthur Kaluma and Trey Alexander set the tone for a stellar defensive squad. South Dakota State transfer Baylor Scheierman is a strong guard who can score at all three levels. He was arguably the most sought after transfer in America this offseason. And sophomore point guard Ryan Nembhard is a poised point guard who can control and take over games. Despite the turbulence, Creighton is still projected as we publish this as a tournament team. You can buy them at half off their 30-1 starting price when the season started.
When it comes to college basketball futures for March Madness 2023, Creighton lives in the same neighborhood as some blue blood programs. Duke, UNC, Creighton and Indiana all have roughly 50-1 odds to win a championship as February 2023 began. A recent poll by College Basketball Eye Test on Twitter showed that Indiana is the most popular pick among these values.
Winning is contagious. And if you watch the NBA, you notice that losing is also contagious. There are many franchises that continue to trust the process about drafting gaudy measurable individual skills and attributes. They lose because they don’t take into account the winning pedigree. The players on this list are the total opposite.
This list is being published at a time when Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts just led his team to the Super Bowl. Sports fans who watch college games weren’t surprised by this. Hursts is a winner. He won at Alabama and at Oklahoma. Yet, he lost his college job to Tua Tagovailoa. Tua is a flashy arm talent but cannot stay on the field. Hurst just continues winning with every opportunity he gets. This is the basketball list filled with those guys.
This list is also being published during the NBA trade deadline. It’s no surprise that players from winning programs, who were drafted lower than so-called studs from losing programs, are sought after. The trade market is serving as a correction to the initial error. Not enough NBA GM’s value winning during the NBA Draft process. The first player on this list hasn’t won at the NBA level, yet. However, Saddiq Bey just got traded for a number 2 overall pick in James Wiseman.
10 non-lottery picks who won in college, continued winning in the NBA
These are players who proved that they were winners in NCAA basketball, but somehow find themselves again needing to prove their value in the NBA.
10. Saddiq Bey, Villanova 19th overall pick in 2020
Saddiq Bey scored one point short of 500 in his sophomore campaign at Villanova in 2019-2020. Despite being a blossoming member of the Big East Championship Wildcats, he slipped out of the NBA draft lottery. Nearly three years later, his value is much higher than many of the players drafted above him. He hasn’t won in the NBA yet, but he was a winner during the 2023 NBA trade deadline.
9. Javale McGee, Nevada: 18th overall pick in 2008
Save your jokes. Javale McGee has only one less NBA Championship than Shaquille O’Neal.
McGee was the butt of many jokes by Shaq and the NBA on TNT team, but the former Nevada Wolfpacks career has seen mostly winning.
Nevada doesn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament on very often. Between 1985 and the present, the Wolf Pack have only made it to eight tournaments. McGee saw himself at the center of one of those appearances in 2007.
Later, he would win two NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors and one with the bubble victor LA Lakers.
The University of Nevada will also be quick to remind you that he became the first Nevada Wolf Pack alum to ever win an Olympic Gold Medal.
8. Alex Caruso, Texas A&M: Undrafted in 2016
Since reaching the Elite 8 in 1969, Texas A&M basketball has only made it to the Sweet 16 four times. Senior Alex Caruso ran point guard for the Aggies in 2016 during one of those magical seasons. The former homegrown College Station ball boy not only saw success in Aggieville, but would also win a championship with the Lakers in bubbleville (during COVID-19). Caruso was a 1,000 point scorer in college and averaged 5 assists per game. He is a big game performer, scoring 8 points in the opening 7 minutes in his NCAA Tournament debut. He has an all-around game where he also registered 276 steals in his NCAA career.
It’s important to note that Texas A&M team had other NBA talent. Caruso played with Robert Williams and DJ House.
Despite not being drafted, Caruso saw success in the rotation with the Lakers and later bagged a nice free agency deal with the Chicago Bulls.
7. Jose Alvarado, Georgia Tech: undrafted in 2021
Despite his tenacious defensive attitude and winning ways at Georgia Tech, Jose Alvarado slipped off the radar and wasn’t drafted in 2021. However, like his patented defensive move where he pretends he’s not on the court and then steals an inbounds pass, Alvardo snuck back into basketball’s limelight. Now he is a mainstay in a playoff-good New Orleans Pelicans team. When college basketball returned from its COVID-19 year off, Jose Alvarado and his Yellow Jackets stole an ACC Championship and NCAA tournament bid.
Now sporting the nickname Jose “Grand Theft” Alvarado, his NBA highlight reel shines in an unconventional way. His steals epitomize how hustle plays can win basketball games.
6. Grant Williams, Tennessee: 22nd overall pick in 2019
Forward Grant Williams might have slipped out of the NBA lottery because he is a hair shorter than his peers at the position. However, his stock as an NBA contributor has grown ever since. Having starred at Tennessee with back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths, Williams brings a football-like tenacity to the NBA. His nose for the ball and great hands pair perfectly on the court with another NFL safety lookalike, teammate Marcus Smart. The young Boston Celtics made it to the NBA Finals in 2021 thanks in large part to role players who had a large sample size of success on the NCAA stage (see Payton Pritchard, Robert Williams, etc). According to Volswire.com, Grant Williams was the first player to win the SEC Player of the Year award in back-to-back seasons since 1995.
5. Georges Niang, Iowa State: 50th overall pick in 2016
Georges Niang has made the playoffs all six of his NBA seasons. This year his Philadelphia 76ers will ultimately make it for his seventh consecutive year. Niang also led his Iowa State Cyclones to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
The stocky small forward might have one of the shortest vertical leaps in the Easter Conference. However, his body positioning, court-awareness, and ability to knock down an open shot has remained consistent since college. At Iowa State he become on of the Cyclone’s first-ever players to receive votes for individual player of the year honors, such as being a Karl Malone nominee. Like Malone, he can slowly and methodically power defenders down low with post moves that can embarrass an undisciplined defender. Unlike Malone, he can knock down the three pointer more consistently with a 40.7% career 3 point percentage. His Iowa State Cyclones lost in the elite 8 in 2016 to #1 seed Virginia. We saw a coming attraction in that game and throughout his collegiate career to what he’d bring to NBA clubs for years to come.
4. Jalen Brunson, Villlanova: 33rd overall pick in 2018
It’s no coincidence that the New York Knicks would return to the NBA playoffs if the NBA season ended today. Jalen Brunson is a winner. He won two national titles at Villanova, was the starting point guard as the Dallas Mavericks made a surprise “Final 4” run, and is now leading a resurgent Knicks team. Brunson is leading with his offensive efficiency and his vocal approach. Teammates like Julius Randle and RJ Barrett are clearly better with a proven point guard at the helm. The Knicks might have the best starting point guard since another veteran departed Dallas for MSG. Can you name him?
It’s hard to believe that Brunson wasn’t even a first round pick in the NBA draft. He was the NCAA Player of the Year in 2018 before leaving college after his junior year. However, he went 33 overall in the NBA draft. Bruson is the best example on this list that winning isn’t valued enough by NBA executives.
Jalen Bruson also joins a long line of players to follow in their NBA dad’s footsteps.
3. Fred VanVleet, Wichita State: Undrafted in 2016
Fred Van Fleet came out of high school barely ranked in the top 100 as number 87 on ESPN’s list, finished his college career in the final four, and has one NBA Championship ring (2019 Toronto Raptors).
When the Wichita State Shockers made a shocking run to the Final Four in 2014, you probably couldn’t guess who from that roster would excel in the NBA. They had three players from that team play some time in the league. However, Fred VanVleet is far-and-away the best current player in the NBA from Wichita State. In fact, he might even be a player sought after during this season’s trade deadline.
2. Draymond Green, Michigan State: 35th overall pick in 2012
Draymond Green epitomizes the Tom Izzo era in East Lansing. To call Green the “ultimate glue guy” probably undervalues his skill. Green was a Final 4 player with the 2010 Michigan State Spartans.
He is now a four time NBA Champion. Green was appropriately inducted into the MSU Hall of Fame in 2022. He is probably just 5 short years after his NBA career away from a Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
If you want to check out another great related article, click here to see the Sporting News top 10 2nd round picks in the NBA.
1. Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State: 15th overall pick in 2011.
Just on the outside cusp of being considered a lottery pick, needless to say NBA GM’s weren’t watching enough San Diego State basketball in 2011. Kawhi Leonard left the Aztecs after his sophomore season.
San Diego State was disrespected as an 11 seed in 2010 during Leonard’s freshman year. In 2011, San Diego State was more appropriately ranked as a 2 seed. Later that year, Leonard dropped to the 15th overall pick. In 2014, Leonard became the NBA Finals MVP defeating LeBron James and the Heat. In 2019, Leonard won another NBA Finals in a surprising single year with the Toronto Raptors.
Today, the NBA has finally got the memo that Kawhi Leonard is great. He continues to be one of the NBA’s most sought after free agents after reaching a max deal with the LA Clippers.
Did we miss anyone? Tweet us at CBBEyeTest and join the debate!
Find free picks against the spread every Saturday for college basketball here on collegebasketballeytest.com. The theme of this article is to find incorrect odds, otherwise known as “suspect spreads.” Picks are tweeted before Saturday’s tip.
College basketball eye test’s record against the spread stands at 40-46 heading into the start of March.
Because Saturdays are really the most exciting national showcase of college basketball action, we focus on this day to have some fun.
This website and its author Matty D. took a 56% winning percentage from the 2021-2022 season into the 2022-2023 campaign. Click here to see a breakdown of last year’s picks. An archive of every pick from the 2022-2023 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Season is recorded below.
College Basketball Odds and Picks Against the Odds for Today
If sports betting isn’t your thing, the odds are still a great measuring tool to debate the best teams. Join the college hoops conversation by following us here on Twitter.
NCAAB Record Against the Odds for 2022-2023 by College Basketball Eye Test
Below is a log of some of the tweets from this season with picks, good and bad.
After starting with a poor record of 9-17 to start the season, the record ATS improved to 15-21 and then 18-22 after consecutive winning weeks. That record improved to 23-25 after going 5-3 during the SEC Big 12 Challenge. However, the picks had a difficult February. Picks took a nose-dive during a 1-4 showing on the first Saturday of February. The site then went back-to back losing weeks in mid February (a disgusting 2-7 performance on the heels of a 6-7 showing).
On January 7th, the picks were particularly bad. The one saving grace being that 5 of 6 favorites taken to cover at least hit ML. Kansas State the call of the day yet another +6 dog to win outright. Picking +6 underdogs to win outright has randomly been a strength of this website.
The year 2022 ended on a sour note with picks going 3-5. That brought the season record to a 5-7 start.