The NCAA men’s basketball season forges on towards the madness of March with the top teams in the country continuing to build an overall resume that is worthy of a top seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament. A few ‘under-the-radar’ teams continue to emerge as potential cinderellas for the Big Dance through their surprising performance on the court, while a couple of other household names on in danger of being left out altogether of the eventual 68-team NCAA Tournament field.
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The real measure of success for this ‘Hot and Not’ list is not necessarily a team’s overall record straight-up, but rather how it has done where it counts the most; against the spread. Here is a look at a couple of teams that are ‘hot and not’ in men’s college basketball through another week of action
Who is Hot
One of the top teams in the country has also been one of the hottest against the spread with a 7-1 record in its last eight games. The Big Ten’s No.3-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes are coming off a 58-52 victory over Wisconsin this past Saturday as 3.5-point road favorites. The win raised their record to 20-3 straight-up and 12-6 ATS. The Buckeyes are a perfect 16-0 SU at home and have been especially profitable at 9-2 ATS. Next up for Ohio State is Purdue on Tuesday night followed by a huge showdown with Michigan State this upcoming Saturday.
Speaking of Michigan State, the No.10 Spartans are another Big Ten team that is having a very successful season on the court at 18-5 SU overall. This past Sunday’s 64-54 victory over No.22 Michigan as a seven-point home favorite raised Michigan State’s record ATS to 7-3 in its last 10 games and to 13-7 overall. The Spartans are 8-3 ATS at home this season and 4-3 ATS on the road. Before this upcoming Saturday’s showdown on the road against the Buckeyes, Michigan State plays host to Penn State on Wednesday night.
If you are looking for a team that is flying completely off the radar this season, then check out the Manhattan Jaspers from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. They are coming off an 85-73 loss to Iona this past Saturday as 3.5-point home underdogs, but overall they are 17-8 SU and a very profitable 17-6 ATS. The Jaspers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games and all season long they have been a solid play on the road at 10-2 ATS. This week, Manhattan goes on the road to take-on Fairfield on Thursday night and Saint Peters on Saturday.
A few other teams deserving of an honorable mention this week are the Sun Belt’s Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, who are 21-4 SU this season and 16-7 ATS, and the Atlantic 10’s Saint Joseph’s Hawks, who are 15-9 SU and 14-6 ATS.
Who is Not
The No.5 Duke Blue Devils are 1-2 SU in their last three games at home after Sunday’s 78-74 overtime loss to Miami as 12-point home favorites, but the reason they occupy the top spot on this week’s list is a 3-7 record ATS in their last 10 games and a 9-14 record ATS overall. The Blue Devils are 19-4 SU and one game behind North Carolina and Florida State in the ACC at 6-2 SU in conference play. Duke has been especially costly at home this season with a 4-8 record ATS to go along with a 5-6 record ATS on the road. Next up is a huge showdown with North Carolina on Wednesday night in Chapel Hill.
Last season’s National Champion Connecticut Huskies, out of the Big East, have fallen on hard times with just one SU win in their last five games. This unexpected skid has left them 15-7 SU overall and 7-11 ATS. The Huskies are 3-6 ATS in their last nine games and 2-7 ATS in nine road games this season. They are starting to become an attractive play on the ‘under’ line with seven of their last eight games staying under the total. Overall this season, 13 of 18 games have stayed under. Things will not get any easier this week with road games against No.25 Louisville on Monday night and No.2 Syracuse on Saturday.
A few dishonorable mentions go out to the Colonial Athletic Association’s George Mason Patriots, who are 19-6 SU but 8-14 ATS, and the Memphis Tigers from Conference-USA, who are 16-7 SU but 7-11-2 ATS.