College Basketball Catch-Up: Five Things To Know After NFL Season

Written By Eli Hershkovich on February 14, 2022
March Madness

With the Super Bowl result in and the NFL season officially over, many bettors will be gearing their attention to college basketball. Let’s help with some catch-up, so the prep for March Madness betting isn’t a daunting task.

Below are the top-five betting nuggets from the season thus far. You can continue the discussion in our Discord betting community, as we dissect games throughout the day. Stay up-to-date on the top-68 programs with my college basketball power rankings as well.

1. Oscar Tshiebwe: Wooden Award Favorite ()

First, it was Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell. Then, Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis. Following Ochai Agbaji’s short run at the top, Tshiebwe, the West Virginia-turned-Kentucky transfer, has found himself in the driver’s seat of the Wooden Award list.

Not only is the 6-foot-9 center generating a top-two rebounding rate at both ends, but he’s also increasing his shot range while accruing a top-80 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) in the process. eFG% operates like traditional field goal percentage, expect it lends 50.0% more credit for made 3-pointers.

Although Tshiebwe doesn’t represent the Wildcats’ most important offensive weapon, his prowess on the glass allows John Calipari’s unit to play at an ultra-uptempo pace.

March Madness Betting

Tshiebwe, #34, dunks in a road win at Texas A&M on Jan. 24.

Despite Kentucky’s loss at Auburn earlier in SEC play, the Wildcats are power rated higher in my rankings. Led by Tshiebwe, Calipari’s bunch possesses all of the pieces to be the last team standing in that March Madness betting market. UK’s odds have plummeted from 30-1 when I bet them to now.

2. How Chet Holmgren Has Transformed Gonzaga

Last season, the Bulldogs’ one-two punch was now-pro Jalen Suggs and Drew Timme en route to runner-up status. Since the start of their WCC schedule, five-star freshman Chet Holmgren has filled the void.

March Madness Betting

Holmgren, #34, brings the ball up the court BYU on Feb. 5.

Don’t consider it a product of a mid-major conference, either. The 7-foot unicorn showcases the skillset to lead Gonzaga in transition and scores from all three levels. Holmgren is even manufacturing the 17th-highest block rate in the country. He’ll get tested against more athletic frontcourts in the big dance, yet his ability to drag opposing bigs out behind the arc creates a matchup advantage for the Bulldogs too.

Mark Few’s squad is a consensus  to cut down the nets in April.

3. Three-Way Fistfight Atop The Big Ten

After opening the season at +300 to win the regular season title — good for the second-shortest odds — Purdue ( to win it all) was expected to run away with the top nod once Michigan began to struggle. But Illinois and Wisconsin have crept into the conversation.

March Madness Betting

Jaden Ivey, #23, pulls up for a jumper against Trent Frazier on Feb. 8.

Let’s exclude the Badgers for now. Wisconsin slots in at No. 8 in KenPom’s luck factor, which is the discrepancy in winning percentage between a team’s actual record and its expected record. Even though the Illini have dropped both of their meetings against the Boilermakers this season, they’re still atop the Big 10 standings because of their elite defense, duel-threat playmaking and Wooden Award candidate Kofi Cockburn ().

4. Arizona Basketball Is Back

Sean Miller out after 12 seasons in Tucson, Ariz. Ex-Gonzaga assistant coach Tommy Lloyd in.

The Wildcats () have returned to national prominence, and they’re a legitimate national title threat as well, thanks to their top-10 Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Efficiency, respectively.

  • Adjusted Efficiency accounts for the estimate efficiency (points scored or allowed per 100 possessions) a team would accrue or allow against the average Division I opponent.

March Madness Betting

Lloyd chats with Bennedict Mathurin, #0, during Arizona’s loss at UCLA on Jan. 25.

Arizona boasts one of the lengthiest teams in the country, led by the 7-foot-1 Christian Koloko and 6-foot-11 Azuolas Tubelis. Despite their underclassmen-driven roster, Mathurin — the leading scorer (17.0 ppg) — has helped transform Lloyd’s motion attack into a fast-paced machine. Its turnover-prone offense is the lone variable holding the Cats back.

5. Providence In The Midst Of A Luck-Fest

Yes, I said it. The Friars are 21-2 straight-up and, more importantly, 14-9 against the spread. Nevertheless, Ed Cooley’s crew is the top-ranked program in KenPom’s aforementioned luck factor.

March Madness Betting

Nate Watson, #0, and Noah Horchler, #14, go up for a block at Georgetown on Feb. 6.

Moreover, Providence owns nine victories in games decided by five points or less. ShotQuality notes that it’s also outperforming its shooting metrics by eight wins. As well as a healthy Jared Bynum, Indiana transfer Al Durham and Watson have executed in late-game situations, they’re due to regress eventually.

The Friars face Villanova twice, Xavier and a pesky Creighton team in four of their final six regular season games.

Odds To Win College Basketball National Championship

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Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

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