Undervalued college basketball teams from every conference.
America East – Stony Brook is the sleeper in America East, but I think they are a sleeper nationwide. This a team who lost Gueye, but returned everyone else and added transfers from the likes of Miami and St. Bonaventure plus Jenkins from Fairleigh Dickinson who can fill it up at 15+ PPG any night. Stony Brook is ranked most places around 175-200, but this team has a ceiling of top 125. Catching a big spread early could be a moneymaker with these guys if the gel. Come conference time they should terrorize their respected league. Move aside Vermont.
American – Wichita State is going to be dangerous this season with point guard Tyson Etienne returning. Ettienne is going to run the show and while everyone is talking about Houston and Memphis, Wichita State will be silently racking up wins. This is a team early on with 4 starters being seniors and a bench with guys who have been in the system that will be dangerous. Offense will click better and the defense will remain solid.
Atlantic 10 – Richmond returns practically everyone except Blake Francis. People forget that last season this team was considered an Elite 8 roster. Unfortunately for them they had several injuries that just derailed their season. Richmond has a great early non conference slate where their lines will be close to a pick ’em. I will look to back this team early and often with a veteran savvy roster under coach Mooney.
ACC – Syracuse may just have the POY in the ACC. Buddy Boheim needs his respect at a national level. Buddy may just average 20+ a game and I expect Syracuse to be a top 4 ACC team. Syracuse returned mostly everyone and added Benny Williams who should be a great freshman plus hit the transfer portal. The zone was always their identity, but this season offense will carry this team. Expect another Sweet 16 appearance from this team.
ASUN – Eastern Kentucky was my favorite team to bet on last year. Coach Brown is an absolute dog from Hargrave Military Academy and a coach that gets the best from his guys. EKU added NC state transfer Braxton Beverly and Marshall transfer Jannson Williams. Two guys who could both average 15+ in the ASUN. EKU returns 3 starters who all averaged 10+ PPG, so this team consists of guys who can fill it up on a nightly basis. Depth for them will not be an issue. The intensity on both sides of the ball will be reloaded every time they sub because they can bring guys such as Cooper Robb and Trevin Wade off the bench. Simply put, this team will be dangerous from the jump and I expect them to win the ASUN in fashion.
Big 12 – Oklahoma with a new coach and basically a new roster will have an identity they’ve never had before. Oklahoma hit the transfer portal hard grabbing the Groves brothers and Jordan Goldwire, an experienced point guard, so I think they’ll be absolutely fine. A Lot of people have them listed in the 7-10 range in the Big 12, but I think they are a top 5 Big 12 team and that may surprise some people this season.
Big East – St. John’s may win the Big East. You probably didn’t expect to read that, but they have a real shot. They returned Champagnie who is in consideration for Big East POY and with a good year I think he may just get it. St John’s lost alot, but reloaded with guys such as Wheeler, Soriano, Coburn, and Mathis. If this team gels which I fully expect them too they are going to be really damn good.
Big Sky – Weber State should be predicted to win the Big Sky. With the addition of Koby McEwan from Marquette they are going to be a team who hits a lot of team total overs. This offense can go and that’s keeping it light. Returned everyone and is veteran savvy. Senior from top to 7th man. Weber State is going to make noise and may just be a top 100 team who you could see in March Madness knock off a top dog.
Big South – Campbell, yes the school I played for who hasn’t gone dancing in years may actually go dancing this year. This team returns everyone and is deep. The Camels run the princeton similar to Richmond that is going to be hard to guard. Campbell should also be very good on the defensive side of the ball, so this team is complete. The Camels will be challenging themselves early and with some big spreads I expect them to cover with margin.
Big Ten – Maryland is either going to work or be a disaster. I trust coach Turgeon to get this team right and for that reason I think they are going to be really good. They returned a good core, but also added a good point guard in Fatts Russell and a center in Qudus Wahab. Both players with the core they returned will be complimentary and make this team stacked. Maryland has some dogs and when they can blow a team out they’ll make a statement. Expect this team cover some heavy #’s while being undervalued because they aren’t a top 5 Big Ten team to many.
Big West – UC Irvine coached by my former assistant coach is going to be really good this year. Good enough they may just win the Big West. Adding JP Moorman who only averaged 7 points may not be a big deal on paper, but I am expecting him to be a leader and a guy who averages closer to 18. With a strong defense if this team gets it clicking on offense they’ll be scary good. UC Irvine has alot of 50/50 games to start the season and I expect them to cover the majority and be well prepared for Big West play.
Colonial – Charleston meet Pat Kelsey. Former coach from Winthrop dominated the Big South for years. Barely returning anyone from last year’s roster is a little scary, but Kelsey hit the recruiting trail well and added guys who will play hard and give him solid minutes every time they step on the court. Meeks from Bucknell will likely average 20+ PPG and be a stud winning a lot of games for them. My former teammate Dalton Bolon is a name you’ve likely never heard of, but he’ll have the whole CAA on notice. Charleston will be undervalued and good right away.
Conference USA – UAB hit the portal HARD. A bunch of misfit high major guys who at the mid major level can be really scary. If UAB has good chemistry early this team will be undervalued and will be covering close to double digit spreads night in and night out until books adjust. A true dark horse to win a good conference. Don’t be surprised if UAB figures it out and goes dancing over LA Tech.
Horizon League – Detroit returns Antoine Davis. If you don’t know him he’s a pesky point guard who can fill it up. Averaged 24 PPG last season and now with a better supporting cast this team could be real dangerous. Most have this team in the middle of the pack in the Horizon, but this is a top 3 team in that conference and one no one will want to play in the conference tournament. Detroit is predicted to lose their first 6 games of the season. This simply won’t happen and they’ll be a good cash cow with some bigger spreads.
Ivy League – Princeton with Jaelin Llewellyn will be very sneaky. Remember the Ivy League didn’t play last season because of covid, so the books could be extremely off on their games and I am expecting that. If there’s no rust from not playing for a while expect Princeton to cover games and maybe win one or two you wouldn’t expect them especially early on against a team like Oregon State or South Carolina.
MAAC – Iona is of course expected to win the MAAC. Undervalued however? Yes, in the sense that they are even better than we think. Tyson Jolly alongside Elijah Joiner is going to be a scary front court. If their bench can contribute solid minutes they can upset a lot of teams. Expect some small spreads early on where I expect them to beat the teams by 10+. Iona should run through the MAAC and will be shocked to see them lose more than 3 games in conference play.
MAC – Bowling Green is going to be slept on plain and simple. Plowden is a first team caliber player in the MAC and a guy I expect to take over a lot of games. Bowling Green added some good double digit mid major scorers who should contribute right away. Expect this team to cover a lot of games in and out of conference play.
Missouri Valley – Northern Iowa returns everyone. Remember AJ Green who averaged 22 PPG? Well he’s back. I think everyone kind of forgot about them due to a bad last season, but this is their redemption tour. UNI will be involved in a lot of 50/50 games where I expect them to pull it out with a guy like AJ Green and an experienced roster who has all played together for what feels like a decade now.
MEAC – Norfolk State should be back to dancing and repeat as MEAC champs. I expect Hawkins’ role to expand and he is the right guy for the job. Norfolk has the experience and type of guys to close out tight games and cover big spreads, because they realize the magnitude of the games. Expect the Spatrtans to have a very good year and don’t talk down on them because they are part of the MEAC.
Mountain West – Nevada will be forgotten about due to San Diego State and Colorado State, but return everyone and added Bramah from RMU who averaged 21 PPG and should be a dog for Nevada. This is a top 50 team who could peak closer to 25 if they are running hot. Cambridge, Bramah, and Sherfield should all average 15+ a game if the role players play their role; this is a team who should be dancing in March.
Northeast Conference – Bryant is the light within a dark conference. Coach Grasso is the best in the league and a guy who gets the best from his players. Bryant brings back basically everyone and added a few transfers who if they pan out can be good players in the NEC. Bryant sould peak around 150-175 not 200+ and for that reason there is real value on them for spreads.
Ohio Valley Conference – Belmont, one of my favorite mid majors, is going to be back and possibly better than ever. Return everyone and will have great continuity especially early. If this team loses more than twice in conference play I’d be shocked. Belmont is loaded and behind great guard play with Grayson Murphy and the best big in the league in Nick Muszynksi this is a top 75 team.
Pac 12 – Oregon may not be flashy, but should be really good with the players they added. Jacob Young, Quincy Guerrrier, and Devion Harman were all double digit scorers at their respective schools and guys who should contribute right away at Oregon. I trust coach Altman with this group and will probably see them as a top 15 team at some point this season. Early schedule is soft. Some schools with good names, but schools they cover against with smaller spreads. Oregon will compete with UCLA to win the Pac 12.
Patriot League – Colgate post the Jordan Burns era will be interesting, but they should be scoring in bunches just like last season. Colgate ran through their schedule and this year should be no different. I think the Raiders cover games with margin especially in conference play. They may not be completely undervalued, but aren’t close to being valued as I believe they are a top 100 team in the country.
SEC – Mississippi State brought in the whole portal. Not really, but wow did coach Howland hit it hard. Outside of Molinar and Smith (both double digit scorers) they are a newly revamped roster. Adding Watts, Brooks, Jeffries, and Moore they have one of the best 1-6 in the SEC. If chemistry is there early and they start to groove this team can beat anyone in the country on any given night. Lots of question marks, but I expect answers quickly. Expect blowouts on double digit spreads as they have the feel of the “If we can blow you out, we will.”
Southern – Chattanooga is my all time sleeper. Return a lot of good players and add Sousa from Kansas who should be a beast in the SoCon. With the SoCon likely having a down year there’s no better year for the Mocs to emerge victorious. Any time this team is getting disrespected by Vegas being double digit dogs I think the Mocs can cover. Malachi Smith and David Baptiste should be first team all conference players and if Sousa emerges from the dark they could have a second teamer on their hands as well.
Southland – Nicholls State should be going back to back. Nicholls State added 6 division 1 transfers and likely have the newcomer of the year in Ty Gordon. They are a Southland team so usually top 200 is peak for a team of this conference, but they could be the best the Southland has seen in some time. Even better than the SFA team we saw run this conference a few years back.
SWAC – Prairie View A&M likely start out the season like every other SWAC team and lose their first few games, but this team has real talent and should be covering double digit #’s. Ranked like 225-250 range I have them closer to top 200 and should hold value especially early on.
Sun Belt – Georgia state is a top 100 team in the country and my favorite to win the Sun Belt. They return everyone and amazingly the whole starting 5 averaged 10+ last season so they have options. The addition of Rawls from Western Kentucky should prove vital to their success as he is a solid 6th man who could also average 10+. Likely don’t do a lot of sexy things, but simply get it done. Any close spreads with them involved it’s hard to not bet them.
Summit – South Dakota State returns everyone and as they didn’t win the Summit last year I expect them to this year. Any big spreads early on such as Alabama should be bet immediately. This team 1-5 has all the pieces to compete with anyone. If they stay out of foul trouble they’ll be very good. Starters will have to log 30+ minutes a game. Wilson and Dentlinger will be an issue for the whole league in the front court. Watch out for the Jack Rabbits.
WCC – San Francisco will be sleeping behind the giants of Gonzaga and BYU as they should be, but this team is very good. I’m expecting Bouyea to average 20+ a game and be a first teamer in WCC play. This is a top 50 team in the country and should be a horse covering spreads as I am expecting them to be laying high single digits in non con play.
WAC – New Mexico State is a team I LOVE. I loved them last year as well, but covid destroyed their season. Now they return basically everyone plus add Teddy Allen who averaged 16 for Nebraska. This team is going to be fun and very good. I expect books to be sleeping on them early due to last season’s numbers, but this is a team set to turn heads all season. Coach Jans should be dancing again and I am predicting a Sweet 16 appearance if all goes right.