Handicapping college basketball can be a monumental task for those who try to do handicap all the conferences, which is one reason I always recommend picking a couple of conferences and keying in on them. But with the number of games that are televised, most people are going to be betting on numerous conferences, so if you’re going to be in that crowd, the secret is to make it as simple as possible. By that I mean, let others do the work for you when possible, such as creating power ratings. The chances are you or I don’t have the same time as Ken Pomeroy to study college basketball teams, so there’s no reason not to use his numbers, at least to help you get started. His power ratings, along with Jeff Sagarin’s, are probably the most influential on the pointspread, with Pomeroy getting the nod as the top dog.
But quite a few bettors – more than you would expect – simply base their college basketball bets on what teams did last season. If a team was good last season, they’ll be good again is the train of thought and it holds true for enough teams that bettors can be roughly 50-50 on their picks, so there’s no real need for them to change.
But coaching changes, transfers, graduation, injuries and transfers can change the fortunes of a team, so here we’ll look at five teams who jumped up from the end-of-year power ratings from last year and could very well be a little undervalued to start the season.
Marquette: Marquette jumped from No. 49 to No. 12 in Sagarin’s ratings and climbed from No. 53 to No. 29 in Pomeroy’s numbers. Steve Wojciechowski’s team can shoot the ball, but are going to have to do a better job of playing defensive and the team welcomes a couple of transfers in who should help in that regard, with Nebraska transfer Ed Morrow strong on the glass.
Kansas State: Kansas State moves from No. 42 to No. 12 on Pomeroy’s ratings and from No. 40 to No. 13 on Sagarin’s numbers. The Wildcats made it to the Elite Eight last season, which was seen as a bit of a fluke, but with nearly everybody back for another go, Kansas State could very well be there again.
Oregon: The Ducks jump from No. 57 to No. 16 in Sagarin’s ratings and from No. 75 to No. 27 in Pomeroy’s numbers. The Ducks had plenty of talent last year, but the team never really came together. With a year under their belts, the Ducks could make some noise this season.
Indiana: It’s seems a bit strange to say the Hoosiers may be underrated, as they’ve been receiving too much credit for past successes, but this year they may surprise people. The big addition is freshman Romeo Langford, who with Juwan Morgan give the Hoosiers a talented duo.
Central Florida: The Knights made a huge move in Sagarin’s ratings, climbing from No. 94 to No. 17 this season, while Pomeroy showed them some love, but not nearly to the same extent, as they went from No. 117 to No. 70 with him. UCF can play defense, but were attrocious offensively last season. Injuries took their toll and if the key scorers can stay healthy, UCF could be better than a lot of people think.