Three Underrated Top 10 Teams
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - The AP Top 25 comes out every week and they are a nice guide to determine the strength of the opponents as you check the daily slate for the night in college basketball.
There are some team you expect to be there, because they are undefeated like Syracuse or Wichita State and others just live in the top 10 (Duke and Kansas).
Let's take a look at some of the more underrated teams in the AP Top 10 that people may forget about when it comes to March Madness and when it comes to finding the best values in wagering.
St. Louis Billikens (23-2 straight up, 10-0 Atlantic 10, 9-13 against the spread). The Billikens are a little overvalued when it comes to betting because they play in the Atlantic 10. They've simply dominated that league and it's an underrated conference that also features VCU, Richmond, St. Joseph's, George Mason and George Washington. They've won 17 straight games based on a very good defense that allows only 58.9 points per game and teams to shoot only 38.9 percent from the field (26.7 percent from three-point range). They did lose to Wisconsin by six on a neutral site and to undefeated Wichita State at home by five. But this is a dangerous team because they rebound (+6.4) and they are physical. They have a legitimate big man in senior Rob Loe (6-11, 245), who averages 10 points and 5.3 rebounds. Senior Dwayne Evans (6-6, 230) leads the team in scoring at 14.8 points and shoots 50 percent from the field. Senior guard Jordair Jett (6-1, 215) leads in assists with nearly five per game and averages 13.2 points per game. They have the formula that can take them far: experience, guard play and strength down low.
San Diego State Aztecs (22-2 straight up, 12-1 Mountain West, 13-9 against the spread). The Aztecs are a quality team that has just two losses all season. One was against fourth-ranked Arizona and another was a shocking loss at Wyoming by six. But aside from one slip-up, San Diego State has dominated the Mountain West this year and they also some very impressive non-conference wins. They defeated Marquette by eight, Creighton by six and Washington by seven and eighth-ranked Kansas by four on the road! This is a great defensive team that ranks third in the nation in points allowed (56.6 points per game), fourth in field goal percentage (37.6 percent) and eighth in three-point percentage (28.4 percent). They have an outstanding guard in senior Xavier Thames (6-3, 195), who leads the team in scoring at 17.1 points per game. They also have a shotblocker in sophomore Skylar Spencer (6-10, 235), who leads the team with 66 blocks in 25 games. They have really guard play, experience and a strong defensive big man. Don't sleep on the Aztecs.
Florida Gators (23-2 straight up, 12-0 SEC, 11-9-1 against the spread). Can an SEC team and the second-ranked team in the nation be underrated? When people think of SEC basketball, the first name that jumps out is Kentucky. Yet Florida beat Kentucky on the road by 10 on Saturday night to win the 17th straight game. Florida did not start out strong due to suspensions and injuries. They lost to Wisconsin and Connecticut on the road (by one). But the Gators are healthy now and they also have a freshman in Chris Walker (6-10, 220) who has only played four games after being ineligible for the first 21. He's raw but he's also a freak athletically and could be an x-factor for a very good team. The Gators also play great defense as they've held teams to 39.5 percent field goal shooting, 58 points per game and have outrebounded their opponents by 8.8 per game. They also have a ton of experience led by senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (6-2, 176), who averages 13.5 points and leads the team in assists with 74. He's an outstanding defender, but they Gators are underrated because they don't have a potential NBA star. They have the size, experience and quickness to beat anybody. Billy Donovan has won two NCAA Championships and he has all the ingredients to win a third.
This is an important part of the season and a challenging one to bettors. Defense wins championships, but so does experience and little things like free throw shooting and assist-to-turnover ratio are key factors that can carry a team in March.