Beyond the Top 25 - A College Hoops Weekly
by Taylor Jordan - Strike Point Sports - 1/4/2012
Happy New Year! It’s 2012 and in college basketball betting circles that means conference play is underway. And with conference play comes the heated rivalries, shocking upsets, and intense regional battles that make this one of the best sports in the nation.
Syracuse is still the nation’s top team while Kentucky, Duke, and Ohio State all continue to occupy top spots. No big story there. Baylor and Missouri are two teams that are still making noise in the Top 10 as well and I think we will finally see a season in the Big 12 where Kansas isn’t crowned champion.
But those teams get enough love and exposure. Now it is time to once again delve deeper into those teams that are on the fringe of national prominence – the teams just outside the Top 25. Here is a deeper look at the teams on the outside looking in for Week Eight:
Gonzaga, 11-2 Straight Up (7-6 Against The Spread)
Gonzaga has turned in wins over Arizona, Butler and Xavier, so things are getting better for Mark Few’s bunch. They are again the clear favorites in the WCC, but St. Mary’s and BYU should give them a run for their money. They have a pair of home games against Pepperdine and Santa Clara later this week. I think that a sweep there will likely give them enough push to get back into the Top 25.
Vanderbilt, 10-4 (5-5 ATS)
Vandy has Top 15 talent and expectations have been high with the Commodores this season. A couple of unexpected losses are the reason they sit outside the national rankings to begin January, and a tricky SEC schedule might continue to challenge the legit nature of the team. But they demolished Marquette last week to get themselves back on the map. I don’t fully trust this team yet, but they are going to be dangerous in the SEC.
St. Mary’s, 13-2 (7-2 ATS)
Behind Vandy’s win over Marquette, St. Mary’s had the best non-Top 25 win of last week then they demolished WCC newbie BYU. St. Mary’s just continues to reward bettors this year with its heady play and excellent shooting. They play cupcake San Diego on Thursday and then have a game with San Francisco next Monday before they host Gonzaga in what should be another classic rivalry game.
Middle Tennessee State, 13-2 (10-3 ATS)
The Blue Raiders are bringing in the cash with a very impressive 10-3 ATS mark for bettors wise enough to back the Sun Belt squad. They sit atop the East Division what looks to be a down season overall for the league. Three of their next five are road games in league play. It will be tough to keep up this winning pace, and even tougher to beat inflated lines on the road.
New Mexico, 12-2 (9-4 ATS)
New Mexico finally shut me up regarding my call for St. Louis to be ranked. The Billikens are a tough team, but the Lobos earned a solid home win over the A-10 school and added a nice resume win in the process. They owned Houston Baptist in a non-lined game on Tuesday and they will wrap up their nonconference slate with North Dakota this weekend. Neither of those wins will add up to any Top 25 love.
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