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NCAAB Betting News and Notes

NCAAB Betting News and Notes

Top 3 'Over' Teams to Watch

The path to college basketball success often begins with a potent offense.

With every possession so important - particularly at tournament time - teams that can generate points in hurry will often fare best. Several of the top teams in Division I boast formidable units that should present plenty of problems for opposing defenses.

Here are three teams that should reward bettors with consistent "over" action this season:

Connecticut Huskies (2012-13 O/U: 11-12-0)

The Huskies are one of the few top teams to return most of their roster core from last season - and what a core it is. Senior Shabazz Napier (17.1 points per game) leads a sensational guard rotation that includes fellow returnees Ryan Boatright (15.4 ppg) and Omar Calhoun (11.1 ppg). DeAndre Daniels (12.1) anchors the frontcourt, and all four players should see plenty of shots. As a perimeter-reliant unit, they'll run cold at times - but expect points in bunches most nights.

Oklahoma State Cowboys (12-14-2)

Any team boasting a lottery-bound guard in Marcus Smart can be counted upon to generate plenty of points. Smart (15.4 ppg) spearheads an impressive four-man offensive attack that includes swingman Le'Bryan Nash (14 ppg) and guards Markel Brown (15.3 ppg) and Phil Forte (10.2 ppg). The departure of big man Philip Jurick represents a major hit to the Cowboys' frontcourt defense, which only increases the chance that their games will be shootouts.

VCU Rams (13-15-0)

VCU had one of the top offenses in the nation a year ago, and this season's edition should be just as potent. Junior guard Traveon Graham (15.1 ppg) returns to lead a starting five that will include dominant forward Juvonte Reddic (14.6 ppg) and versatile guard Rob Brandenburg (10.4 ppg). Making up for the loss of Darius Theus and Troy Daniels may prove daunting, but head coach Chaka Smart runs one of the best up-tempo attacks in the NCAA and should adjust.

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2013 UNC Hoops Preview                      
By Tim Nolan

The 2013 college basketball season starts on Friday, November 8. Here is a preview of the UNC Tar Heels for this year.

The UNC Tar Heels were 25-11 last year and lost to Kansas in the third round of the NCAA tournmament. UNC lost Dexter Strickland to graduation and Reggie Bullock to the NBA. Bullock averaged 14 ppg and 6.5 rebounds last year and would have provided senior leadership.

Coach Roy Williams is 700-180 in his career and 282-79 at UNC. The Tar Heels will be led by James Michael McAdoo. He is 6'8" and is now a junior. He scored 19 points in UNC's 82-63 exhibiton win over UNC Pembroke last Friday night. P.J. Hairston had some offseason troubles and will sit a few games but should lead the team in scoring. He can makes threes and scored 14.6 ppg last year. The point guard will be Marcus Paige. He will be a sophomore and will be stronger this season. His numbers were 8.6 ppg and almost 5 assists in the 2012-13 season.

UNC did bring in some strong recruits as freshmen. Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks and Nate Britt should see some playing time. J.P. Tokoto is very athletic but needs to shoot better. He sat out the exhibition game due to playing in some unregulated games this summer. Brice Johnson is a sophomore and needs to get stronger, play better defense and rebound. He may start some games.

Joel James is 6'10" and close to 280 pounds but is raw. Desmond Hubert will be a junior this year and provides a big body inside. He was 2-2 from the free throw line vs. Pembroke after shooting less than 30% in his first two years.

The Tar Heels open the season on Friday (November 8) against Oakland at the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Be sure to check back here for a possible play on this game when the point spread and total are available.

Look for UNC to make it to the Sweet Sixteen this year. I predict they will win close to 24 games and open the NCAA tournament in Raleigh as a #4 seed.

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Low Scoring Teams are good picks
By Tom Grassi

The adage, “Defense wins championships,” is a credo that many college basketball teams live by, but when it comes to sports handicapping, there have been teams whose defense has been a path to making money for bettors.

These schools have made defense an integral part of the team philosophy, and done it over multiple years to develop a consistency that makes these teams viable betting options for the upcoming season.

Over the previous four seasons, the ten most consistent schools when it comes to keeping the score under the Las Vegas betting total are:

Gonzaga: 62-28-2
Western Illinois: 41-20-2
Cincinnati: 58-30
UAB: 50-30-1
South Florida: 53-32
Seton Hall: 48-30-1
Cal Poly-SLO: 47-30-1
Arizona State: 48-31-3
Northern Illinois: 44-29
UNLV: 53-35-1

A number of other schools have higher winning percentages, but the sample size for that group is too small when looking at an entire season from the perspective of college basketball betting.

Looking at the above list requires breaking down certain categories in which each school has thrived in keeping the total below the listed number. Some have done well when playing as a home favorite, or simply at home, while others thrive on the road. There are still some that have has success when either giving or getting points.

Gonzaga tops the list primarily due to its performance as a favorite: at home, the team has a 26-10-2 mark in favor of the under, while putting up a 16-6 record on the road for a combined total of 42-16-2.

Other teams that have shown strong success at home for going below the number include: Cincinnati, which is 28-9 in favor of the under; and Western Illinois, which has compiled a 20-7-1 stretch during the time frame explored.

Three other teams: Seton Hall (17-7), Arizona State (15-6-2) and Northern Illinois (9-2), confine themselves to keeping the score low only when the team is a home favorite.

On the opposite end, South Florida and Cal Poly-SLO have made the under a regular happening after being tabbed as an underdog. USF leans 12-5 toward the under at home, but the mark is much more pronounced on the road, with a 25-11 record for those wagering on the under. SLO has gone under in four of six games as a home dog, but 20 of 29 when getting points on the road.

Two teams on this list are part of the same conference: Cincinnati and South Florida, which both reside in the American Athletic Conference, the new name for the former Big East Conference. The teams will meet twice in a two-week span on January 18 and February 2.

While it seems odd to root for teams NOT to score, the above teams have shown that investing in them to do just that can put money in your pocket—a concept that nobody can complain about.

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Non-Conference Play
By Tom Grassi

The onset of another season of college basketball handicapping means assessing how schools have done in non-conference matchups, since virtually all the contests through the remainder of 2013 are of that variety.

Some schools use this stretch of contests to test their teams, as well as get them ready for conference play, against a number of quality opponents. In contrast, there are others that simply schedule a collection of lesser teams that will build up the confidence of its squad, while also helping to guarantee a number of wins.

The list below looks at the 11 schools that have done the best when facing a non-conference foe over the past three seasons, based on a minimum of 20 games in order to provide a solid sample size. Butler and Arizona are tied for 10th place in this group:

North Dakota State: 19-7
Appalachian State: 14-6
Washington State: 27-12
Michigan: 26-12-1
Wyoming: 23-11
Tulane: 14-7
Oregon State: 15-8-1
Georgetown: 18-10
Jacksonville State: 14-8
Butler: 26-15-2
Arizona: 26-15

Four schools have been the most consistent among this collection of teams, managing to finish above .500 against the Las Vegas betting line in each season. Those schools are North Dakota State, Washington State, Wyoming and Tulane, with North Dakota State having put together excellent back-to-back seasons against the pointspread the last two years with a 15-4 mark.

Three of the schools (Michigan, Butler and Arizona) should be watched to see if what happened during the 2011-12 campaign occurs again. That year, each of the schools were coming off a strong season versus the Las Vegas betting line, but proceeded to either finish at or below .500 in this select category. The trio would all rebound last year with strong non-conference efforts in regard to sports handicapping.

In addition, Butler’s situation with a new coaching staff in place is especially reason enough to pay attention. The architect of the team’s rise to consecutive appearances in the national title game, Brad Stevens, left over the summer to take the helm of the NBA’s Boston Celtics.

Three other schools: Oregon State, Georgetown and Jacksonville State, are all in danger of dropping off this list with another season like last year. During the first two seasons that are featured here, all three schools covered their non-conference tilts at a better than 70 percent rate. Last season, each of the schools finished with a losing record in this area, with Georgetown’s 2-6 mark bringing up the rear.

The final school in this group, Appalachian State, is looking to continue the success it’s enjoyed over the past two years, when it covered the pointspread in 10 of 12 non-conference affairs.

Given that this collection of games takes up nearly half of the college basketball season, it’s important to discern between conference and non-conference matchups, since the strength of some conferences can be open to question. Playing these games is often the best litmus test to answer that query.

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Six coaches who have new jobs this season
By Associated Press

The coach of ''Dunk City,'' the first No. 15 seed to make it to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament, has switched coasts.

Andy Enfield has gone from Florida Gulf Coast to Southern California, and he's not the only new coach in the Los Angeles area.

Steve Alford has taken up residence at Pauley Pavilion as UCLA's new coach after six seasons at New Mexico. Even Cal State Northridge got a coach with a known name in Reggie Theus.

Other coaches in new jobs this season include the son of the reigning NCAA championship coach, a two-time championship point guard who is still the NCAA career assists leader, and a veteran coach with a championship ring from long ago.

Here are six coaches trying to put their marks on new schools:

Steve Alford, UCLA. The Indiana native who played on a national championship team for Bobby Knight in 1987 is now part of the Hollywood scene. Alford agreed to a new 10-year deal with New Mexico last March, but days later went to UCLA instead to replace the fired Ben Howland. There has been only one championship for the Bruins since fellow Hoosier John Wooden won the last of his 10 NCAA titles in 1975. The 48-year-old Alford has a 463-235 record in 22 seasons of coaching, and led the Lobos to four of the last five Mountain West regular-season titles.

Andy Enfield, USC. Southern California athletic director Pat Haden was among many people who knew nothing about Enfield until Florida Gulf Coast, with its entertaining high-flying and high-scoring act, upset No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 7 seed San Diego State in the NCAA tournament. But the 44-year-old Enfield was 41-28 in his two seasons at the school while the Trojans were going 20-44. Enfield was previously an assistant coach for four seasons at Florida State, another school where football so often overshadows everything else, and also an NBA assistant for Milwaukee and Boston.

Bobby Hurley, Buffalo. Hurley had 1,076 assists as Duke's point guard and was part of three consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances with Coach K in the early 1990s, including the 1991 and 1992 national titles. At age 42, Hurley gets his first shot at being a head coach, with a team coming off a 14-20 season. He worked the past three seasons on his younger brother Dan's staffs, at Rhode Island last season after two years at Wagner College. Hurley was a first-round draft pick by Sacramento and played five NBA seasons before getting into thoroughbred racing as an owner and breeder. He was also a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Richard Pitino, Minnesota. The son of defending NCAA champion Louisville coach Rick Pitino, 31-year-old Richard moved to a six-year contract in the Big Ten after only one season as a head coach, going 18-14 at Florida International in the Sun Belt Conference. FIU's first winning season in 13 years came after Pitino replaced Isiah Thomas. At Minnesota, he replaces Tubby Smith, fired even after an NCAA tournament appearance last March. Before FIU, the younger Pitino spent three seasons combined at Louisville, with two years as a Florida assistant for Billy Donovan separating two short stints as an assistant for his father.

Tubby Smith, Texas Tech. Fired from Minnesota after going 46-62 in Big Ten play over six seasons, Smith is now in the Big 12 with the Red Raiders. Texas Tech returns four starters, but has won only four conference games the past two years - under Billy Gillispie and then interim coach Chris Walker last season. Smith has taken his teams to the NCAA tournament 17 times in 22 seasons with four teams (Minnesota, Kentucky, Georgia and Tulsa). But his only championship came in 1998 at the end of his first season at Kentucky. He made it to a regional final with the Wildcats in 2005, but hasn't won more than one game in an NCAA tournament in any season since.

Reggie Theus, Cal State Northridge. Unlike new coaches at nearby UCLA and USC, two-time NBA All-Star and 56-year-old Theus was born and played his high school ball in the Los Angeles area. Theus is back where he wanted to be - in college coaching. He was 41-23 during two seasons with New Mexico State (2005-07) with an NCAA tournament appearance, parlaying that into a job as head coach of the Sacramento Kings. His NBA gig lasted only 18 months. As a player at UNLV, Theus helped lead the Runnin' Rebels to their first NCAA Final Four appearance in 1977. Northridge is coming off a 14-17 season.

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