CBB Picks: 2/23

Dartmouth (+11) over PENN

Getting a spread this big in the Ivy League is a rarity. The league has the highest percentage of close games (<4 points or OT) in the country and the lowest percentage of blowouts (>19 points), according to KenPom.

But Penn is currently winning the conference, Dartmouth is last, and the Quakers are at home. Schematically though, Penn’s defense is so good because they’re able to run people off the line and limit open three-point looks. That’s less impactful against a Dartmouth team that’s stopped settling quite as much and has seemed to emphasize getting to the rim. It’s allowed the Big Green to start generating more offense at the free throw line and 21-24 free throw shooting is what nearly allowed them to beat Penn a couple weeks ago.

Maybe the best reason to like this game though is the situational dynamics at play. Dartmouth’s confidence has to be at a high after winning two of their last three. They started 0-7 in Ivy League play, losing none of those by more than 10 points and five of those losses fitting in the “close game” category. Playing their best basketball of the season, they now get a shot at the conference leader. And from Penn’s standpoint, they have a one-game lead on Harvard with four games to go. Guess who they play tomorrow at home? The Fighting Zuckerbergs. They could be looking ahead.

YTD: 117-96 (+11.6u)


CBB Picks: 2/22

Delaware (+4) over DREXEL

STANFORD (-4) over Washington

OREGON (-3) over Arizona State

Murray State (-9) over EASTERN ILLINOIS

TENNESSEE TECH (-2) over Tennessee State

MOUNT ST. MARY’S (-3.5) over Robert Morris

YTD: 111-96 (+5.6u)

CBB Picks: 2/21

GEORGETOWN (+6.5) over Xavier

PENN STATE (-2.5) over Michigan

North Carolina (-4) over SYRACUSE

Duquesne (+12) over ST. BONAVENTURE


Alabama (+8) over AUBURN

PITT (+9) over Wake Forest

MINNESOTA (-2.5) over Iowa

UNLV (-1.5) over Fresno State

SIENA (+2.5) over Fairfield

YTD: 107-91 (+7.1u)

CBB Picks: 2/17

UCF (-3) over SMU

LSU (-1) over Missouri

BALL STATE (pick) over Toledo

LOUISIANA MONROE (-2) over Texas State

BOSTON COLLEGE (pick) over Notre Dame


CENTRAL MICHIGAN (-2.5) over Eastern Michigan


KANSAS (-3.5) over West Virginia

UMass (+16) over DAVIDSON

DELAWARE (-1) over Elon

MISSISSIPPI STATE (-7.5) over Ole Miss

WAZZU (+8) over Utah

Furman (-8.5) over SAMFORD

Eastern Kentucky (+11.5) over TENNESSEE STATE

Weber State (-4.5) over SACRAMENTO STATE

YTD: 92-83 (+0.9u)

Overvalued, Undervalued, or Properly Valued 2.0: Post-Early Preview 2018

Here’s the first installment.

We’re once again evaluating teams that are on the 10 seed line or better from BracketMatrix, with a couple disclaimers. The data was compiled Friday, so the teams evaluated were from Friday’s BracketMatrix. Only a couple of teams have changed and they’re probably not contenders anyway.

Odds were gathered on Sunday from BetOnline. I was trying to keep consistent with 5Dimes, but the odds were off the board when I was trying to find some.

I did actually make a play today. I’m sure you can guess who it is.


Image result for keenan evans

Properly Valued

3. Virginia +700 (MLPPR: 3)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +1300 (MLPPR: 4)

Since the last edition of the rankings, the Hoos won three road games over Duke, Florida State, and Syracuse and tossed in a home win over Louisville. Extremely impressive.

But their most recent outing was basically 2+ hours of “Reasons People Don’t Like Virginia.” The game against Virginia Tech was slow, sloppy, and didn’t give many reasons to feel much better about Virginia’s scoring ability. In 60 offensive possessions, they attempted 38 threes (they made 11).

They still rate really well because of the dominant defense, but the lack of scoring is still a legitimate question.

4. Duke +800 (MLPPR: 2)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +500 (MLPPR: 2)

The make-up hasn’t changed over the past three weeks. They’re still overly-reliant on out-scoring people…but damn can they score. They’ve gone for 80+ in 22 of their 24 games this season.

T6. Ohio State +1400 (MLPPR: 7)

Jan. 23: “Highly Undervalued” +12500 (MLPPR: 6)

A big change in odds for the Buckeyes since I told you the oddsmakers weren’t giving OSU near the respect they deserved. After losing on a buzzer-beater to Penn State, they’ve rattled off four straight wins, including a road victory at Purdue.

Keita Bates-Diop continues to be one of the best players in the country and there’s not many teams out there equipped to defend him 1-on-1.

T8. North Carolina +2000 (MLPPR: 12)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +2500 (MLPPR: 11)

The Heels seem to be a team of peaks and valleys, switching between the highs and lows about every two weeks.

I wasn’t a believer last year and they won the title, so I’m not going to dismiss them again…but I’m pretty skeptical that they can repeat.

T8. Tennessee +2000 (MLPPR: 13)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Undervalued” +20000 (MLPPR: 25)

Another previously undervalued team that’s seen their odds reduce greatly. The Vols still have an outside chance of winning the SEC. As well as they’ve played for the majority of SEC play, I mentioned last time that this team sometimes really struggles to score. That was on full display against Alabama over the weekend and remains a concern against teams that can match their athleticism.

T8. Texas Tech +2000 (MLPPR: 14)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Undervalued” +8000 (MLPPR: 14)

The Red Raiders have done nothing but win the past three weeks. It appears that Zach Smith isn’t coming back, but a few weeks ago I also questioned whether Tech had enough shooters to keep them alive in tournament play. The question still remains, but they have hit 44% or higher of their three-point attempts in four out of their last six games.

In a lot of ways, they remind you of a better version of last year’s South Carolina team that went on the miracle run.

T13. Wichita State +2500 (MLPPR: 11)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Overvalued” +1600 (MLPPR: 13)

The complaint the past couple years has been that the Shockers were underseeded due to their conference. Now, it appears it might be the opposite. Wichita hasn’t won many games that make you think they’re capable of a serious run.

T17. Auburn +3300 (MLPPR: 22)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +15000 (MLPPR: 29)

The Tigers keep winning and are actually in great position to win the SEC. Obviously that’s an accomplishment in a deep league, but there aren’t any elite teams. Couple that with Auburn’s rather weak non-conference and it’s hard to tell exactly how good they are.

T17. Texas A&M +3300 (MLPPR: 17)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +8000 (MLPPR: 21)

The offense has come alive for the Aggies in a big way. All of a sudden they’re back to a similar form they held in November. The injury to Duane Wilson against Kentucky didn’t appear encouraging. He had already partially torn his ACL. But that injury might not be as impactful if TJ Starks can keep playing like he has recently.

21. Oklahoma +4000 (MLPPR: 26)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Overvalued” +2500 (MLPPR: 15)

It was never gonna work. Very excited to see Trae Young in desperation mode in the tournament, though.

T22. Kentucky +5000 (MLPPR: 29)

Jan. 23: “Highly Overvalued” +2500 (MLPPR: 27)

They’re not terrible, but they’re definitely not good.

T22. Saint Mary’s +5000 (MLPPR: 31)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Overvalued” +8000 (MLPPR: 37)

They’re just going to get murdered on the interior defensively at some point.

T22. Michigan +5000 (MLPPR: 24)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Overvalued” +8000 (MLPPR: 24)

I guess you could say Charles Matthews is their go-to guy, but I don’t think he’s good enough to carry them when their inconsistent offense hits the skids.

T28. Seton Hall +6600 (MLPPR: 21)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Overvalued” +8000 (MLPPR: 30)

For a team that starts four seniors, I feel like they should be a lot more reliable.

T32. Texas +8000 (MLPPR: 25)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +15000 (MLPPR: 31)

There are glimpses of Matt Coleman being exactly the lead guard that thrives in tournament settings, but it’s not consistent enough right now. Way too much Osetkowski for my liking.

T35. Nevada +10000 (MLPPR: 30)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Undervalued” +20000 (MLPPR: 19)

Their score’s been hurt a lot recently because they’ve been shredded a few times on the inside, which also is going to hurt the efficiency numbers. They’re a better version of themselves from a year ago, but I don’t know if it’s good enough to get them to a Final Four out of the 7-10 seed range that they’re likely to fall in.

T35. Arizona State +10000 (MLPPR: 35)

Jan. 23: “Highly Overvalued” +5000 (MLPPR: 34)

They’re fun to watch, but they’ve been quite a bit less efficient offensively since their wild non-conference run.

T40. TCU +12500 (MLPPR: 36)

Jan. 23: “Highly Overvalued” TCU +10000 (MLPPR: 38)

Sucks they lost Jaylen Fisher. It’s hard to even come up with anything to say about them without him.

T45. Arkansas +15000 (MLPPR: 37)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +30000 (MLPPR: 36)

Still not guarding anybody away from home.

T49. Providence +25000 (MLPPR: 39)

Jan. 23: N/A

They’re a hair above Indiana in KenPom rankings. The only difference between them and Indiana is that the Friars have a lot more opportunities to play quality opponents in the Big East.

T49. Washington +25000 (MLPPR: 40)

Jan. 23: N/A

All the good feels after they beat Arizona on that buzzer-beater were washed away after getting swept by the Oregon teams.

Image result for miles bridges

Slightly Overvalued

1. Michigan State +500 (MLPPR: 5)

Jan. 23:”Slightly Overvalued” +550 (MLPPR: 8)

Sometimes I feel like I’m taking crazy pills when I hear people talk about Michigan State. They’re really good, but they’re still barely winning a lot of games they’re supposed to win. It’s the middle of February now, I feel like if they had some other gear they would’ve hit at some point by now. There’s three Big Ten teams that will for sure make the tournament – other than MSU – and the Spartans are 1-2 in those games. They led for a total of less than 24 out of a possible 120 minutes in those games.

They’re good, but I think this is pretty poor value for a team that hasn’t really given a reason why it should be the favorite to win the title. Besides Izzo.

2. Villanova +600 (MLPPR: 6)

Jan. 23: “Somewhat Overvalued” +430 (MLPPR: 5)

It’s tough to judge them without Phil Booth and Eric Paschall. I still think – when healthy – they’re the best team in the country, despite what the data might say.

T8. Xavier +2000 (MLPPR: 16)

Jan. 23: “Highly Undervalued” +6000 (MLPPR: 10)

Well, they were “Highly Undervalued”, which was another win for the MLPPR since they’ve now won eight games in a row and the odds have greatly been reduced. However, despite that winning streak…they’ve dropped in the MLPPR.

I don’t know what happened. I do know that the data used doesn’t include the weekend games and X went up 12 spots in the defensive efficiency rankings in that time.

They still have room to grow in that department, but it hasn’t prevented them from racking up five Quadrant 1 road wins.

Given Chris Mack’s success in March, it’s hard not to like the Musketeers when tournament time rolls around.


T22. Rhode Island +5000 (MLPPR: 38)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +17500 (MLPPR: 39)

I like the Rams, but I don’t know if their style really translates to going on a deep run. They’re capable of beating almost everybody, but teams in the tournament are more likely to be able to handle their pressure, which is kind of the key to all of Rhody’s success.

Image result for isaac haas

Slightly Undervalued

5. Purdue +1000 (MLPPR: 1)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Undervalued” +1050 (MLPPR: 1)

There’s no doubt Purdue is very good, but I think it’s reasonable to question how they match up with the top competition. They haven’t had many opportunities and this past week didn’t inspire much confidence, despite leading for the majority of each game. They just don’t look like the team we saw for the majority of December and January.

T13. Gonzaga +2500 (MLPPR: 8)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +2500 (MLPPR: 9)

I’m still not a Zags believer this year, but the way they manhandled St. Mary’s was undeniably impressive. I think I’m still in the sell category, though.

T22. Florida State +5000 (MLPPR: 10)

Jan. 23: “Highly Undervalued” +10000 (MLPPR: 12)

I feel like Florida State is never on national TV. I assume they were on Wednesday against Virginia, but I was at Purdue-Ohio State, so I don’t know. Either way, I really need to watch a Florida State game soon. This is getting ridiculous.

T32. Miami (FL) +8000 (MLPPR: 15)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +10000 (MLPPR: 16)

They’re still playing pretty well without Bruce Brown in the lineup, which means I’m inevitably picking the Canes to the Sweet 16 this year and they’ll likely get bounced in the first round. Can’t wait.

T32. Missouri +8000 (MLPPR: 19)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +10000 (MLPPR: 17)

I love Missouri. It feels like they lose a point guard every week and yet they’re on a four-game winning streak. I love that they’re winning behind huge plays from guys like Kevin Puryear who had to suffer through the Kim Anderson years. I’ll love them even more if MPJ comes back.

But a tournament berth will be a huge success and anything past that point is gravy.

T35. Louisville +10000 (MLPPR: 18)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +10000 (MLPPR: 23)

Haven’t got the scoring from Quentin Snider I was hoping to see, but there’s still time.

T40. Creighton +12500 (MLPPR: 23)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Undervalued” +15000 (MLPPR: 22)

Still not doing much outside of Omaha to inspire a lot of confidence.

T49. Butler +25000 (MLPPR: 32)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +25000 (MLPPR: 35)

They still lack the consistency to inspire much confidence that they can sustain a run, but the flamability of Kelan Martin should make any top seed nervous. He hit 14 threes on his way to 64 points against Xavier and Villanova this week.

Image result for jacob evans cincinnati

Highly Overvalued

T6. Arizona +1400 (MLPPR: 27)

Jan. 23: “Highly Overvalued” +1500 (MLPPR: 20)

Considering the talent level involved, the team pretty much stinks. DeAndre Ayton might be the most physically imposing college basketball player I’ve ever seen. And he’s agile. A mutant, if I’ve ever seen one. AND HE CAN SHOOT. AND HE’S SURROUNDED BY VARIOUS OTHER HIGHLY RECRUITED/MCDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN TYPE PLAYERS.

And I don’t think I’d even be slightly surprised if they got swept on their Oregon trip next week.

Team stinks.

T8. Cincinnati +2000 (MLPPR: 20)

Jan. 23: “Highly Overvalued” +4000 (MLPPR: 28)

Still have quite a few doubts about the offense. They’re extremely reliant on second-chance points. I’m not saying they won’t be able to rebound in the tournament, but it’s a lot tougher to do against top competition. The one game they’ve played against a team likely to get a Top 5 seed (Xavier), was the least productive game they’ve had on the glass and they got blown out of the building.

A good indicator will be how they fare in their two matchups against Wichita State coming up. The Shockers are the only other elite defensive rebounding team that the Bearcats will play this season, outside of the Musketeers.

T13. West Virginia +2500 (MLPPR: 28)

Jan. 23: “Highly Overvalued” +3300 (MLPPR: 26)

Not sure how their odds have lowered considering that WVU has felt like a team on the verge of unraveling the past few weeks. Esa Ahmad is a welcome punch to the scoring, but the defense has gone backwards.

T17. Florida +3300 (MLPPR: 33)

Jan. 23: “Highly Overvalued” +4000 (MLPPR: 32)

The Gators are a rollercoaster. They’re a team that started out 8th in KenPom, still held that position in early December, dropped to 35th a month later, rose back up to 21 by the end of January, were 37th at the time I collected data last Friday, and are 26th at the time I write this on Monday.

Needless to say, I don’t think that’s a team you can trust to play great basketball for three straight weeks.

T17. Alabama +3300 (MLPPR: 34)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Overvalued” +10000 (MLPPR: 33)

Speaking of rollercoasters. At least Florida can shoot sometimes.

Image result for marcquise reed

Highly Undervalued

T13. Kansas +2500 (MLPPR: 4)

Jan. 23: “Slightly Undervalued” +1500 (MLPPR: 3)

If you’re gonna go down with a ship, I feel like a Kansas ticket at 25-1 is a worthy ship.

I’m not saying they’re a carbon copy or even as good, but there are some comparisons to be made between this Kansas team and the Villanova team that won the national championship in terms of things they do well and areas where they’re weaker.

Kansas on the left. ’16 Nova on the right. Keep in mind that Nova’s numbers are after they went through the tournament and obviously played very well. They entered the tournament with an AdjO slightly worse than Kansas, but the AdjD was still quite a bit better.

The Jayhawks still have a pretty decent chance of at least winning a share of the Big 12, which is undoubtedly the best conference top-to-bottom in the country. They have a slew of dynamic guards/wings that are always so valuable in March. They’re probably not going to fall below the 2 seed line.

I’m not saying they should be title favorites, but they’re the best value on the board.

T28. Clemson +6600 (MLPPR: 9)

Jan. 23: “Properly Valued” +25000 (MLPPR: 7)

I understand how the disparity between their classification three weeks ago and now looks without context. The last version of this blog was shortly after they lost Grantham for the year. I thought they’d fall off a cliff. They have not. I don’t know if they were ever good enough to actually win a championship and I’m even less sure now, but they’ve still only played two or three games poorly all year. They beat UNC without Grantham two weeks ago. I don’t think they’re among the nation’s elite, but they’re probably your best flyer option if the tournament turns into chaos.

Irrelevant At This Point

T22. NC State +5000 (MLPPR: NR)

They’d be a threat if they only had to play in Raleigh.

T28. UCLA +6600 (MLPPR: NR)

A poor man’s version of last year’s team that also didn’t have a chance.

T28. Baylor +6600 (MLPPR: NR)

I’d much rather see Baylor make the tournament than these Pac-12 teams, but maybe that’s just my Middle America bias kicking in.

T35. Oregon +10000 (MLPPR: NR)

There are 95 brackets on BracketMatrix right now and Oregon doesn’t make a single appearance.

T35. USC +10000 (MLPPR: NR)

I find them very easy to hate.

T40. Indiana +12500 (MLPPR: NR)

They’d have to win like 10 straight games.

T40. Maryland +12500 (MLPPR: NR)

Maybe the NIT.

T40. Houston +12500 (MLPPR: NR)

Houston’s actually in the new group of 10 seeds on BracketMatrix, but I’m not about to re-do everything for the third best team in the American.

T45. Mississippi State +15000 (MLPPR: NR)

I love to bet on the Bulldogs, but only to cover, like, three points at home against another mediocre team.

T47. Virginia Tech +20000 (MLPPR: NR)

Also now in the new group of 10 seeds. But I’m also not about to re-do everything for a team that might not be in the top half of their league.

T47. Middle Tennessee +20000 (MLPPR: NR)

Not a national title contender, but definitely a heavy favorite to pull another 12-5 “upset” over an overseeded Power 5 team.

CBB Picks: 2/10

DUQUESNE (-7.5) over Fordham

Mississippi State (+5.5) over MISSOURI

IOWA STATE (+4) over Oklahoma

NC STATE (+3.5) over North Carolina

DRAKE (-2.5) over Northern Iowa

UMass (+6) over ST. JOSEPH’S

BYU (-11) over San Francisco

Texas State (+8) over UT ARLINGTON

MICHIGAN STATE (-3) over Purdue

Florida Atlantic (+11.5) over MARSHALL

UTAH STATE (+3.5) over Boise State

OREGON STATE (-4) over Washington

WEBER STATE (-2) over Northern Colorado


YTD: 80-71 (+2.1u)