This is a good time of the year for college basketball bettors. The holiday break is over and a lot of teams seem to be coming back from COVID pauses.
We should start to see some more normalcy in the schedule. Plus, there are more data points available because of sample size, and on a micro-level with recent head-to-head matchups in conference play.
Coaches may not be fully prepared for non-conference games, but the stakes are much higher against familiar foes. Those games will determine seeding for conference tournaments, or qualification in leagues that don’t take every team.
With more information at our disposal, isolating teams to fade and teams to back gets a little easier. Here are some that fall into each category.
Teams to back
I don’t think Dartmouth is very good. That being said, we’re looking at ATS teams to consider and the Big Green fit the bill. They are 1-6 in close games, so their 4-9 record definitely could be better. They’ve also played nine of their 13 games on the road. They’re essentially a .500 ATS team, but I think they could be a good bet in Ivy League play.
The program is in the midst of its worst 2-point percentage and defensive rebounding season of the David McLaughlin era. I am expecting improvements in those areas. McLaughlin knows his team is offensively challenged, so they’re playing at a slower pace. Every team in the Ivy is flawed, but Dartmouth’s record and bland style of play may leave it a bit undervalued.
Any time a new coach comes in, it can take some time. Charleston has a really good one in Pat Kelsey, who was a solid coach at Winthrop for a long time. Charleston is playing at the fastest adjusted tempo in the nation, and there are positive signs moving forward.
The Cougars are a top-40 team in both offensive and defensive rebounding, similar to Kelsey’s Winthrop teams in his last two seasons. While trying to figure out what he has to work with, Kelsey has spread the minutes out. As the season goes along, he’ll have a better handle of lineups and substitution rotations.
This is about the time of the year when you want to take stock of teams with first-year head coaches, and Charleston should be one on the rise.
Team to fade
The Horizon League has a new schedule format that can be challenging. It features some extended road trips, or a whole lot of bus rides for teams that decide to go home between games. The Norse have a run of four road games in nine days beginning Thursday. They will have another five-game trip from Feb. 9-20.
Northern Kentucky is shooting a ton of 3s this season. The Norse took 42 of them against Milwaukee and still scored just 55 points with .885 points per possession. The style of play for Darrin Horn’s team requires a high success rate from deep. The Norse rebound well on offense but also give up a lot of second chances and have thrown away a lot of possessions with a 20.8 percent turnover rate. They’re also a bad free-throw shooting team but won’t get to the line much with all the jumpers they take.
I tend to shy away from jump-shooting teams on the road because of different shooting backdrops and less familiarity. This also just might be a really bad team.