'Cuse, Virginia, SLU all underrated
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) -Those who use the AP Top 25 college basketball poll as a barometer to pick games must be warned.
The voters are broadcasters and sports writers from around the country. While many of the writers cover college basketball as a whole, the broadcasters are only aware of the teams from their own region and conference, but not much outside that. In other words, choosing the nation's top 25 basketball teams in this manner has many flaws.
So when looking at the current poll, which teams are underrated and which ones are overrated? There's no doubt, that the power conferences like the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Big 10 are going to get a little more respect than the other conferences. The Pac-12 gets some respect, but most of the East Coast writers and broadcasters don't stay up to see a 11pm EST game on a week day or even a weekend.
Here are the latest teams that are overrated:
#4 Syracuse: (25-2 SU, 13-9-2 ATS). The Orange are having an excellent season and there's no doubt that with 10 seconds to go on Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the game should have been tied with 10 seconds to go. However, a top five team in the nation should not be losing to Boston College at home. They beat Maryland but just two points on the road on Monday, after nearly blowing a 12-point lead. They also beat NC State by just one at home on Feb. 15 as you could see that the Orange was playing well enough to win.
#10 St. Louis: (25-2 SU, 9-15 ATS). The Billikens have won 19 straight so it's hard to call them overrated. But by wagering standards, they are because they've lost four straight against the spread. They also have not been tested on the road by the best teams of the Atlantic 10, avoiding VCU, George Washington and UMass thus far. They will have VCU and UMass on the road in two of their last four games. This is a solid defensive team that ranks first in the nation defending the three-point shot, But they are very pedestrian on offense (44.5 percent FG)that will come back to haunt them..
Here are the top 25 teams that are underrated:
#12 Virginia (23-5 SU, 14-9-1 ATS). Syracuse and Duke are ranked ahead of them based on reputation. The Cavaliers have won 11 straight games in the ACC, which included a 15-pint win over North Carolina and a three-point win over Pittsburgh on the road. Their only ACC loss was at Duke, 69-65 as a 6-point road dog. Virginia doesn't get as much of the credit because they don't have a superstar. Malcolm Brogdon is their top scorer at 12.3 points per game as their defense paves the way. They allow just 55.2 points per game to lead the nation. But they have enough shooters led by Joe Harris (42 percent from three-point range) that they are not easy to guard. If they can beat Syracuse at home on March 1, they should be able to win the ACC.
#23 Southern Methodist (22-6 SU, 16-8 ATS). Larry Brown's crew has moved into the American Athletic Conference with a vengeance. They are still ranked behind Louisville and Cincinnati, but have won six of their last seven games. They are the hottest teams in the AAC and while they may not be at Louisville's level yet, a nine-point win over Connecticut on Sunday showed that they are not just a dominant home team. SMU will have a chance for revenge against Louisville when they face them at home on March 5. Brown's team is a mix of transfers as their top three scorers are from Division I schools: Markus Kennedy from Villanova, Nic Moore from Illinois State and Nick Russell of Kansas State.