College Basketball Futures 2023: Best NCAAB Values Right Now

These college basketball teams are high value picks with the current odds to win a national championship.

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.

Click here to see the volatile fluctuations of team stocks over this season.

This article outlines my favorite value picks for current odds to win it all.

#5 Florida Atlantic 200-1 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. Florida Atlantic continued their momentum into conference play where they’ve beaten tournament-relevant programs like UAB, North Texas and Western Kentucky. They are now unbelievably ranked 21st overall in the nation and somehow still 200-1 to win it all. 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).

Photo courtesy fausports.com

#4 Arkansas Razorbacks 50-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament

This will be the first of two SEC teams on the list. 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, Kentucky, the list goes on.

As for Arkansas, the roster has turned over completely, but the identity remains the same. 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.

Photo courtesy Razorbacks Men’s Basketball on Twitter

#3 College of Charleston 300-1 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 300-1 is too rich for your blood (or too thrifty in this case), then you should at least consider CoC at 60-1 or 70-1 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 thought they play in a mid-major conference, they may not need to win their conference tournament championship. 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.

Photo courtesy CofCSports.com

#2: Creighton Bluejays 65-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament

Creighton’s futures tickets have been selling at a discount since a stretch when they lost 5 of 6 to start December. 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. 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.

Fun fact: Creighton has one of several sons of NBA stars playing college hoops right now.
Click here for our full list of sons of NBA players playing college basketball in the NCAA 2022-2023 season.

#1: Auburn Tigers 80-1 to Win NCAA Basketball Tournament

One team has quietly been lying in the tall grass ready to pounce. The Auburn Tigers are sitting at 100-1 to win it all in late January. This team has consistently been in the middle of the AP Top 25. Currently, they are ranked 16th in the nation. To put that into mathematical perspective, here are two teams in the same neighborhood in the futures marketplace. The Memphis Tigers are currently also 100-1 on the FanDuel Sportsbook app. However, those Tigers haven’t even received one vote in this week’ AP Top 25. The Ohio State Buckeyes are given more respect in the futures market. They are listed at 80-1. However, those Buckeyes only received three AP votes for the Top 25 this week.

Auburn was 80-1 to win it all on the FanDuel app on January 25, 2023 and 60-1 on DraftKings.

From a basketball perspective, Auburn is fun to watch as an aggressive defensive bunch. They just went into LSU and kicked their ass. The Tigers register on most of the defensive metrics. They have two veteran guards in K.D. Johnson and Wendell Green who value the ball and make winning plays. Senior forward Jaylin Williams has elevated his game and is contributing 11 points and 5 rebounds per game. Morehead State transfer Johni Broome is a wildly talented power forward who very well could pop on the national scene during the tournament. He has sticky grip hands and showcases great footwork in the post. Broome actually reminds you of a young Chris Bosh when you watch him. (That’s the Toronto Raptors version of Bosh, before he migrated to three point territory). Coach Bruce Pearl has this team in great condition and can play in waves that tire you out. Pearl took a similarly undervalued Auburn squad to the Final Four in 2019. That team was roughly 60-1 or 70-1 as the tournament began, depending on which marketplace you bought from. If you are going with this pick this year, also consider a ticket to make the Final Four at somewhere in the 20-1 territory.

NCAAB Handicappers Free Picks for Saturdays, Season Record

BY MATTY D.

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.

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.

Please bet responsibility, seek help if you need it, and find resources throughout this blog about betting college basketball on a budget.

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

The year 2023 started with a bang and a large sample size. These picks fell flat. The record stood at 9-17 overall to start the season. Followers may have started picking the reverse of CBBEyeTest picks to cash tickets!

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.

Join the college hoops conversation by following us here on Twitter.

College Basketball Odds: Big Movers in NCAAB Futures 2022-2023

These college basketball futures odds are the most active, according to DraftKings.

BY MATTY D.

The college basketball season is a volatile environment and these fluctuating odds, to win the 2022-2023 Men’s National College Basketball Championship, reflect that. Here are some notable teams on the move since the start of the college basketball season in early November.

College Basketball Futures Odds where team stock is improving

If you bought stock in UCONN basketball at the start of the season, your investment is up 700% to 800% depending on which marketplace you reference. On the DraftKings Sportsbook app, the UCONN Huskies started the season as 80-1 underdogs to win a national title. Today, they are almost the betting favorite at 12-1. Houston is the only team ahead of UCONN at 7-1.

Junior forward Adama Sanogo is leading the way for the Huskies by averaging 18 points and 7 rebounds this season.

Another team that is becoming more expensive to invest in is Alabama. The Roll Tide is quietly moving into more expensive waters. Alabama started the season at 50-1. Today, they are 25-1 to win a title. That number is likely to continue trending upwards with the outstanding play of their super freshman, Brandon Miller. Bleacher Report has him listed at the top 8 overall pick is this upcoming NBA Draft.

Ironically, Alabama and UCONN played each other earlier this season. The Huskies won in convincing fashion. If each team wins its own conference, the tournament committee might be convinced to make each squad a 1 or 2 seed in the tournament.

The Virginia Cavaliers have moved up from 40-1 to 22-1.

If you like huge underdogs on the move, there are many still left to choose from. Teams like Toledo, who weren’t even listed early in the season, have made their way onto the radar and into betting marketplaces. Mid-major darling Drake has moved from 250-1 to 200-1 after its win against Mississippi State.

College Basketball Teams whose stock is dropping

Michigan has dropped from 35-1 to 75-1, according to DraftKings.

UNC was once the preseason number 1 overall ranked team. The Tar Heels stock has dropped from a 9-1 favorite to a more modest 25-1.

Dayton plummets from 80-1 to 300-1 on DraftKings (started the season at 48-1 on FanDuel in preseason) 

There are a lot of other teams that have dropped around 50 points on the “to one” scale. USC drops 150 points from 100-1 to 250-1 and Wisconsin drops 50 points 

Another team that has disappeared from many top 40 boards is Oregon. The Ducks started the season at 60-1 to win a national championship.

Other notable movements in the NCAAB futures markets

Blue bloods like Indiana, UCLA, and Duke remain consistent in the 14-1 to 30-1 range throughout the season so far. This is more or less a second tier of values after the heavy favorites.

Illinois up from 40-1 to 28-1 despite getting clobbered by Mizzou  

Did we miss any? Join the conversation by following us on Twitter.

Christmas Gift of College Hoops Saturday Teaches Us Who’s Naughty, Who’s Nice

One Saturday in December features multiple fantastic matchups

BY MATT DE SARLE

Monday’s AP Top 25 in college basketball is going to look much different after this Saturday’s action. The latter half of the top ten is going to leap-frog much of the top 5. Teams like Purdue and UCONN got relatively little challenge against conference foes, while Virginia, Alabama, and Tennessee tested themselves against non-conference powers and lost in close matchups. Here’s a brief summary of what we observed.

UCLA and Kentucky struggle to score down the stretch

This one was tough to watch down the stretch. Collectively in the final six minutes of this game, these teams went 5-of-19 from the floor while missing a handful of free throws. It was droughts in the UCLA offense that ended its season at the hands of upstart UNC in the 2022 tournament. And we all know about how Kentucky came up short on the big stage against St. Peter’s. It was a big stage for this one, in the CBS Sports Classic in primetime and at Madison Square Garden, but the stars did not light up the score board. It was weird to see last season’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award winner for center of the year, Oscar Tswiebwe, only get a few touches down the stretch. The big man missed his final three shots in the last ten minutes —a missed dunk, missed layup, and missed jumper.

UNC turns contest with Ohio State into a track meet to muster overtime win

As referenced above, the Tar Heels have a flair for the dramatics. In the 2021-2022 campaign, they started their season lousy on defense yet exciting in the open court. They played up to the competition. That volatility hit the plus side of the ledger when they ran through March Madness as the runner-up to a championship. Saturday’s game with them pitted against Ohio State at MSG felt like that moment. The Tar Heels were dominated throughout the meat of the game. However, through furious pressure defense, fast break points, and a high volume of free throws and three point attempts, the Tar Heels forced overtime. UNC trailed by as many as 14 points in the game and only made a pitiful 11 percent from three point territory. Yet, a likely X factor for their full season (Pete Nance) hit a game tying last possession shot to force overtime in dramatic fashion. Nance, the son of longtime NBA star Peter Nance, has polished a well-rounded game under the radar during his time at Northwestern. Now his ability to score at all three levels was the difference for UNC to finish off this epic comeback.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE SONS OF NBA STARS IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Northwestern transfer Pete Nance proves he can be an X factor for UNC

Brandon Miller officially arrives on national stage despite Alabama’s loss to Gonzaga

There are two takeaways from Alabama’s game against Gonzaga. For one, Gonzaga doesn’t need to regret scheduling so aggressively. After so many non-conference bumps in the road, Drew Timme and Bulldogs are back to their winning ways. More importantly, Brandon Miller is a star and won’t be playing college basketball next season.

Drawing comparisons to Kevin Durant during the telecast, Brandon Miller lit up the game with 36 points. That includes a simmering stretch where he essentially scored 17 points in the equivalent of the 3rd quarter. Although the freshman was a known star, Alabama had never fed him in this obnoxious of a fashion. Miller made good on his 22 attempts by making 12 of them.

See the highlights here, courtesy of CBS Sports (and pirated by Frankie Vision for YouTube)

You can only watch Brandon Miller to believe he plays in a league other than the NBA

Arizona asserts itself in another mega-matchup nightcap

Us college basketball fans were treated to not only an amazing game of action, but a perfect nightcap to finish the day. Arizona proved that it can continue rising to the moment. After beating Indiana in a nationally televised primetime game on a big stage in Las Vegas, the Wildcats headed back to the crib for this one. The 9th ranked Wildcats knocked off the 6th ranked Tennessee Volunteers. And it got testy early and late. The game started with a technical foul for chest-bumping and stare downs under the rim. After the game, there were flexing and more stare downs in the handshake line. Still, what these teams showed between the lines was impressive. Zagai Ziegler continues his super efficient play at point guard for the Vols. He scored 21 points on 73% shooting (but only dished one assist). Tennessee guards are ready for primetime. Arizona’s bigs can be a separator. And both of these squads looked polished and ready for another high level competition like this one. This didn’t look like a Final 4 matchup. It looked like the national championship. Arizona has now beat top 25 teams Creighton, San Diego State, Indiana, and Tennessee in the early going of this season.

One Paragraph Introduction to Every Tournament Team – NCAA Basketball 2022

From the long-shots like Longwood to the blue chips like Baylor and Duke, here is your user-friendly guide to get caught up on every NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament team for 2022.

BY MATTY D.

This guide is a work-in-progress on Selection Sunday and the following Monday….

Arizona Wildcats 2022 College Basketball Summary

This is very surprising to say, but Arizona might have the best combo guard in the entire nation. If you are reading before the tournament tips off, the nation is about to meet Benedict Mathurin. He is like watching a Russell Westbrook who is more willing to pass and also capable of hitting an open three pointer. Mathurin plays with great pace as does this entire Wildcats squad. They ran USC out of the gym in a late February matchup on national TV. The irony there was that they looked like “Dunk City” against the former Florida Gulf Coast Coach. At 6-11, Azoulas Tubelis is a nightmare matchup for defenses as he also runs the floor with ease on the fast break. A team that can keep its foot on the gas pedal is very dangerous in March. Tommy Lloyd is a first time coach, but he has spent decades as an assistant at Gonzaga. And so it shouldn’t be shocking to see his team play with this sort of offensive firepower. And, it’s possible this team makes a magical run with a “first time coach” in name only.

Baylor Bears 2022 College Basketball Summary

Baylor has fortified its position as a blue blood this season. No one expected this team to be competing for a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They lost three rotation guards from its national championship team, plus lost powerful power forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua late this year to a season-ending injury. You’d be stupid to write off the Baylor Bears at this point. However, they’ve out-paced expectations about three times over already. After transferring to two different locations, point guard James Akinjo has finally found a comfortable home in Waco. His play this season has sustained their championship potential. I think Baylor’s prospects to make its way back to the Final Four rest on the abilities of Kendall Brown and Matthew Mayer to score the ball. Akinjo has played injured down the stretch. Flo Thamba and Jeremy Sochan have provided stellar backcourt play in aggravating offenses and attacking the defensive glass. Junior Adam Flagler returned for a junior season and provided a stable scoring threat at shooting guard. The X factor for this team might come down to the scoring abilities of Brown and Mayer late in games and late in the tournament.

Bryant Bulldogs 2022 College Basketball Summary

The headline from Bryant’s dominate NEC Championship win against Wagner was all about the brawl that happened among fans in the crowd. It was an embarrassing live TV moment on national TV as it took administrators literally over a half hour to sort out before resuming a blowout with just over 4 minutes left. Still, don’t overlook the fact that Bryant has the nation’s leading scorer. There is a well established tradition in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament where leading scorers find a way to serve the upset (Read 5 more trends that stuck as annual traditions by clicking here). It happened with CJ McCollum and more recently, Max Abmas. Peter Kiss looks like Jimmer Fredette out on the court the way he hops around and scores from all three levels. He doesn’t have the 3-point range that Fredette did, but he can dunk with authority unlike Fredette did. Kiss talks a lot of trash and might just excite a neutral site crowd to cheer for his team. Peter Kiss led the nation in scoring, but still didn’t get voted as his own conference’s player of the year. That’s likely because of his bad sportsmanship when showing up opponents (this was showcased in the ESPN broadcast of the championship game). Bryant has some size and confuses offenses by alternating between man and zone defense. This should be a fun game to watch between Bryant and Wright State because both teams have some exciting elements to their play.

Cal State Fullerton 2022 Titans College Basketball Summary

The Titans lost a pair of games to Mountain West Conference teams late in the fall, which is worth looking at as a measuring stick now. They played a clean game against Wyoming, only giving up 8 turnovers. But they jacked up 16 three pointers, only hitting 12 of them. E.J. Anosike is their best player at power forward. He operates well from the mid-range area. The question is who can step up as the number two scorer? In the game against San Diego State, 6-6 senior guard Tray Maddox Jr. led the way with 15 points. However, again Cal State jacked up 22 three pointers, only making 7 of them. Cal State is middle-of-the-pack in offensive and defensive metrics. They bottled up Big West Player of the Year (point guard) Colin Slater, forcing him to turn the ball over 5 times in a loss. The Titans have the athletes to compete, but they are not among the most feared mid-major teams entering the tournament. I think it’s fair to say that a ten point loss to a power conference team is a likely expectation for this team’s ceiling.

Colgate Raiders 2022 College Basketball Summary

Colgate won the Patriot League championship in convincing fashion. They handed Navy a 16 point defeat. Colgate is headlined by a pair of senior guards, Tucker Richardson and Nelly Cummings. They score a combined 27 points per game. 6-10 forward Keegan Records adds 10 points and 6 rebounds per game. The Raiders are a top 100 offense, according to Kenpom.com. But when I watched them, I wasn’t wowed. So I dove into the numbers to help discover why. Kenpom also has them listed as the 203rd ranked adjusted defensive efficiency, which will rank among the worst with tournament teams (Delaware, South Dakota State and Bryant being in the same vicinity). Colgate was dominant in the Patriot League, but that shouldn’t be expected in a top-heavy NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2022.

Gonzaga Bulldogs 2022 College Basketball Summary

Whether fair or unfair, I look through Gonzaga’s team through the lens of “will this be the year that they finally win a championship?”

And sadly, my answer is no for one simple reason. Last year’s Gonzaga team was actually more talented than this 2022 campaign. And that’s why, with even more national champion threats out there, I can’t imagine Gonzaga winning it all. Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert were first round picks in the NBA Draft. Suggs looked like Jason Kidd in a Gonzaga uniform, only he blocked shots too. Losing those players cannot be overlooked. Yes, Chet Homgren is a great prospect and having an outstanding freshman season for the Bulldogs. But he got punked by Paolo Banchero in their early season matchup when the Duke bigs went after Gonzaga in the post (and won the game). That November 26, 2021 game looked and sounded like a National Championship game. Gonzaga point guard Andrew Nembhard was the best point guard on the floor. However, Drew Timme and Chet Homgren were outplayed by Mark Williams, Banchero, and others in the post. Timme had 17 points, but he also struggled with 5 turnovers. Watch highlights of this game and try to make an argument that Gonzaga should be the odds-on favorite right now (which it is) to win a national title. You can’t.

Iowa Hawkeyes 2022 College Basketball Summary

As it was aptly put by Jim Nantz and the CBS Broadcasting crew at Iowa won its surprising Big Ten Championship, this team has a family theme. Coach Fran McCaffery is coaching his two sons. And the Murray brothers are mainstays in the rotation. Keegan Murray is a stretch forward who can play inside out. He is among the nation’s best players. Iowa can be streaky from the three point line, but if they’re hitting, watch out! And while the family theme is the popular narrative of the Big Ten season finale, it’s a point guard who is emerging that’s become the show in my opinion. Tony Perkins started the season logging minutes in the teens or single digits. He’d produce 1, 2, or 3 assists per game. Now, he is averaging 25+ minutes and has dished out 19 assists in the last four games. He is averaging nearly 12 points in those clutch games (wins against Indiana and Purdue in the Big Ten tournament, to name a few). This team lost Luka Garza to graduation and the NBA. And while they didn’t replace him with a core post scorer, they have plenty of quality college basketball players around the paint to pick up the slack. This team earned its way to a 4 or 5 seed, which should result in regional preference. However, it’s worth noting that they’ve played sub top 25 basketball earlier this season. This would quality as a very high ceiling and a low floor type of team. For now, they are Big Ten Champions!

Jacksonville State Gamecocks 2022 College Basketball Summary

If you are looking for a low seed to get blown out, this might be the bet for you. That’s a fair statement, only because of the historic nature for which Jacksonville made this tournament. Bellarmine won the ASUN tournament, but can’t compete in the NCAA Tournament because of its recent transition from Division II. That leaves Jacksonville State, which didn’t even make the championship game in the ASUN. It is the regular season champion. You hate to see a team make the tournament in this way. You could say the Gamecocks are playing with house money. Or, you could recognize that it enters the NCAA tournament with a NET ranking of 140. That would rank near the very bottom 5 of the tournament qualifiers.

Kansas Jayhawks 2022 College Basketball Summary

The Kansas Jayhawks continue to dominate the Big 12 in historic fashion. Head Coach Bill Self has led the team to the conference regular season title (or at least a share) in the last 16 of 18 seasons. This is incredible. As for the makeup of this team, Arizona State point guard transfer Remi Martin probably didn’t have as successful a season as Allen Fieldhouse fans had hoped to see. With the Sun Devils he flashed some spectacular and exciting play. He’s been a bit muted in his crimson and blue. Conversely, shooting guard Ochai Agbaji has carefully improved his game over the years and is a likely NBA first round talent. Agbaji can and has carried KU to victories by himself. He has “get on my shoulders, teammates” type talent. The Jayhawks have a front line that can certainly compete, but there are no similar premium stars down low. By most accounts, power forward David McCormick has not been consistent enough during his KU career. He can score a double-double, or become a non-factor. His game log is riddled with double-doubles, but when it comes to the high profile games like against Dayton and Texas Tech, he registered 4 points 6 rebounds or 5-and-5 respectively. You wonder if an elite team can focus on shutting down Agbaji in its defensive strategy and find its path to victory.

Ochai Agbaji is one of the nation’s most improved players over his career. Photo courtesy: kuathletics.com

Kentucky Wildcats 2022 College Basketball Summary

Things were looking great for Kentucky mid-season, but they started getting a little shaky late. The Wildcats messed around with Texas A&M and Vanderbilt late in the season. Then finally, they were exposed in the post by Tennessee. As great as Oscar Tshiebwe has been at power forward this year, and he has been amazing, he cannot do it alone in the post. If you’re new to college basketball, Tshiebwe is a finalist for the Karl Malone power forward award and he looks the part. However, on defense Tennessee and other teams were able to penetrate and get some easy hoops down low against Kentucky. And so UK needs to find more support in the post. TyTy Washington is one of the highly touted NBA prospects on this team, but between injury and a lack of aggression, he has not looked dominant down the strength. Davidson transfer Kellan Grady epitomizes the nice touch of senior leadership that this team has. He races around the wing without the ball looking for an open shot akin to how Reggie Miller and (his fellow Davidson Wildcat Steph Curry) does. The veteran experience is a welcomed change of pace for the historically youthful Coach John Calipari-led teams. However, you shouldn’t expect this team to get embarrassed by a 14 or 15 seed, but you should also not book their plane ticket to the Final Four just yet.

Longwood Lancers 2022 College Basketball Summary

Any observation about the Longwood Lancers has to start with its fantastic point guard, Justin Hill. The sophomore from Houston navigated the Lancers way through the Big South Tournament to a championship. He is strong, smart, can score and probes with the right tempo for the moment. He was really impressive to watch down the stretch and leading to its tournament berth. Defenses can’t let him penetrate to around the free throw line, because Hill will make the right decision in that top of the paint. Like many mid-major teams, Longwood is missing length at the rim. However, 6-4 Virginia Tech transfer Isaiah Wilkins brings the beef. He is a handful at 220 lbs. (on paper), but can stretch the defense to have to guard him behind the line. Longwood ranks within the top 100 teams in the nation with 3 pointers made this season, at 252. A lot of people have never heard of Longwood basketball. Based on what we are watching from this team in early March, that is likely to change soon.

Justin Hill probes the defense. Photo courtesy: longwoodlancers.com

Loyola Chicago Ramblers 2022 College Basketball Summary

This team has one holdover from the Final 4 team and a lot of the same winning qualities.  For one, they don’t quit.  They were losing by double digits early in their championship game against Drake when they went on a serious run.  The run was fueled by tempting the Bulldogs to take bad threes (which they did) and turning those long rebounds into a transition offense. They only commit 12 turnovers a game as a team, which is right outside of the top 100 among the NCAA. However, they show a steady hand and methodical approach under pressure. Forward Aher Uguak has taken his game to a new level. He can score in the traditional post, but also run the floor with the rest of his offense. Loyola should be feared just as the were when former coach (now Oklahoma’s head man) Porter Moser was there.

LSU Tigers 2022 College Basketball Summary

LSU head coach Will Wade just got fired by the university as a result of NCAA violations discovered as part of an FBI probe. And while federal investigators had the phone lines tapped, LSU Tiger players continue stripping opposing offenses of the ball. In an odd twist, LSU sticks as one of my 5 best long-shot values to make a Final Four in 2022. Click here to read more about how the LSU Tigers stock should be bought at a discount.

Montana State Bobcats 2022 College Basketball Summary

Like many high seeds, Montana State will enter the tournament at an understandable 250-1 to make a Final Four. They got multiple contributions in an impressive Big Sky championship win, but that league hasn’t been as competitive nationally in the last 5 years as compared to the previous 5. The Bobcats’ signature non-conference game this season was a four point loss to Colorado. They also got smoked by the sexy offense of South Dakota State.

Murray State Racers 2022 College Basketball Summary

This team is as scary a mid-major team as they come. Holdovers from the Ja Morant (Sweet 16) team, KJ Williams and Tevin Brown, are just a pair of their very athletic group. Brown set a record for the most threes made in his OVC career. KJ Williams is the OVC’s most valuable player. Williams is listed at 6-10 and 245 pounds. He looks like a Demarcus Cousins with his huge frame, but he was showing off his three point touch in the OVC Tournament. This roster is a great collection of experienced upper class-men and up-and-coming stars. Sophomores Justice Hill, Trae Hannibal, and DJ Burns add a combined 28 points per game. Murray State can play up-tempo, but defend against a grind-them-out type of team. To be true to their brand name, the Racers can run any team out of the gym.

New Mexico Aggies 2022 College Basketball Summary

Watch out for this team! The Aggies have the one ingredient that so many mid-majors starve for, but cannot secure. They have a dynamic scorer who can take over a game. Teddy Allen has had a turbulent NCAA career. It seems like ages ago where he was instant offense as a freshman coming off the West Virginia bench. But now he’s the star of the show in Las Cruces, New Mexico. New Mexico has the other ingredient that so often keeps mid-major teams from advancing: size. The roster is constructed of three players at 6-10 and taller. Redshirt senior Johnny McCants (at 6-7) also brings some toughness down low. Entering the tournament, the Aggies had out-rebounded its opponents this season 1,228 to 999.

Johnny McCants takes a physical attempt under the basket. Courtesy nmstatesports.com

Richmond Spiders 2022 College Basketball Summary

You are going to hear countless times about how the Richmond Spiders “stole a bid” from someone. Use your eyes. They actually secured a bid for the Atlantic 10 Conference, which legitimately had six teams deserving of a bid. There was Davidson, St. Bonaventure, St. Louis, Dayton, VCU and then Richmond. All of those teams rank somewhere in the top 30 to top 70 throughout the season in the NET Rankings. And so this story about how Richmond “stole a bid” by winning the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament should be turned on its head. Luckily, the conference will not be punished for its first through sixth best teams beating up on each other. As for the Spiders themselves, there is a “Big 3” here. Jacob Gilyard has a very accomplished NCAA career. He is taking advantage of the COVID-19 extra year and taking the NCAA’s record for most career steals. As shown in that A10 title game, he can also run and offense and score when necessary. Tyler Burton is a budding pro as a 6-7 small forward. And Grant Golden is a 6-10 center (listed at power forward but he plays the 5 most times) who the offense runs through. This team spaces the floor terrifically, trusts each other, and is battle tested. There are no shortage of role players such as Nathan Cayo and Matt Grace. And Sullivan Kulju might make the NCAA Best Hair list if he keeps this up from the sidelines.

South Dakota State Jackrabbits 2022 College Basketball Summary

The Jackrabbits are a problem. For anyone watching championship week in full, you already know how dangerous this team is. They have one of the nation’s best offenses, which is crazy to think about stemming from the Summit League. Yet, they scored at a 69% field goal percentage in a semifinal game during the championship (watch below). The Jackrabbits knock down threes at an NCAA record pace. They’ve won the most games (28) in program history. This team is under seeded if they are not a 12 or lower.

St. Peters Peacocks 2022 College Basketball Summary

The Peacocks were a championship result from the MAC after the convincing favorite from that conference, Rick Pitino’s Iona team, got shocked by a 9 seed in the opening round. The Peacocks performed valiantly in their championship game against Monmouth. They got key players into foul trouble, contained a 7-footer in the post, and kept Seton Hall transfer Shaver Reynolds from getting into the zone offensively. Like many high seeds, they will enter the tournament at an understandable 250-1 to make a Final Four.

UAB Blazers 2022 College Basketball Summary

UAB was on life support multiple times this season. They were all but declared dead in a Conference USA Championship semifinal game. Yet, UAB is here! The Blazers are one of my favorite long-shot odds to make a Final Four. Click here to read why the UAB Blazers are so dangerous and to see the rest of my top 5 future values.

Vermont Catamounts 2022 College Basketball Summary

Watching the American East Championship game on a Saturday morning is a tradition of March Madness. Yet, in 2022 it was fairly non-competitive for the first time in recent memory. Vermont knows what it’s doing on offense. The Catamounts blew out UMBC. They’ve won 17 games in conference, which is an impressive accomplishment;ishment by itself. Senior Ryan Davis might look like an agile version of a left tackle at 250. Yet, he is the American East player of the year. Vermont is top 10 nationwide in assist-to-turnover ratio. They also rank in the top 10 nationwide in limiting their turnovers. Vermont might not win outright in their first round matchup, but they should test the defensive scheme of some major power conference team somewhere.

Villanova Wildcats 2022 College Basketball Summary

Jay Wright’s team has perhaps the best point guard in the tournament. Collin Gillespie does it all on the basketball floor. In this, his final season, Gillespie has had a knack for hitting the dramatic game winner. This Villanova team looks familiar. Its features a 4-guard lineup on the floor for large chunks of the game. They are not deep and they are not especially tall, but you wouldn’t dare say they can’t make a deep run. The players have a lot of tournament experience. Jermaine Samuels, Justin Moore, Caleb Daniels, and Brandon Slater all starred in a Sweet 16 berth last year and a competitive game against eventual champion, Baylor. They do not have a center at 6-10 or above, but center Eric Dixon‘s role has greatly improved over the years. In a February 5th game against a taller frontline in UCONN, Dixon showed out with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Villanova has been the Big East’s best chance at a Final Four team in the last decade or so. Although UCONN and Creighton are playing well down the stretch, Villanova should still be considered the Big East’s highest ceiling team.

Wright State Raiders 2022 College Basketball Summary

The Raiders win the award for most resilient team, up until this point. They stormed back against Oakland and also in the Horizon Championship game, both on national TV. Big man Grant Basile is a problem down low, measuring at 6-9 and 225 lbs. His traditional post play allows some wings to fly around and hit mid-range jumpers. This is the stereotypical team that can agitate a super power. For you bettors out there, don’t ignore a huge spread if the Raiders come out flat in the first half. They have the comeback “bug” right now. However, this isn’t a team I would expect to make a magical Sweet 16 run.

Yale Bulldogs 2022 College Basketball Summary

Yale made it look easy at times against a tired Princeton team in the Ivy League Championship game. Tertiary players like Matthew Cotton are blossoming at the right time for this team. They are getting contributions from almost a full roster. If you remember, Yale was one of the earliest advocates of halting play amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. There are multiple interesting storylines developing from that, including this note according to the Yale Daily News:

“Yale guard Azar Swain ’22 scored a game-high 23 points as the Bulldog defense held Princeton’s strong three-point shooters in check for most of the game. Swain, who took a leave of absence last year to preserve his final season of Ivy League eligibility, was named the Most Outstanding Player of Ivy Madness.”

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.

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 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 MATT 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 6 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?”

Oh, it’s happening. And it will happen again.

In 2021, it was 14-seeded Abilene Christian defeating a Texas Longhorns team that was inexplicable running on fumes down the stretch of the season.

With two losses in late February, and an early exit from the SEC Tournament, perhaps we should have saw the 2021-2022 Kentucky Wildcats struggling with 15 seed Saint Peters in the NCAA Tournament. Purdue is another team that lost to this same Saint Peter’s bunch. The Boilermakers also showed signs of trouble late in the season. They lost three games in the final two weeks of the regular season (at Michigan State, at Wisconsin, and home to Iowa).

Do we expect Purdue to be undefeated the final two weeks in a tough Big 10 gauntlet of a schedule? No.

Were the warning signs there for a team stacked with NBA talent? Yes.

Should we have seen an Elite 8 run for Saint Peters? Now, that’s a stretch.

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.

2022 Update: March Madness Traditions, Sunday’s Made-for-TV Matchup Returns

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, perhaps a little nudge by multi-media giants have their 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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