Beyond the Top 25 - A College Hoops Weekly
by Taylor Jordan - Strike Point Sports - 12/26/2011
We’re in between Christmas and the New Year, and early January always means one thing: conference-dominated college basketball betting begins. The complexity of college basketball handicapping will take a big of a change as leagues open their schedules and regional rivalries will be front-and-center in the sport for the next two months.
In terms of the Top 25, things stayed pretty static this week. But two new teams, Virginia and Kansas State, jumped into the Top 25 this week. Their respective 10-1 records suggest it was warranted for both.
Xavier, with its three consecutive losses due in part to several key suspensions, made a huge drop. This team was working on a Top 10 ranking just a week-and-a-half ago but now they have fallen out of the Top 25 completely.
Here is a deeper look at the teams on the outside looking into college basketball’s Top 25 this week:
Middle Tennessee State, 11-2 Straight Up (9-2 Against The Spread)
How about some love for the Sun Belt? The Blue Raiders have been doing solid work, not just racking up wins in the standings but also cashing in on their mark against the college basketball odds for backers. They have been one of the most profitable teams in all of college basketball so far this year. The team’s next five games all come in conference play and the Sun Belt always finds a way to make things tricky for its top teams. This year should be no different.
BYU, 10-3 (6-4 ATS)
The Cougars’ first season as a member of the West Coast Conference has been a fairly good one so far. BYU let a grand opportunity get away when they couldn’t hold a double-digit halftime lead at home to Top 10 Baylor. Still, a 10-3 mark is worthy of making our weekly list. If they can knock of St. Mary’s later this week I think a spot in the rankings could be arranged…as long as they take care of business elsewhere just the same.
Southern Miss, 10-2 (6-5 ATS)
Conference USA isn’t just about Memphis this season. In fact, with the Tigers struggling over the last couple of weeks now is as good a time as any for another team in the league to step up and claim the role as C-USA’s top team. Southern Miss might be on their way to making a case for themselves. The Golden Eagles have wins over New Mexico State, Mississippi, Arizona State and South Florida in the month of December, not to mention they arguably gave ranked Murray State its best game so far, losing in overtime around Thanksgiving.
Ohio, 11-1 (6-1 ATS)
As another cash cow this season that no one probably has thought of, Ohio is getting it done. The Bobcats have gotten off to a soaring start to their 2011-12 schedule, and their lone loss was at Louisville by five (covered a 16-point spread). Some tough games against Robert Morris, Buffalo and Akron in the next couple of weeks should help dictate whether or not Ohio can further push for a nationally ranked spot in the AP Top 25.
West Virginia, 9-3 (6-3 ATS)
This is not one of Bob Huggins’ most talented teams, not by a long shot. But still, he finds a way to coach up his kids and get winning seasons from them. With Villanova, Seton Hall and Rutgers on the docket they will start off with three weaker Big East schools to begin league play. The Mountaineers better take advantage of being eased into the conference season.
St. Louis, 11-1 (7-2 ATS)
I am still waiting on St. Louis’ entry into the Top 25. They have done enough to earn it, just like I said of Virginia last week. Now they’ll really have to make voters consider them with games at New Mexico, at Dayton and at home against Temple over the next three weeks. Two wins out of three will definitely do the trick and keep these Billikens up near the cusp of the national rankings.
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