The regular season in college basketball has come to an end. That must mean it's March. The eyes of the media and the casual betting public are looking ahead to the NCAA Tournament, but of course we have conference tournaments to play before we get there. Here we are going to look at six teams from six different conferences. Each one is secure in their NCAA Tournament spot regardless of how the conference tournaments go. Beyond that they also have one other thing in common - I don't trust any of them as much as their ranking or public reputation or conference tournament seeding would suggest I should.
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These teams are all capable of winning their conference tournaments, but they could all just as easily - probably more easily - lose frustratingly early on. Bet on any of them at your own risk. (Odds to win their conference tournaments are from BetOnline ).
Wisconsin (+260 to win the Big Ten Tournament): The Badgers were ranked and looked like a real threat. And the February happened. They finished the season off with a nice win against Minnesota, but prior to that they had lost five of six, and none of those losses came to ranked teams. It's not quite as bad as it sounds - Northwestern is heading to the tournament, they lost at a red-hot Michigan team, and they lost at a Michigan State team that should be much better than they have played this year. Still, top teams find ways to win games like those, and this team has just run out of gas at the worst possible time. This was a long way from the best Wisconsin team we have seen anyway, but it was sure easy to imagine them having a strong tournament a month ago than it is now.
Florida State (+650 to win ACC tournament): The worst possible news for the Seminoles is that the ACC Tournament is in Brooklyn and not Tallahassee. There are few teams in the country that look more different at home and away. At home they are a perfect 18-0 and look like they are seriously under-ranked where they currently sit. On the road, though, they are a dismal 3-6 in true road games and 3-1 in neutral-court games. So, a team that is 6-7 away from home isn't nearly as easy to trust as one that just doesn't lose at home, are they? It will be very easy to overstate the strength of this team in the postseason.
Arizona (+265 to win the Pac-12 Tournament): This Wildcats team has lost just four games all season, and two in conference play, so they have a whole lot going for them. The Pac-12 is essentially just a three-team conference right now, though, and the big concern is that the two conference losses have come to those other two teams. They lost at Oregon and at home to UCLA. Neither outcome seemed like much of a fluke, either - they just weren't quite as good. The road to a Pac-12 title goes through at least one of those teams, so I find it a real uneasy thought to trust this team right now.
Florida (+165 to win the SEC Tournament): This squad looked like they were getting hot at just the right time as they reeled off nine straight SEC wins. But they picked a lousy time to come back to earth, losing two of three. Losing at Kentucky is no big deal - though they weren't particularly competitive. Finishing the season off with a loss to Vanderbilt, though, was a definite eyebrow raiser. I never really felt that this roster was as good as it could be anyway, but these last couple of games have been a real concern. The good news for them, though, is that the SEC is so bad this year that there is no team outside of Kentucky that I hate less than the Gators.
Butler (+450 to win the Big East Tournament): This is quite possibly an overreaction, but I just hate how this team finished their season. They beat Villanova and Xavier in consecutive road games - amazing. But then they finished off by hosting a Seton Hall team that just can't compete on the basis of talent and was just 3-6 in true road games, and the Bulldogs lost. And it was ugly. It's far from the first time this team has turned off their brains and played way below their potential - they have losses to Georgetown, Indiana State and St. John's, and none of those are even remotely defensible. They can clearly rise up for big games, but if the games aren't quite big enough then I worry that they won't give enough.
VCU: This team lost two of their last three, and those two losses were to the other two top three teams in the A-10. That's not ideal. The real concern here, though, is that this team is just a disaster to bet on. They are a solid 24-7 overall, and an even better 14-4 in conference play, but just a dismal 10-16-1 ATS. Whether you like their chances in the conference tournament or not, you sure can't justify betting on them with any confidence.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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