Last Updated: 2018-01-03
As the college basketball season is about to hit conference play fast and furious, it’s time to take a quick look at each conference, power ratings and any team or conference related trends that have taken place so far.
We’ll start at the beginning of the alphabet and go through several each day, so we’ll jump to the American East Conference, where Vermont is at the top of the ratings, as expected, but it’s quite a bit closer than the pre-season ratings had the teams.
American East Conference Power Ratings
Stony Brook 74
New Hampshire 71
Umass Lowell 69
Albany was second in the preseason ratings with a 77, while Vermont had an 83, making Albany on of several teams to show some improvement over where they predicted. The other two big gainers were Binghamton and Hartford. But a 12-3 start to the season for Albany, including a 2-point loss at Louisville several weeks ago, along with an 8-5 start to the season for Vermont has the teams rated the same.
Stony Brook is just 5-8 on the season, but have played a fairly tough schedule, second only to Vermont, so don’t get penalized too much for their record. Neither does New Hampshire, who despite going just 4-10 against a relatively weak slate are still rated equal with 9-6 Binghamton and 9-6 UMBC.
Umass-Lowell started off the season pretty good, but has dropped six of their last seven games, including losses to Wager and New Jersey Tech, so don’t be surprised to see Hartford overtake them in the near future.
The two teams bringing up the bottom of the rankings, Hartford and Maine, were expected to be there and haven’t disappointed, although Hartford has played a bit better than expected and has beaten Miami-Ohio and Rutgers. Not powerhouse teams by any stretch of the imagination, but better than many of the other teams in the conference. Maine is 3-12 and has a pair of unimpressive wins over Maine-Machias and Maine-Presque, along with a 78-72 over Quinnipac, as they shot 60.9% from 3-point range in that game, which is 20% higher than they’ve hit in any other game.
While American East games aren’t listed on the traditional Nevada Sports Schedule, you can find them listed in the extra games at some sportsbooks and the conference playoffs will likely be listed at more books, so familiarizing yourself with the conference isn’t a bad idea.
-END OF JANUARY 2 UPDATE-
The Major League Baseball season is about to come to a close, the NHL and NBA are just picking up steam and the NFL is approaching the midway point of the season, so that can only mean one thing. College basketball is getting ready to start.
College basketball can be a handicapper’s dream, but it can also be a nightmare due to the number of teams who are on the board on a consistent basis. Simply put, there aren’t many, if any at all, handicappers who can amass knowledge about all of the teams. That’s one reason a number of handicappers will specialize in certain conferences, frequently located in close proximity to where they live. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a handicapper in New York to spend a lot of time on the West Coast Conference, as most games won’t begin until it’s 10:30 p.m.
But the heart of college basketball handicapping is the power rating and they can be the difference between a winning season or a losing one. I use several different methods that incorporate Average Opponent Power Rating, or strength of schedule if you prefer, and different sets of numbers will result in different plays. You can find yourself on opposite sides of the same game depending on your power ratings, so they are extremely important for handicappers.
Instead of looking at each team’s stats, graduating players, incoming freshmen, etc., I’ll cheat a little bit and find a few college basketball number crunchers I respect and use their numbers, averaging them out and giving me a decent starting point and one that’s not relying on simply one set of numbers. I use four sets of numbers and average them out, with Ken Pomeroy and Sonny Moore among those whose numbers are included.
So, we’ll get to our first conference, the America East Conference.
America East Conference Opening Power Ratings
Stony Brook 73
New Hampshire 70
Umass Lowell 66
Stony Brook had a somewhat wide difference of opinion, as there was a spread of 11 points between the highest rating and those lowest, which is the largest in the conference. Albany was the most consistent, with a difference of just 2 points between the highest and lowest rating.
We have 31 more conferences to go, and each one will have a few different handicapping tidbits, comments on using power ratings and that sort of thing, so it should make for some interesting, and hopefully informative reading.
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