About College Basketball Eye Test

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!

Best Hair in College Basketball 2022

Vote on your favorite hair from the 2022 college basketball season. Or, nominate your favorite player before March Madness begins.

BY MATTY D.

BEST HAIR IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL

JD DAVISON, ALABAMA

BIJAN CORTES, OKLAHOMA

Bijan Cortes rocks the Mötley Crüe hardoo. Photo courtesy: soonersports.com

TYGER CAMPBELL, UCLA

Social media has two clear favorites for this year’s best hair in college basketball

ANDRE CURBELO, ILLINOIS

Like Tyger Campbell, Andre Curbelo’s style inspires its own sponsorship deals.

KOWACIE REEVES, FLORIDA

Photo courtesy: floridagators.com/sports/Isabella Marley

NOAH HORCHLER, PROVIDENCE

Noah Horchler’s new doo is reminscent of “The Princess Bride” (Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox)

DREW PETERSON, USC

MATTHEW MAYER, BAYLOR

Best Longshot Odds to Win a College Basketball March Madness 2022

BY MATTY D.

The parody of the college basketball landscape in 2022 offers no shortage of long-shots with intriguing values. Many people (including myself) consider 7 or 8 teams that could easily win it all this year. However, none of those teams look like Baylor and Gonzaga did last year. It appeared inevitable those teams would face each other in a 2021 Championship game. Instead, those favorites right now are priced in the 4-1 to 6-1 territory. That’s teams like Gonzaga and Arizona. It would be hard to swallow paying a price in the 7-1 to 18-1 territory for any of these teams without the conviction of seeing them surge the way Gonzaga and Baylor had last season.

And so when the Madness of March begins, those 7 or 8 championship contenders could get upset and the list of possible champions would grow. Below are some of my favorite long-shot value picks to find themselves in the mix. If you’re considering any of these bets, please look at both the Final Four odds in addition to a National Championship ticket. The last thing you want is to have two of the four teams make the Final Four, neither win a national championship, and for you to not cash a ticket.

Read also my favorite 14 picks ATS on Thursday and Friday by clicking here.
If you are struggling to moderate your gambling, help is available. Please visit https://www.ncpgambling.org or call 1-800-522-4700 to get help anonymously.

Editor’s Notes: This article has remained intact as-is for over a month. I will stick with my gut here and roll with the teams that I had hand-picked in mid-February. Subtle edits have been made to the start of the summary for each team below.

[At the start of February, I picked 5 teams in a YouTube video. Things have changed considerably since then… ]

Updated: Best Longshot Odds to win March Madness 2022

Here are 5 teams that are the best value bets right now for college basketball futures. You could call them sleeper teams, although their likelihood to make the NCAA Tournament at this point is better than them not.

Best Long-shots to win March Madness 2022 by future values

5.. UAB BLAZERS BASKETBALL FUTURES ODDS 400-1

According to FanDuel Sports App, UAB will enter March Madness as a 400-1 underdog to win a national title. The Blazers earned a 12 seed and will play against Houston in the first round.

Here’s what I had written earlier in the season…

These Blazers were trailblazing their way to a regular season conference championship, until they stubbed their toes at Old Dominion on Super Bowl weekend. Its stock sunk some 50-1 points. Still, they make my top 5.

Coached by former Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy, the Blazers are as dangerous as they come. Conference USA has continued to play the disruptor role in the NCAA Tournament. And with no shortage of size on this UAB roster, the sky could quite literally be the limit.

On January 22nd the Blazers beat current conference rival LA Tech in their house, securing (for now) an inside track to its conference championship. Jordan “Jelly” Walker scored 37 points in that game. As you know, a sub 6’1″ scorer is a hallmark sign of a dangerous Cinderella program.

UAB’s stock did slip in the following days after being upset by Marshall. This puts the Blazers in jeopardy of not winning its conference regular season. Regardless, Conference USA will likely be a one bid league. Therefore, if you invest in UAB you’ll need them to win their conference tournament.

Jordan Walker can drop 30 at any point. Photo courtesy: uabsports.com

Assuming it wins its conference tournament, UAB would likely get a 12, 13 or 14 seed. That means they could play an LSU, Texas Tech, or other middle-of-the-pack team from a Power 5 school. UAB has a 7 footer at center in Clemson transfer Trey Jemison, so size won’t intimate them. The Blazers can score the ball, ranking just within the top 50 on Kenpom’s score for efficiency. If you like UAB at 250-1 to win a national title, you’re going to love them at 65-1 to make the Final 4.

Responsible sports betting is possible when a 10 cent wager can win you 6 bucks. This wager was placed January 26, 2022 and reflects the “Vegas odds” at that point.

After its dramatic game-winning buzzer beater win by Jelly Walker at Western Kentucky, UAB stood as the 41st ranked KenPom team on January 28th. Meantime, they were 37th in the NET rankings. Therefore, a legitimate case can be made for UAB as an at-large bid, even if they don’t win their conference tournament.

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4. SAN FRANCISCO DONS BASKETBALL FUTURES 250-1

San Francisco drew a 10 seed and will play against a dangerous 7 seed in Murray State. Both of these programs are actually very dangerous in this position. Murray State is an even better value from a high-ceiling perspective. They enter the tournament at 500-1 to win a title according to FanDuel.

Here’s what I had written earlier this season…

There is a clear turning point in San Francisco’s season that has it skipping the line and getting into the middle of the mix as a great long-shot. After taking a large lead in pivotal games in January against Gonzaga and St. Mary’s, San Fran squandered those opportunities to punch their tickets. However, when February came, they blitzed BYU at their house. The Dons came out of halftime and continued pressuring the (weakened) post of BYU. They got out in transition and guarded well in transition. They took the life out of the crowd. It was the opposite of what those games in January looked like, and it could be a turning point for San Francisco to be considered one of America’s most dangerous underdogs.

San Francisco is lead by super senior point guard Jamaree Bouyee. He is one of the top 6-1 and under guards poised to upset some people in March Madness. They also have size down low, which is always a challenge for mid-major teams. San Francisco was available on the DraftKings app at 60-1 to make March Madness on February 3 and it’s unlikely that value will remain for long.

San Francisco stood at 200-1 to win a National Championship (and 80-1 to make the Final Four) on DraftKings on Valentine’s Day. Betters will love them even more if they can win a late February home game against Gonzaga before the tournament begins. They missed an opportunity to beat Gonzaga late in February, but the St. Mary’s Gaels did it on that same California road trip for the Bulldogs. The WCC has the pedigree to pull some upsets in this tournament.

Photo courtesy usfdons.com/ Christina Leung

3. DAVIDSON WILDCATS BASKETBALL FUTURES ODDS 400-1

Davidson draws a 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament and plays against Tom Izzo’s Michigan State team. That’s bad news for Wildcats fans. However, Michigan State is beatable and so is Duke in the (possible) following round. I am rolling with Davidson at 400-1 here.

Here’s what I had written earlier in the season…

At the end of January, Davidson finally cracked into the AP Top 25 and officially became the most dangerous underdog in America. After the Wildcats went undefeated in its first six conference games with wins at St. Bonaventure and at VCU, they were honestly long overdue for this position. Throw in the fact that they beat Alabama and its Elite 8 pedigree.

The problem with Davidson going into the conference tournament “Champ Week” is that it faces about 5 other teams from the Atlantic 10 that could easily steal a bid. Richmond, VCU, Dayton, St. Louis and St. Bonaventure are all worthy opponents. Most of those teams are borderline tournament teams. Davidson finished February as a projected 11 seed in the tournament. That doesn’t leave much margin for error for Davidson to lose its conference tournament. If that happens, we could be looking at two A10 tournament teams, or a damn good Davidson team in the NIT.

A tempting bet in this direction is to take the Atlantic 10 at around 65-1 to have its team with the NCAA Basketball Tournament. That’s a great value if two teams make the tournament. It’s a lousy bet if only one does.

Michigan State transfer Foster Loyer gets the headlines as people talk about this team, but it’s really an extremely balanced squad. Loyer leads the team in assists. Four players average 12 or more points. Power forward Luka Brajkovic offers great hands and skill down low. The senior from Austria averages 7 rebounds per game. Junior guard Michael Jones showed everyone during a nationally televised game against Richmond that he can light it up. Jones was un-guardable that night as he scored 29 on 8 of 9 from the 3 point line. The Wildcats leading scorer is actually South Korean guard Hyunjung Lee. Lee averages 16 points per game with 6.7 rebounds with it. The stability of this upperclassman roster is anchored by a longtime winner, head coach Bob McKillop.

In his last bracket projection of January, Joe Lunardi had Davidson has a 9 seed. This is the type of mis-seeding that often happens to a mid-major team. This Davidson program probably had no business being a 10 seed with Stephen Curry before it made its magical Elite 8 run.

And while you can debate what Davidson’s seed would be, it’s not debatable anymore that it’s a tournament team. Therefore, even if you snag Davidson at 150-1 you could hedge it by taking the eventual round one matchup (today projected as BYU as a 125-1 underdog) and have some high ceiling options headed into the field of 32.

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2. USC COLLEGE BASKETBALL FUTURES 200-1

USC’s value doubled as the bracket got announced, which means the payout is twice as great. I am doubling down on this team as they play a smaller Miami Hurricanes squad to start their March Madness journey.

Here’s what I wrote earlier this year about the Trojans…

USC defeated Oregon in their place on February 26th to bounce the Ducks from this list and insert themselves onto it.

I will admit to overlooking USC after one of its Mobley brothers (Evan) went to the NBA this season. While Evan Mobley is the likely NBA Rookie of the Year with the Cavaliers, big brother is one of the nation’s best veteran players. The 6-10 big man features great hands, range, rebounding, and the ability to orchestrate the offense from the post. Boogie Ellis is the actual orchestrator at point guard. He transferred from Memphis. Ellis is a streaky shooter who can definitely get hot. Shooting guard Drew Peterson is playing some really confident ball right now. He hit a dagger three to win that Oregon game and also went buck-wild against UCLA in a game that Mobley missed in early February.

USC has a front line of muscular forwards who can outwork people on the offensive glass if defenses aren’t aware. Head coach Andy Enfield has already taken the college basketball world by surprise in his career (see Dunk City). This USC team was in the Elite 8 last year. Many players on the current roster played key roles in a Sweet 16 win against Oregon.

A bet worth looking at is the Pac-12 around 5-1 to have a national champion. Obviously, you’d get a favorite in Arizona, a preseason favorite in UCLA, and throw in a high-upside USC team at that rate. If a surprise team like Arizona State (see our list of possible Cinderellas for Champ Week), Colorado or Stanford win the Pac-12 tournament, you could have 4 or 5 teams for that one cost. Oregon is the unknown as a bubble team.

1. LSU COLLEGE BASKETBALL FUTURES 120-1

March Madness is all about unlikely outcomes. What is more unlikely than your coach getting fired for multiple violations stemming from an FBI investigation… and you still advance to the Final Four.

I actually love LSU as they draw Iowa State to start their March Madness journey. They would have to become the first 6 seed in 30 years to make a Final Four, however, if they have a magical run on their mind. Below is what I had written about the Tigers earlier this season…

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THE 6 SEED CURSE AND OTHER TRENDY TRADITIONS

On February 15, LSU stood at 16th overall in the NCAA Net Rankings, but still had a long-shot odd to win a national title. The Tigers were then 15-1 to reach the Final Four and 80-1 to win a national title. Those numbers don’t reflect how this team is getting healthy at the right time. Coming out of the SEC, which has two legitimate title favorites (unlike any other conference), the Tigers will be eager to devour any other competition aside from their in-conference opponents. Point guard Xavier Pinson has brought a lightning quick dimension to the offense. And this team gets after it on the defensive end unlike most teams. They are consistently top 5 in forced turnovers, defensive efficiency, and outright steals. LSU won’t come back from large deficits with three point prayers, but they might outwork their opponent on the offensive glass to get back into a game. They are mostly young and hungry, with a few key veterans like senior Darius Days. LSU has been flirting with the Elite 8 and Sweet 16 for the past few years, and shouldn’t be overlooked as players like Days and Pinson have returned from injury and are finding a rhythm. LSU plays a marquee matchup against Kentucky in late February. This can serve as a stress test to measure how legit they are. For now, the eye test says they are much better than 80-1 to win it all.

HOST CITIES FOR THE FIRST ROUND OF MARCH MADNESS 2021-2022

Portland
Buffalo
Milwaukee
PIttsburgh
Fort Worth
Greenville
Indianapolis
San Diego
*These are also the sites of the second round.

Arizona UCLA College Basketball Game Recap: Top 10 Matchup Delivers

In college basketball’s regular season, top 10 match-ups rarely live up to their billing, but Arizona and UCLA looked like an Elite 8 game.

BY MATTY D.

UCLA hosted the game as the AP 7th ranked team in the nation. After only losing once this season, Arizona entered the game as the 3rd ranked team by the AP. With USC and Oregon finding its tournament resume footing, both teams are part of a PAC-12 Conference that has several dangerous threats for a Final 4.

Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd entered the game as the clear-cut front runner for coach of the year. The longtime Gonzaga Bulldogs assistant coach is leading his Wildcats to a 16-1 record as a first time head man.

Arizona vs. UCLA First Half Recap NCAA Basketball

The starting lineups for each team featured subtle different wrinkles as compared to their norm. Lithuanian big man for Arizona, Azuolas Tubelis, started the game on the bench because he was nursing a sprained ankle. He came in shortly after the game started and contributed immediately.

Jaylen Clark missed the game for UCLA after suffering an injury at practice, according to the ESPN telecast.

UCLA went with a “smaller” starting lineup, considering that Rutgers transfer and center Myles Johnson wasn’t in the starting lineup. UCLA went with Riley, Juzang, Jaquez Jr., Campbell and Bernard.

The start of the game showcased exactly why these are two Final 4 caliber teams. The shooting was electric. Both teams raced up and down the floor. UCLA point guard Tyger Campbell and shooting guard Johnny Juzang would probe the paint and then secure points. Arizona’s blossoming pro prospect Bennedict Mathurin would answer with a perfect posture three point shot. Each team started the game shooting at an unsustainably high percentage.

ESPN color commentator Bill Walton was on the call. He aptly described the game, multiple times, as a showcase of athletes in top physical fitness. This game started as a track meet.

After the electric start, Arizona suffered the first scoring drought of the game. They found themselves in a 36-25 hole after going 3 for 21 from the field during one stretch.

Arizona stopped the bleeding in terms of scoring droughts with its size down low. Oumar Ballo and Christian Koloko scored on a put-back and alley-oop styled layup respectively. Pelle Larsson then raced down the floor for a full court layup drill to cut the halftime lead to 40-29 UCLA.

Arizona vs. UCLA Second Half Recap NCAA Basketball

The second half started with Arizona eagerly double-teaming Johnny Juzang and feeding Christian Koloko in the post. Koloko missed hook shots on consecutive possessions as both teams started cold from the field.

Jaimie Jaquez scored his first points of the game to tie UCLA’s biggest lead of 15 at 44-29.

Bennedict Mathurin rushed the ball back down the floor for a do-it-yourself and-1 to cut the lead to 12. Johnny Juzang took the same approach with a one-man-fast-break against the half court defense after a free throw make.

Both UCLA and Arizona alternated between clubs that wanted to play half court offense and transition showtime. The on-ball pressure was also ratcheted up by both teams.

The game started to slow down around the 14 minute mark with each team getting to the free throw line more. Bennedict Mathurin was barking encouragement at his teammates. He fed Tubelis on a lob for a close range layup attempt where he was fouled. On the next possession, Mathurin hit a step back three pointer to cut the deficit to 10.

UCLA continued with the same four guards and forwards in the rotation, alternating Myles Johnson into the game around that 14 minute mark.

Jaime Jaquez continued getting hot as he drove the lane and scored after pump faking two defenders out of the picture. UCLA led 58-46 athe the 11 minute mark when Juzang drove the lane and fed Johnson for an and-1 bucket down low.

Scoring came to a screeching halt around the 10 to 8 minute marks. Finally, it looked like fatigued settled in slightly.

Senior UCLA guard David Singleton got some rare minutes around the 7 minute mark when he hit a three pointer. Jules Bernard doubled-down with another 3 for UCLA on the next possession. It looked like the dagger. Jaime Jaquez blocked his second shot (team’s 7th block) on the next defensive possession.

Arizona suffered its second long scoring drought around the mid-way point of the second half. The Wildcats missed 12 of 13 shots in one stretch. Guard Kerr Kriisa was 0 for 9 from the 3 point line as Arizona looked like it was taking some desperation shots. Azuolas Tubelis played limited minutes late as Justin Kier provided some scoring.

UCLA grew and sustained the lead for a final score of 75-59.

After watching the Arizona Wildcats versus the UCLA Bruins, you should be buying stock in both teams.

Sons of NBA Dads in College Basketball in 2022

The list of second generation basketball players seemingly grows each year, with sons of former NBA players competing in college hoops nationwide. Below is a full list of sons of NBA dads we’ve spotted in college basketball. If we have missed any, please tweet us at CBBEyeTest.

SEE THE UPDATED LIST HERE FOR THE SONS OF NBA PLAYERS IN 2022-2023.
CLICK HERE FOR LAST YEAR’S LIST OF SONS OF NBA PLAYERS IN NCAA 2020-2021

The leading man for the second generation players list of 2022 has to be Jabari Smith. He is a likely top lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

As a freshman, Jabari Smith Jr. is leading the Auburn Tigers as a possible future 1 seed for March Madness.

Jabari Smith senior’s rookie card from 2001 becomes an interesting collector’s item on eBay.

His father, Jabari Smith senior, had a lesser-known NBA career versus some of the names below. He played 108 games in his NBA career.

For fans of 1990s NBA basketball, this list continues to provide entertainment. It brings back memories of some of the great battles for NBA supremacy during the decade, especially in the Eastern Conference. In fact, the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals between the Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls actually featured at least 8 (future) fathers of kids who would go on to play Division 1 basketball.

One of those blasts-from-the-past is Brian Shaw. His son B.J. Shaw wears the same number 20 and competes with UC Davis.

Former Orlando Magic and LA Laker’s guard Brian Shaw’s son B.J. currently plays at UC Davis.
Photo courtesy: ucdavisaggies.com

Another important rotation player from that series was Ron Harper. As you may know, his son Ron Harper Jr. is one of the best “juniors” across the college basketball landscape.

Ron Harper Jr. had one of the season’s most memorable moments when his buzzer beater helped defeated the then-number 1 ranked Purdue Boilermakers.

You cannot have a conversation about the 1990s Bulls without talking about Scottie Pippen. Yes, his son is playing college basketball too! Scotty Pippen Jr. is being coached by another all-time NBA great, Jerry Stackhouse, and averaging over 19 points for Vanderbilt in his junior season.

Note that the Generation Z player spells his name with a “Y” while pops spells Scottie with an “i.e.”

What sort of tangent would this article be about the 1990s Bulls without a reference to Dennis Rodman?

Yes, his son plays Division 1 Basketball too!

DJ Rodman is a junior with Washington State.

Steve Kerr’s son Nick played college basketball with Cal a few years ago, which means that 1996 Bulls team could have fielded a full team of future fathers of college players.

Meantime, those 1996 Orlando Magic had a few scholarship players in their gene pool, too.

The most famous Magic ever, Shaquille O’Neal, has a son playing college hoops right now at LSU.

After transferring from UCLA to his father’s alma mater at LSU, Shareef O’Neal is a blue chipper.

This story wouldn’t be complete without a Shaq-and-Penny connection. Penny Hardaway is actually coaching his son with the Memphis Tigers in 2021-2022 as well. Jayden Hardaway has earned his minutes over the years and is now a regular rotation player with the Tigers.

The 1990s Eastern Conference is well represented in this list.

Dikembe Mutombo’s son Ryan continues a big man family legacy at Georgetown.

At midseason, Simaki Walker’s son Jabari Walker already had eight double-doubles for Colorado.

Former Indiana Pacers guard Harold Workman’s son Bryce plays D1 ball.

Jameer Nelson Jr. is a junior guard and plays guard for Delaware.

Photo courtesy bluehens.com/sports/mens-basketball/roster

The East Coast doesn’t just dominate this status of talent inheritance. On the West Coast, players like James Keefe of Stanford and Eric Williams Jr. of Oregon are sons of NBA players.

Eric Williams Jr. plays for the Oregon Ducks.

Jamal Mashburn’s son is following in his footsteps, in more ways than one. Jamal Mashburn Jr. has also followed a Pitino coach. In fact, Mashburn Jr. played for Rick Pitino’s son Richard at both Minnesota and now with New Mexico.

New Mexico basketball has two sons of NBA players in the rotation. Eddie House’s son Jaelen House is another scoring guard on the team.

Otis Thorpe’s son DJ Thorpe plays for the Cal Bears.

Photo courtesy calbears.com

Here’s another random, 1990s sir name, nostalgic, NBA nugget: Marčiulionis.

Do you remember that name?

Photo courtesy smcgaels.com/sports

The second generation NBA talent discussion has an international flair as the son of Sarunas Marciulionis has been imported from Lithuania to St. Mary’s basketball. Augustus Marciulionis is a 6-4 freshman with the Gaels.

It’s not only the 1990s Eastern Conference powers represented, but also 1980s NBA playoff teams with sons in power 5 schools. Cleveland Cavalier’s great Larry Nance’s son Pete continues carving out his own professional basketball career. That status would mean that he follows in both father, and brother’s, footsteps.

Pete Nance is leading Northwestern as a possible tournament team.

Nance continues a growing trend of second generation players populating the entire Big 10 Conference.

According to IUHoosiers.com, Trayce Jackson-Davis is the “son of for Indiana Pacers standout Dale Davis and Ray and Karla Jackson.”

Photo courtesy iuhoosiers.com

https://iuhoosiers.com/sports/mens-basketball/roster/trayce-jackson-davis/15620

The Fab 5 even makes a cameo on this list. Juwan Howard is another former NBA player who is coaching his son currently.

Jace Howard is a sophomore at Michigan University. Photo courtesy: mgoblue.com

Da’Monte Williams is one of the best glue guys in college basketball. He is also the son of another Illini player, Frank Williams.

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Best College Basketball Handicappers Picks for Suspect Spreads Saturday

BY MATTY D.

The best college basketball handicappers all share one common trait: Wins! And the against the spread picks by collegebasketballeyetest.com have had a successful 2021-2022 season. Every Saturday, Matty D. shares his picks on Twitter on the hashtag #SuspectSpreadsSaturday. The phrase alerts fans about which Vegas spreads look suspect, or questionable. During the regular season, this website boasted a 70-49 record against the spread. That’s a winning percentage of 59%.

Now, this hashtag is getting taken over for March Madness 2022 picks!

Looking for the best long-shots to win March Madness? CLICK HERE!

My record against the spread this season is 70-49-2 as of March 7, 2022.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL PICKS FOR FIRST/SECOND ROUND OF THE TOURNAMENT:

These picks appear in order of confidence level, from the lowest confidence pick at 12 all the way down to the most confident pick at number one.

14. Delaware Hens +15.5 vs. Villanova
13. Longwood Lancers +16.5 vs. Tennessee
12. Providence Friars -2.5 vs. South Dakota State
11. Davidson +1.5 vs. Michigan State
10. UCLA -13.5 vs. Akron
9. Arkansas -5.5 vs. Vermont
8. New Mexico State +7 vs. UCONN
7. LSU -4 vs. Iowa State
6. Norfolk State +21.5 vs. Baylor
5. Richmond Spiders +10.5 vs. Iowa
4. Loyola -1.5 vs. Ohio State
3. UAB +8.5 vs. Houston
2. V-Tech +1.5 vs. Texas
1. USC -1.5 vs. Miami

Honorable mention: If you are a fan of Big Ten basketball, a 3 team money line parlay with Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois could make sense. Each team will fluctuate between a 4 to 7 point favorite, but could all win a close game. If you like Indiana, they sit in a similar position as a small favorite against Wyoming in the play-in game.

Check out some of our Elite 8 Articles Trending Now! Just click on your pick below…

Select the seed to survive and advance to the next article!
The collegebasketballeyetest.com bracket features a 12 seed in the national title game.

Matty D’s Philosophy for College Basketball Picks Against the Spread

Just like a Thursday or Friday in mid-March, a Saturday offers the widest sample size of games to choose from. If you’re a college basketball fan, you’re probably familiar with the power 5 schools. If you’re a better, it’s also good to get familiar with a few mid-major conferences. For example, I have gotten cozy with the Conference USA and American conferences over the years. This familiarity helped me go undefeated with 7 correct picks (and one tie) in the selections below.

Underdogs like Providence and Western Kentucky proved their worth early in the season.

My rule is to always bet any 6 point (or more) underdog to cover the first half. If and when an underdog challenges a favorite, it’s normally off of adrenaline and a lack of familiarity in the first half. I would always wager a dollar amount equal to, or slightly more than, the entire point line for the game. I would also traditionally bet 10-30% of that dollar amount on the money line. If I really believe that a 6 point underdog will win the game, I might bet 30% of my point line bet on the money line. For example, if I bet $10 on Providence to cover a 6.5 point spread, I would bet $3 on them to win the game outright. The money-line odds in that situation would be somewhere in the ballpark of 2-1 or 3-1. The advantage to being able to play on sports betting apps is that you don’t have to pay the traditional $5 or $10 minimums per bets at the physical casino. This helps betting on a budget. On FanDuel’s app you can make a minimum bet of 9 cents whereas DraftKings offers a 10 cent minimum.

If you or someone you know is struggling to set limits with sports betting, help is available.

Matty D’s Running Tally of ATS Picks for College Basketball Season

Here is a running tally of the college basketball sports betting picks for the 2021-2022 season with the newest up top.

These picks on February 5, 2022 went 6-5 on the week.
Pick are always published on Twitter before tip off on Saturdays with the same hashtag.

Please follow on Twitter to join the conversation!

Sub 6′ 1″ Scorers Ready to Scorch March Madness

There is a rich history of 6 footish (and under) guards who were set to upset March Madness when their number was called. Here are some of the dangerous scorers who may be overlooked, quite literally, by their competition.

ALEX HUNTER, FURMAN

The saying normally goes, “he only needs an inch” to score. And while watching the Tar Heels try to triple team Alex Hunter around the 3 point line earlier this season, I thought: “maybe he just needs a centimeter” to score.

Photo courtesy furmanpaladins.com

Hunter shoots 46% from the field and 43 percent from the 3 point line. He creates space with ease in a James Harden-like step back dribble. Hunter scored 17 against Louisville, 30 against UNC, and 21 against Mississippi State in the 2021-2022 campaign. So he welcomes the big moment.

Hunter also averages north of 3 assists per game.

JAMAREE BOUYEE, SAN FRANCISCO

Jamaree Bouyee is a super senior who, like a fine wine, has been chilling and ready to show his game has gotten better with age. Saying someone can score in all three levels is cliche. Bouyee has that old cliche on lockdown. He can dance around the three point line to create his own show. Bouyee is solid shooting the ball off a screen in a midrange. And he has been seen to start and finish his own fast break.

Jamaree Bouyee is a dangerous scoring threat. Photo courtesy: usfdons.com

The San Francisco Dons are part of a very strong WCC conference. You could say the league is stronger than the ACC. The Dons and their two guards emulate another West Coast backcourt in the Portland Trailblazers with Lillard and McCollum. Bouyee’s backcourt mate Khalil Shabazz is another dangerous scoring combo guard.

MAX ABMAS, ORAL ROBERTS

If you watched March Madness in the spring of 2021, I don’t need to tell you what Max Abmas is capable of.

Photo courtesy oruathletics.com

He scored 29 against Ohio State and then 26 against Florida en route to a Sweet 16 berth. With Oral Roberts tangling with some other Summit League opponents in conference this season, he has somehow slipped off the radar.

DARIUS MCGHEE, LIBERTY

Photo courtesy Liberty.edu

Watching Darius McGhee is like watching Spud Webb with a modern step-back 3 point jump shot in his arsenal. McGhee has an insanely high vertical leap and can attack the rim with bad intentions. Yet, he shoots 41 percent from the 3pt line (Spud averaged 31% over his NBA career.).

*This article is a work-in-progress. Please visit again in March 2022!

College Basketball’s Hybrid Weekend of Important In and Non-Conference Games

BY MATTY D.

It’s the season of giving and college basketball is delivering in its last weekend before Christmas.

The schedule for Saturday, December 18th features critically important games in-conference and out of conference.

Let’s start with the much-maligned Memphis Tigers. They have caught criticism because brining on two 17-year-olds (who re-classified in high school) top NBA prospects hasn’t jived yet. After a four game losing streak, they stopped the bleeding with a season saving resume building win against highly ranked Alabama. Today, they have another important regional and non-conference matchup. They catch Tennessee as a 5 point underdog.

Tennessee just recently played Texas Tech in a game that was probably the ugliest watch of the season among top 50 teams. Although Texas Tech has retained its toughness epitomized by since departed coach Chris Beard, neither team could score the ball. Texas Tech won, but it wasn’t pretty. If the Red Raiders show any signs of those same offensive struggles, they’ll get run out of the gym against Gonzaga. The Zags are one of America’s best offenses.

And let’s spend some time with Conference USA. This conference never gets any credit, despite pulling upsets repeatedly in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. You’ve heard of the Hilltoppers because Western Kentucky is always dangerous. Last year, North Texas beat Purdue outright in the field of 64. This year, LA Tech is a real threat with big man Kenneth Lofton, Jr.

On this date, Conference USA gets a chance to prove itself again. UAB is a favorite hosting West Virginia. LA Tech battles with LSU. And Western Kentucky hosts Louisville. No one should be surprised if the conference nets a 2-1 record there.

Meantime, one conference is diving into its conference season full steam ahead. And that’s the Big East. Friday night Creighton blew Villanova out of its gym to immediately shake up the power structure of the conference. On Saturday, Providence has an opportunity to validate its own strong start. They open up conference play, surprisingly as a 6.5 point underdog, against UCONN. Ed Cooley is doing it again. His Friars have started the season 10-1 with wins against top 50 (if not top 25) teams Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Texas Tech. The Friars only loss is to (embattled) Virginia.

A night cap to keep an eye on is the Oregon Baylor game. At first glance, this looks like it should be a blowout for Baylor. But true college basketball fans know better. Oregon has embraced a litany of transfer students and they’re paying the price of patience for that decision. Coach Dana Altman has to, once again, prove his worth as a top coach when it comes to development and continue grooming this group. Right now it’s mixed bag of talent that hasn’t clicked. Meantime, Baylor lost four starters from its national championship team and hasn’t missed a beat. They’ve surprised a lot of people being voted this week as the #1 overall team in the AP Poll.

Friars wrap up their pregame prep prior to their first game in Hartford since 2008.Photo Courtesy: Providence Friars Men’s Basketball/Twitter.

Thanks for reading this article. Follow CBBEyeTest on Twitter, where author Matty D. shares his observations and predictions. Ahead of every Saturday, he shares his picks against the spread. The current record for his “Suspect Spread Saturday” series is 13-6-1 early in this 2021 season.

Best College Basketball Games for December 2021

BY MATTY D.

Here are December’s most epic match-ups around the college basketball 2021-2022 season.

These are my choice for the top 4 games in December and why…

4. December 30, 2021 Arizona vs. UCLA

Before the season tipped, it was a foregone conclusion by the “experts” that UCLA would win the PAC-12 conference in convincing fashion. And as Arizona State head football coach would say, “that’s why you play the game.”

Arizona will visit UCLA at the end of the month in what I consider to be the biggest barometer game of the month to figure out how good these teams really are. UCLA got blown out by Gonzaga, which brings up a lot of questions about its previously vaunted defense. Meantime, Arizona has risen from a 80-1 favorite to win it all to the 25 or 35-1 territory. This happened pretty fast. Arizona’s dominant win against Michigan opened a lot of eyes. They also handled a very underrated Wichita State team. One of these teams has built a strong out-of-conference case for having a top seed in the tournament, and it’s not UCLA. This is a true test.

3. December 7, 2021 Villanova vs. Syracuse
Madison Square Garden

You better start Googling Big East Basketball history if you don’t know the significance of this matchup and this location.

2. December 11, 2021 Cincinnati vs. Xavier i.e. “The Crosstown Shootout”

This would be a bad day to physically attend a game, because there’s going to be so much must-see TV drama in your living room. Xavier scraps with Cincinnati in what I consider college basketball’s longest-standing local rivalry with genuine bad blood. The last time tempers really flared up in this one, it involved former Cincy Coach Mick Cronin accusing JP Macura of throwing some F-bombs his way.

And it’s hard to believe that it’s already been 9 years since this all-out brawl at the Cintas Center:

  1. December 11, 2021 Missouri at Kansas
    Allen Fieldhouse

This matchup is what history is made of, literally.  The rivalry between the Jayhawkers of the Free State and the confederate forces of Missouri is well documented.   The hatred lasts to this day.  And Missouri left the Big 12 in recent years to join the SEC.  Without it, there was no natural meeting between these two heated opponents.  With conference re-alignment tearing at the fabric of what makes the regular season great, this is a big win for college basketball that this rivalry is renewed.

More Honorable Mentions and Notes for Upcoming Dates:

Dec 4:  Buffalo Bulls at St. Bonaventure Bonnies 

St. Bonaventure fell hard outside of the top 25 after taking a tough 10 point loss to Northern Iowa.  However, St. Bonaventure should still be everyone’s underdog darling after the way it waxed Marquette (and others) during the “Feast Week” holiday platform.  This Buffalo team was perhaps where St. Bonaventure is ascending to, now.  They are both often overlooked schools in Upstate New York that play for formidable basketball conferences.  Buffalo rose to respectability (and a 2018 tournament game win) under coach Bobby Hurley’s watch.  St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt has been with the Bonnies since the 2007-2008 season and has built a similar threat upstate.  In fact, St. Bonaventure has been considered by some a top 10 mid-major program for a few consecutive years.  This contest could determine who, if, and whether both teams can make a NCAA Tournament with some juice.  

Dec 5:  Richmond vs. Northern Iowa 

It’s not only power 5 conference bubble teams that need to score some out-of-conference wins before the winter officially kicks off.  Richmond and Northern Iowa play each other in a similar, possible, resume building spot.  Richmond was a darks horse candidate to make some noise around the pandemic shortened and canceled seasons.  The same can be said for Northern Iowa.  Big picture, these programs could be on the decline in terms of their bids for an at large in any upcoming tournament.  A game like this could prove otherwise.  

Dec 6:  Iowa vs. Illinois 

Dec 7:  Villanova vs. Syracuse (at MSG) 

Dec 8:  Utah St. vs. BYU 

Dec 9: Iowa vs. Iowa State 

During a week when in-state rivalry let rip, a role reversal might play itself out in the Hawkeye State.  The Cyclones were picked to finished last in the Big 12.  Yet, they found themselves ranked 19th in the AP Top 25 at the start of December.  With Iowa figuring its identity out without graduated Luka Garza, this could be an Iowa changing of the guard.

Dec 10:  Murray State at Memphis 

The school that helped produce the blossoming legend of Ja Morant visits his new home (of the Memphis Grizzlies).  And when it comes to which team has inherited the best new crop of point guard talent, the edge might go to Murray State.  The Racers enter December with only one loss at the top of the Ohio Valley conference.  Memphis, despite having NBA talent, is struggling to run its offense in simple terms.  

Dec 11:  Missouri at Kansas 

This matchup is what history is made of, literally.  The rivalry between the Jayhawkers of the Free State and the confederate forces of Missouri is well documented.   The hatred lasts to this day.  And Missouri left the Big 12 in recent years to join the SEC.  Without it, there was no natural meeting between these two heated opponents.  With conference re-alignment tearing at the fabric of what makes the regular season great, this is a big win for college basketball that this rivalry is renewed. 

Dec 12:  Rutgers vs. Seton Hall

Dec 13:  UMBC vs. Princeton 

Dec 14;  Alabama vs. Memphis 

Dec 15:  UC Irvine vs. USC 

Dec 16: UT Arlington vs. Oral Roberts

Dec 17: St. Mary’s vs. San Diego State

December 18-19: This weekend featured a grand finale of the out-of-conference season.

December 22-25: For college basketball, The Diamondhead Classic is likely the most relevant action around the Christmas holiday itself. BYU has looked awesome at times, but slipped outside of the AP Top 25 ahead of this holiday tournament. Still, the Cougars can score the ball in a variety of ways and come in as the betting favorite. Meantime, a first round matchup between Liberty and Northern Iowa features two mid major programs that have been extremely relevant in the past 3-5 years. A lot of talent has passed through each of these programs, but they remain legitimate threats to pull an upset win, especially in a tournament scenario like this one. Each team retains consistency at the head coaching position. Ben Jacobsen has been leading Northern Iowa since 2006 and Ritchie McCay has made an impact at Liberty almost immediately when getting the job in 2015.

December 30, 2021 Arizona vs. UCLA: UCLA had to pause its activities a week before this game because of COVID-19 issues. Meantime, Arizona drives through a brutal stretch of games around this holiday. The Wildcats play Tennessee after the Vols had ample time to prepare on the heels of Memphis canceling their game in last minute, dysfunctional fashion.

Whichever team, Arizona or UCLA, can navigate the adversity best might find itself as a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament come March.

College Basketball Eye Test’s Best Value Bets for 2021-2022 Season

BY MATTY D.

Read about 5 value picks to win the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship from a website that produced 5 of 6 long-shot picks last season.

Last season, this website identified 6 value picks to win the tournament at an average of 392-1 odds. Five of those teams made the tournament and one of those teams made the Final Four after starting the season as a 50-1 underdog.

Watch Matty D’s prediction for this season below and get your hedging hat on in March!

The favorite of the underdogs is Louisiana Tech, starting the season at 200-1.

Big man Kenny Lofton Jr. is a big reason why the Bulldogs are a good value bet. He led the USA Men’s Basketball U19 team to a Gold performance this summer. His game resembles the girth and footwork of other college basketball legends, such as Glen “Big Baby” Davis. Watch some of Lofton Jr’s highlights from the summer in the link below. And be sure to see the other 4 picks as great futures values in our season preview.

Courtesy: FIBA Basketball/YouTube Channel

6 March Madness Trends Fixed as Annual Traditions

BY MATTHEW DE SARLE

The NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament overcame COVID-19 in 2020-2021 to produce on of the best tournaments ever. This version of March Madness featured a Cinderella 15 seed nearly making the Elite 8, ten double digit seeds making the field of 32, and one final upset for the record books.

And we buried our lead about 2021’s March Madness. That’s because historic basketball icon UCLA actually made the Final Four as an 11 seed!

Despite the unusual year including quarantines and mask-wearing, college basketball observers shouldn’t be surprised by some of the normal antics. Here are 5 normal ingredients that renewed themselves as fixtures in a melting pot of madness.

6. Skaky Teams Get Shocked in The First Showdown

This happens literally every year. A team that has flirted with the AP Top 10 throughout the season gets bounced in the first pair of days. People look at the roster on paper and ask, “how can this happen?” This year was saw NBA draft pick Jericho Sims surrounded by a fleet of future (possible) lottery picks like Greg Brown and Kai Jones. You watched them lose at home down the stretch of the regular season to other in-conference mid-Top 25 AP programs like West Virginia and Texas Tech and ask “how is this happening?”

5. Leading Scorers Nationwide Need Be Feared Regardless of Conference, Size

If CJ McCollum and Harold “The Show” Arceneaux haven’t taught us anything, then Max Abmas and the Oral Roberts Eagles have made it officially official. The scoring abilities of a guard who ranks top 5 (or first overall) in scoring nationwide can translate in the tournament.

4. CBS Hosts a Questionable Yet Must-See TV Immediate Sunday Matchup

Wichita State basketball fans are still not over the let-down of losing to 8 seed Kentucky on Sunday, March, 23rd of 2014. Sorry, too soon? Yet, they have good company now this season with Illinois basketball fans. Anyone who follows basketball, especially the inner workings of how the bracket is constructed, knows that Illinois had no business playing Loyola Chicago as a 9 seed just 72 hours into the tournament. And yet, it happened. Loyola Chicago was ranked in the neighborhood of the 10th best team in the nation when the tournament started, according to which poll you subscribe to. However, the Sunday matinee television programming of Sister Jean and the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers renewing their Cinderella ways against an in-state foe was too flavorful for the NCAA to pass up.

Sister Jean roots on Loyola Chicago Courtesy CBS Sports/NCAA

You tell me that NCAA and CBS aren’t working together to make that storyline possible, and I have the Clark Street Bridge I want to sell you. The game was amazing and Loyola Chicago dominated down the stretch to upset the 1 seeded Illinois. It was just too good of a television programming moment for committee and/or television executives to pass up.

And it happened again. The following year, in 2022, Sister Jean returns to the road to root on her Ramblers. That’s because CBS and/or the committee arranged for a perfect All-American showdown against Christian-founded schools, Villanova and Loyola Chicago. And with each team’s early play on Friday, this sets up perfectly for a holy matchup right after Sunday mass. Was this divine intervention on the bracket construction, or might the hands of man have his fingerprints on this one?

In fact, let’s just have the NCAA and TV executive comes out and say it. “We schedule the bracket in such a way to provide great sports drama on television!”

I mean, I for one would not protest that sentiment if it got published to the record. I want sexy matchups in the bracket, but I would prefer we call it for what it is.

3. Getting Back Together with the Ex – NCAA Committee’s Fascination with Reunions

To take this a step further, the orchestration of great storylines goes far beyond this niche Sunday matchup. The committee also loves to arrange for an awkward date between two exes. That also makes for great TV drama! The most recent example is how Michigan State transfer Foster Loyer will be playing against his old team in round 1. The committee didn’t even wait for the field of 32 to re-unite this broken relationship!

The marriage between players and their ex-teams in the field of 64 or the field of 32 has happened countless times. It also frequently happens for coaches. The most recent example that comes to mind is when 11 seeded Arizona State got paired with 6 seeded Buffalo in the first round. That presented an awkward meeting between Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley and his former school. What’s even more suspect in this situation, is that the mid-major team was the higher seed. It’s not only that Buffalo played against its former coach. The players also got the opportunity to play their former coach on the heels of their highest-ever tournament seeding. What drama! And the mid-major Buffalo Bulls in fact did beat the 11 seeded Arizona State Sun Devils in 2019.

Foster Loyer plays for Davidson after transferring from Michigan State.
Photo courtesy: davidsonwildcats.com

2. Play-In Game Winners Gain Momentum and Beat the Odds

Last year, UCLA won it’s play-in game as an 11 seed and continued its magical run all the way to the Final 4. As improbable as this sounds, the play-in game winner has become very dangerous. Those teams carry momentum. They get the natural advantage of getting familiar with the arena on a Tuesday or Wednesday before they play the at-large opponent on Thursday or Friday.

In 2018, Syracuse made the Sweet 16 as an 11 seed after beating Arizona State in the play-in game.

In 2017, 11 seed USC upset (4 loss) SMU in the first round after winning its play-in game.

In 2016, Fred Van Vleet and the 11 seed Wichita State Shockers beat Vanderbilt in the play off game before upsetting 6 seed Arizona.

And so this trend of the 11 seed gaining momentum…is gaining momentum.

Fun fact: In the last 30 years, an 11 seed is much more likely to make a Final 4 as compared to a 6 seed. The last 6 seed to make a Final 4 was the Fab Five in 1993. Meantime, there have been four 11 seeds to make the Final Four since 2006 (George Mason, VCU, Loyola Chicago, and UCLA).

Photo courtesy goshockers.com
  1. Future NBA Greats Don’t Always Dominate

    If you’re a fan of 1990s NBA hoops, think of the best players of the past 3 decades who actually played some college basketball: Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan. None made a Final 4. In fact, most of these greats struggled to advance beyond the first weekend.

    Conversely, the media darling doesn’t always excel. Jimmer Fredette and Luka Garza became National Players of the Year, as well as media darlings. However, they never cracked the Sweet 16.

Final Thought: In closing, it’s a murky picture. Some might even say it’s madness. As you pick your bracket in future years, remember that your future NCAA legend should be good, but not too great. The team should be must-see TV, but not have a tragic character whose reputation could never outpace his play. Good luck with that.

Max Abmas made a name for himself in 2021’s March Madness.
Courtesy: CBS Sports/YouTube

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