Posts Tagged ‘Butler Bulldogs’

Final Four Picks: VCU Rams vs. Butler Bulldogs Analysis

March 28th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Final Four Picks: VCU Rams vs. Butler Bulldogs Analysis
Attention: March Madness Betting Fans!
Make Final Four Picks At Our Sponsor & Get Exclusive Bonuses
Click Here For a 100% Signup Bonus From JustBet
(Exclusive Bonus Offer – Must Use This Link or Above Links)

The Butler Bulldogs and the VCU Rams are arguably two of the most unlikely teams to ever make it to the Final Four. Here at Bankroll Sports, we have all of the ins and outs that you need to know about the first of the two national semifinals in Houston, TX.

VCU vs. Butler Odds at JustBet
VCU Rams +2.5
Butler Bulldogs -2.5
Over/Under 133.5
Click Here to Bet on Your March Madness Picks!

Trends Of Note
The Rams have absolutely stormed through five games in the NCAA Tournament this year, accounting for five covers on the March Madness odds and five outright victories as underdogs, something that is just unprecedented by any standards in most any sport. They are now 9-0 ATS over the course of their last nine NCAA Tournament games overall, though they have never been in this type of a spotlight before in school history. However, if there is one bugaboo surrounding this team, it is that it is just 1-4 ATS over the course of its last five games played on Saturdays.

Butler has had a remarkable run as well, and it has some significantly more important NCAA basketball trends on its side. Sure, the Dogs are 4-0 SU and ATS as well in this tournament, something that is absolutely remarkable, but more importantly, they are 17-5 ATS over the course of their last 22 games played in the dance, many of which have come under Head Coach Brad Stevens. The Bulldogs are a whopping 21-4-2 ATS in their last 27 games against teams with a winning percentage above .600, and they are 40-16-2 ATS in their last 58 games played outside of the Horizon League. Butler is also 15-2 ATS in its last 17 neutral site games, which includes some great duels against fantastic teams both in and out of conference.

Players To Watch
For VCU, the men to really watch out for are Jamie Skeen and Bradford Burgess. These two make the perfect inside, outside combination, and they can both do a ton of damage from all over the course. Burgess actually had his quietest game against the Kansas Jayhawks over the weekend, as he only scored nine points. However, just like we saw against the Florida State Seminoles, he can be unconscious from beyond the arc and just knock down triples like it’s nothing. Skeen, a transfer from the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, stood toe to toe with Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris on Sunday, and the end result was one of his best games of the year with 26 points and 10 boards. He rarely takes time off in games, and he can stretch the entire court as well.

Of course, Butler has its own version of a dynamic inside, outside twosome with Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack. These two were key in the run to the finale last year in the dance, and they are both doing it once again. Howard is the gritty player that really probably doesn’t have all that much talent, but can really get the job done just through hard work. He’s always getting those tough boards, and he’s got a great shot from the outside as well. Howard has six straight games with at least 14 points scored, something that is really key for his team. Mack can just go off as he did against the Florida Gators, scoring 27 points on Saturday in the Elite 8. He also had 30 against the Pitt Panthers. The better the foe, the better this man plays, and this should be his time to shine now that he doesn’t have to split outside shots with the departed Gordon Hayward.

Keys to the Game
The trick for VCU is going to be three point shooting. March Madness betting fans know that this is the key to these mid major teams equalizing against the big boys, and the Rams have taken full advantage of it. Just listen to these three point stats from the games in this tournament… 12-of-25 against Kansas, 12-of-26 against Florida State, 8-of-21 against Purdue, 12-of-25 against Georgetown, 9-of-24 against USC… and all of this comes for a team that was shooting less than 36 percent from beyond the arc at the start of this tournament!

For Butler, obviously, defending the triple is going to be of paramount importance, but it seems like keeping Howard on the court is the bigger key. Howard is really the grit of this club, and if he isn’t in the fold, Butler is hard pressed to find a replacement for him. Over the course of the last two seasons in the dance, the Bulldogs were just significantly better with Howard out there than with him on the bench, and if he can stay out there, he should be able to provide Skeen with a heck of a battle in the paint. It’s not about the numbers. It’s just about keeping him and his presence out there on the court at all times.

Final Four Game Props to Boost Your Bankroll

April 5th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Final Four Game Props to Boost Your Bankroll
Signup Today @ BetUS & Get a Huge 100% Signup Bonus
New BetUS Players Only: Must Mention Bankroll Sports at BetUS & Use This Link!
(Must Use Above Links – $100 Min. / $500 Max. – 50% Additional Bonus For Deposits Over $500)

5Dimes Sportsbook has a full list of propositions for each of the Final Four betting affairs for this Saturday’s games. Here at Bankroll Sports, we have all of the action covered with your best picks that can boost your bankrolls!

Prop Bet #1: Gordon Hayward -1 point vs. Raymar Morgan (-120): Let’s just start with the basics on this one. Morgan averages 11.5 points per game against teams that typically play significantly worse defense than Butler. Hayward averages 15.5 points per game and has proven that he can put up big numbers against the likes of Kansas State and Syracuse already. Now, if we dig a bit deeper, we’ll see that Morgan is probably going to be the guy that the Bulldogs try to shut down. Not only are both Hayward and fellow big man Matt Howard stellar post defenders, but Morgan’s history in the tournament so far isn’t exactly stellar. MSU’s second leading scorer has only put up a total of 20 points in two games without G Kalin Lucas in the lineup, mostly because G Durrell Summers has really taken over the scoring load. That being said, we know that Hayward will get his points, especially considering the fact that he scored 49 of them against the Orange and Wildcats combined. This one seems to easy to miss.

Selection: Gordon Hayward -1 point at 5Dimes. (50% Deposit Bonus by clicking This Link.)

Prop Bet #2: Devin Ebanks over/under 20 Points + Rebounds: We like this particular matchup for West Virginia because Ebanks just doesn’t have an equal on the court in terms of athleticism. If the Blue Devils throw Brian Zoubek at him, he’ll just run around him. If it’s Singler, he’ll eat up the glass. The only legitimate matchup chance may be Lance Thomas, who would be undersized. Compare Ebanks a bit to F Ekpe Udoh for Baylor, who went for 18 points and ten boards against these Dookies last Sunday. The West Virginia forward averaged 12.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game this year against Big East foes, so this is probably a decent indicator of what we can expect against the Blue Devils. However, when push comes to shove, he’s averaged over 37 minutes per game in the L/3 rounds of this tournament, which should set the stage for some extra stats from his season averages. Expect to see Ebanks squeak by this number by a few.

Selection: Devin Ebanks Over 20 Points + Rebounds at 5Dimes. (50% Deposit Bonus by clicking This Link.)

Prop Bet #3: Nolan Smith over/under 16.5 Points : This is a bit of a surprising line to see to say the least. Smith may only be the third best scorer on this team at 17.4 points per game, but he has been the only major of the three Dookies that really hasn’t hit a big scoring drought at any point during recent weeks. G Jon Scheyer had his streak of a half dozen games in which he scored below his average, while F Kyle Singler is coming off of a game in which he failed to hit a single shot from the field. Meanwhile, Smith seems to have the hot hand, scoring 29 points against Baylor. He also has a 20 point effort against Cal to his credit in the dance as well. Look for him to take over against a West Virginia team which really only has a weak spot in its defense on the perimeter. Smith could have a fantastic game.

Selection: Nolan Smith Over 16.5 Points at 5Dimes. (50% Deposit Bonus by clicking This Link.)

Updated Final Four MVP Odds and Free Predictions

April 5th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Updated Final Four MVP Odds and Free Predictions
Signup Today @ BetUS & Get a Huge 100% Signup Bonus
New BetUS Players Only: Must Mention Bankroll Sports at BetUS & Use This Link!
(Must Use Above Links – $100 Min. / $500 Max. – 50% Additional Bonus For Deposits Over $500)

BetUS Sportsbook is all set for the biggest college basketball betting game of the year when the Duke Blue Devils and the Butler Bulldogs tip it off on Monday night! Here at Bankroll Sports, we’re taking a look at the final odds for the Final Four MVP award, which will be handed out at the conclusion of tonight’s game.

Nolan Smith, Duke Blue Devils

Why He Could Win: He has been the most consistent players for the Blue Devils in this tournament. Smith has averaged 18.6 points per game in the dance, making him one of the top scorers in this entire field of 65. You also know that unless he gets injured or into some serious foul trouble that he isn’t leaving the court for more than a minute or two at a time, so Smith will certainly have the chance to take all of the shots he needs.

Why He Might Not Win: Because he’s sort of the forgotten Blue Devil. Smith probably isn’t the best pure scorer on this team, nor is he the best rebounder or assists man. Even when he is leading the team in scoring for a game, the spotlight still often shines on either G Jon Scheyer or F Kyle Singler if either one of those two is having a solid night.

The Final Word: You can find Smith at +250 at BetUS Sportsbook to win MVP honors, which makes him the favorite to take down the award. However, unlike for Scheyer or Singler, it’s going to take a truly amazing effort for Smith to steal those votes that will go to one of the other two Dookies in the event that either one has a comparable game. Look elsewhere.

Jon Scheyer, Duke Blue Devils

Why He Could Win: He’s the leader of a senior-laden team, and he’s also the squad’s top scorer. Scheyer went off for 23 on West Virginia on Saturday night, making him the leader at this point in terms of scoring in the Final Four. If there’s a man that can take over any game single handedly from the outside, Scheyer is your guy, and if he can catch fire, Butler needs to look out. The senior can go on a 12-0 run all by himself very, very quickly.

Why He Might Not Win: Scheyer’s biggest problem is that he is notoriously inconsistent. Ultimately in most games, he gets his points and his assists, but sometimes, it takes awhile to get on the stat sheet. That can’t happen if he hopes to lead his team to victory and take down the MVP title.

The Final Word: Scheyer has been lined at +300 at BetUS Sportsbook to win the MVP award. In our eyes, this is the best bang for your buck. With another 20+ point effort, Scheyer will most likely be the highest scorer in the Final Four, and normally speaking, if you’re the Final Four’s leading point man and your team wins it all, you’re going to be the winner. Considering backing Scheyer at decent odds.

Gordon Hayward, Butler Bulldogs

Why He Could Win: It seems like a foregone conclusion that Hayward is winning the MVP award for the Bulldogs in the event that they win this game. He’s also the only player on the court that has any hope of winning the honors should his team lose. Hayward has averaged 16.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in the dance to this point, and his best three games have come against his hardest three opponents in Syracuse, Kansas State, and Michigan State. If there’s any hope of beating the Dookies, Hayward is going to have to play like an MVP.

Why He Might Not Win: Simply put, Butler probably isn’t winning this game. That would almost certainly shut any chances out of Hayward grabbing this award.

The Final Word: Hayward is the top Bulldog on the board at +300 at BetUS Sportsbook to win MVP honors. However, think about this one carefully before placing this bet. You can also get Butler at +290 on the moneyline in this game. If we reasonably assess that Howard isn’t winning this award without the Bulldogs winning the contest, you’re a lot better off passing on Hayward on this prop and taking the Horizon League champs to win the title instead just in case he gets hurt or someone else goes absolutely crazy.

Kyle Singler, Duke Blue Devils

Why He Could Win: The media loves a good story. After having the worst game of his career against Baylor in the Elite 8 by going 0/10 from the field and 0/5 from downtown and only scoring five points, Singler bounced back in the Final Four by scoring 21 points and bringing down nine boards in one of the statistically best games of his season. Just like Smith and Scheyer, Singler has the ability to score and score in bunches, as demonstrated by his nearly 18 points per game average in ’09-’10.

Why He Might Not Win: It’s hard to overlook that goose egg that he put up against Baylor. Even though that shouldn’t factor in to whether or not Singler wins this award, as a voter, it’s hard to look at Singler’s body of work in the dance and really say that he deserves any sort of MVP Award, especially when Smith has been so great over this whole tournament and Scheyer has caught fire in the L/3 rounds.

The Final Word: There’s a reason that Singler is +400 at BetUS Sportsbook to be named Final Four MVP. We don’t necessarily like Singler’s chances any better than Smith’s to capture the award, but we do like his odds a lot better. It seems a lot more likely that the forward can go off for 25+ points and steal the hearts of the voters in the process than that Smith can do the same thing. It’s going to take a huge effort, but if Singler can get it done, he may win this award as the fourth choice on the board.

Final Four Props and Free Picks

April 1st, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Final Four Props and Free Picks
Exclusive Bonus Offer From Top Sponsor For Bankroll Sports Visitors Only
Click Here For a 100% Signup Bonus From JustBet
(Exclusive Bonus Offer – Must Use This Link or Above Links)

With just four teams remaining in the chase for college basketball’s biggest prize, BoDog Sportsbook has assembled a list of props for the Final Four that are ripe for the picking. Here are our free Final Four prop picks for the weekend!

Prop Bet #1: What will the highest scoring team be in the Final Four games?: Considering just how good the defensive stats are in the Final Four, this prop could be incredibly difficult. After all, both over/unders are very low (Michigan State/Butler: 126, West Virginia/Duke: 130.5). However, don’t over think this one. The Bulldogs have kept both Syracuse and Kansas State under 60 points, and it seems awfully likely that that will be the fate of Michigan State as well. So now we’re looking at the winner of the Duke/West Virginia game. You probably won’t go wrong just by taking both the Mountaineers and Dookies, but we’re going to go with West Virginia because of its potential to explode and go on big runs through its post players.

Selection: West Virginia Mountaineers 5/2 at BoDog Sportsbook. (100% Deposit Bonus by clicking This Link.)

Prop Bet #2: Who will score the most points during the 2010 Final Four?: It’s important to note that the top four favorites for this prop are all either West Virginia Mountaineers or Duke Blue Devils. Remember that there is going to be someone on either Butler or Michigan State in all likelihood that really lights it up in the semifinals and moves on to the championship game. That’s why our pick is going to go against the grain. We’ll go with Michigan State’s G Durrell Summers to do the damage. Butler’s best defenders are all on the inside, so Summers may be able to pick apart this team from beyond the arc. He scored 21 points in the Elite 8 against the Volunteers, and has put together at least 19 in three straight games, which coincides with the injury to G Kalin Lucas. If Sparty can find a way to take care of the Bulldogs and end Cinderella’s season, Summers is probably going to be a favorite to cash this prop going into the final.

Selection: Durrell Summers 12/1 at BoDog Sportsbook. (100% Deposit Bonus by clicking This Link.)

Prop Bet #3: Will either Final Four game go into overtime?: Let’s be remotely realistic about this. We love overtime games, and you’re going to want to bank on this to happen at +300, but these just aren’t great odds. None of these teams have engaged in an overtime battle in the dance. Michigan State’s most recent overtime game came against Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament, which was its only overtime duel of the year. Butler also has only played in one overtime duel this year. West Virginia needed an extra frame three times on the year, while Duke has yet to play one. If you do the math on all of that, these four teams have combined to play in overtime in just five of their 147 games, or 3.4%. Granted, these teams are significantly more evenly matched than they were with the mass majority of their opponents, and there’s a big curve that has to be given to this. But basically what you’re asking for if you’re betting yes is for one of these games to go to OT approximately 16.7% of the time. Even in the Final Four, that’s just not going to happen.

Selection: No -450 at BoDog Sportsbook. (100% Deposit Bonus by clicking This Link.)

2010 Final Four Odds, Free Predictions, & Analysis

March 30th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on 2010 Final Four Odds, Free Predictions, & Analysis
Signup Today @ BetUS & Get a Huge 100% Signup Bonus
New BetUS Players Only: Must Mention Bankroll Sports at BetUS & Use This Link!
(Must Use Above Links – $100 Min. / $500 Max. – 50% Additional Bonus For Deposits Over $500)

List of Final Four Odds & Latest Odds to Win The NCAA Tournament Can Be Found Below!

Last weekend, it was once again proven that the madness of March can claim any team at any moment. Only two of the so-called “favorites” to win the NCAA Tournament remain going into the Final Four in Indianapolis, as the Duke Blue Devils opened up as +600 favorites, while the West Virginia Mountaineers began at +800. You could’ve found the Michigan State Spartans at +5000 and the Butler Bulldogs at +7500 at the outset of the tourney as well. Here’s our look at the last four teams standing with their odds and our predictions for how they’ll fare in the Final Four.

Duke Blue Devils

Odds: +145 at 5Dimes
Analysis: If you were told at the beginning of March Madness that there would only be one #1 seed make it to the Final Four, the Blue Devils almost certainly would’ve been your final guess. However, thanks to a relatively weak bracket and some strong defense, the Dookies have not only gone 4-0 SU to make it to Lucas Oil Stadium, but they’ve also gone a perfect 4-0 ATS to boot.
Keys to Victory: The Dookies absolutely know that they need their Big Three to keep on scoring and scoring at will to win it all. G Jon Scheyer, F Kyle Singler, and G Nolan Smith are averaging a combined 53.2 points per game this year, but Singler is coming off of the first game of his career in which he was held without a field (0/10 vs. Baylor). It’s not the defense that needs to keep up, it’s the offense, and Coach K probably knows it.
The Last Word: It hasn’t been a good thing to be a favorite in this tournament, and it’s going to be absolutely no different for the Blue Devils. West Virginia provides a type of test that hasn’t been seen this year by this team, and the ACC Champs are going to succumb to the defensive pressure and bow out one step away from the championship game.

Butler Bulldogs

Odds: +415 at 5Dimes
Analysis: Not only has Cinderella found the perfect fitting slipper, but now she gets to go to the ball that will played essentially on her home court. The Bulldogs have clearly been the mid-major that has stood out above the rest all season long, and now, they’re going to the Final Four, which will be played just seven miles from their campus. Butler is riding a 24 game winning streak, the longest in the nation by a country mile.
Keys to Victory: Defense brought Butler here, and defense is going to have to be what takes it to the next level. The Bulldogs have held their foes to just 59.6 points this season, the best mark of the four teams remaining. Don’t just say that those great numbers are thanks to a lack of competition, though. Ask Kansas State and Syracuse, both of which were averaging right around 80 points per game this year, just how tough it is to play these guys. The Dogs held each of them under 60 points.
The Last Word: Even though Butler is going to be favored against Michigan State, the party is probably over for it. The Bulldogs are cute and clearly have the ability to beat the best teams in the nation (after all, they already have a win against Ohio State to boot this year), but teams like this just don’t win National Championships. It’ll be a hard fought battle, but the clock will ultimately strike midnight on this Cinderella on Saturday.

Michigan State Spartans

Odds: +475 at 5Dimes
Analysis: Losing G Kalin Lucas has only seemed to make this team stronger. HC Tom Izzo knows what he’s doing, as demonstrated by the fact that he has been to six Final Fours in the L/12 seasons. This probably isn’t his most talented team, but it is a team that has truly come together for a common goal in spite of the fact that its leading scorer has been shelved with an Achilles tendon rupture.
Keys to Victory: It’s hard to just say that there is one key for this team. The Spartans don’t have a ton of size or speed, but what they do have is a lot of heart and effort. They’re also going to be the best coached side in this tournament. They’ll have a chance because of Izzo, and as long as they remain charismatic and show the ability to nail clutch shots and win games down the stretch, they’ll be a tough team to oust no matter who the foe really is.
The Last Word: Sparty came up just short last season, and unfortunately for them, that’s probably going to be the way that it works this year as well. MSU’s heart can carry it past an equally gritty Butler team, but it’s just not going to have enough no matter who the foe is on the other side of the bracket. Always a bridesmaid, but never a bride. That’s going to be the theme once again in East Lansing.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Odds: +250 at 5Dimes
Analysis: They say that surviving in the Big East is a great preparation for the NCAA Tournament. Though that didn’t hold true for a ton of teams from this conference this year, it did for the champs of the league, as the Mountaineers have used the momentum from their Big East Tournament triumph to lead them into the Final Four in Indianapolis.
Keys to Victory: The bigs for the Mountaineers have had a great tournament, and they’re going to have to continue that way to take care of Duke and either Michigan State or Butler to win it all. F Da’Sean Butler, F Kevin Jones, and F Devin Ebanks are combining to score 43.1 points and bring in 21.7 rebounds per night, both of which are incredibly hefty numbers. Even though the backcourt play is clearly going to be missing something if G Darryl Bryant can’t play, the frontcourt should be good enough for this team to beat anyone in the country.
The Last Word: Athleticism is the key to beating Duke, and that’s what is going to carry the Mountaineers to the NCAA Tournament Final. At that point, there’s going to be a relatively undersized team that is waiting in the wings. If West Virginia can successfully knock off the powerful Wildcats, who are stacked both on the inside and on the outside, it can certainly take care of any of these teams that are left standing to win the entire tournament. Look for the blue and gold to be cutting down the nets on Monday night.

Current March Madness Odds @ 5Dimes Sportsbook(as of 3/30/10):
(Get a HUGE 50% Bonus at 5Dimes Sportsbook When Using This Link)

Duke +145
West Virginia +250
Butler +415
Michigan State +475

Bubble Trouble: Let the Madness of March Begin

March 2nd, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Bubble Trouble: Let the Madness of March Begin
Signup Today @ BetUS & Get a Huge 100% Signup Bonus
New BetUS Players Only: Must Mention Bankroll Sports at BetUS & Use This Link!
(Must Use Above Links – $100 Min. / $500 Max. – 50% Additional Bonus For Deposits Over $500)

March Madness has officially kicked off, as conference tournaments are underway and the first official tickets to the dance will be handed out in the days to come. When it’s all said and done, there are 35 teams that won’t win their conference tournaments that are invited to the grandest dance in the world anyway.

Truth be told, a whole bunch of those spots have already been handed out for certain. Figure that these teams, without any shred of a doubt whatsoever, are already making plans for being in the brackets come Selection Sunday…

Atlantic 10 (3): Temple, Xavier, Rhode Island
ACC (1): Duke
Big XII (4): Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas
Big East (4): Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Pittsburgh
Big Ten (4): Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin
Mountain West (2): New Mexico, BYU
SEC (3): Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee

Now, we’ll argue that one of these teams from each conference is going to get their respective league’s automatic bid to the tourney. That makes 14 at-large bids that are certainly gone. If you’re team’s not on this list above and you think you’re going to the NCAA Tournament, you’d better pay really good attention to the rest of this article.

Everyone get out your Gonzaga shirt, your Murray State hat, your Northern Iowa socks, your Siena sweater, your Old Dominion shoes, and your Butler underwear.

In a perfect world, all six of these teams are just going to win their conference tournaments and take their automatic slots in the field. That would leave the other, oh, 40 or so of you out there the maximum possible 21 tickets to fight for.

However, this isn’t a perfect world, and this is what makes the madness of March so fantastic. In the event that the Zags, Racers, Panthers, Saints, Monarchs, and/or Bulldogs happens to lose a game in the next week or so in their conference tournaments, they’ll be thrust into the at-large pool with the rest of you suckers that are groveling to the Selection Committee to put you in the field of 65 in spite of the fact that you have obvious flaws on your resumes. In the cases of Gonzaga, Northern Iowa, and Butler, they’re not going to join the 40 of you that are praying to get in. They’re going to join the 14 that already know that they’re in the driver’s seat.

For Murray State, Siena, and Old Dominion, not winning their conference tournaments may leave them in the NIT. Or maybe it won’t. One thing is for certain, though. If you happened to lose to one of these three teams in the regular season (I’m looking at you Georgetown and Charlotte!), you’d better hope that that team gets into the field via the automatic bid, because if they don’t, you’re going to be subjected to having the Dikembe Mutombo finger waved at you for having lost the head-to-head series against a fellow bubble dweller.

The beauty about college basketball though, is that virtually everyone gets a chance. If you want to play in the NCAA Tournament, play your way into the field. Keep winning in your conference tournaments, and you’ll find your way onto the dance floor one way or the other.

If not and your bubble pops, don’t go blaming anyone but yourself.

Let the madness of March begin…

2009-10 College Basketball Early Season Predictions: Sleeper Teams

November 18th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   2 Comments »
Exclusive Bonus Offer From Top Sponsor For Bankroll Sports Visitors Only
Click Here For a 100% Bonus From Diamond Sportsbook
(Exclusive Bonus Offer – Must Use This Link or Above Links)

Well everyone it is that time of year again when the weather turns cold, leafs fall off the trees, college football is winding down the regular season, and the college basketball season is quietly getting under way. That’s right college hoops are here and time to put some focus on the hardwood. The college basketball season usually does not get the most attention until the majority of the football season is over, but for college basketball enthusiasts our time is here. Over the last 24 hours the first games of the regular season have been played as we anticipate the long exciting season so there is no better time to take a look at some of the teams to watch out for in 2009-2010 basketball season.

The Kansas Jayhawks young talented team has taken the top spot in the polls which should be a surprise considering how well the Jayhawks played in the NCAA Tournament with an inexperienced roster. However, our focus for this article is to shy away from the top 5 teams in America who are receiving all of the attention and spot the potential sleepers who will come on strong. Remember last year we nailed 3 out of the 4 NCAA Bracket winners including the big underdog in Villanova and we have a few teams on our watch that you should keep on your radar throughout the year. Take a look at a few teams that are not receiving a ton of attention, but could be shining brightly in the spotlight by season’s end.

West Virginia Mountaineers

The Mountaineers finished the regular season in 2008 at a mark of 21-10 despite being beaten up by the brutal conference play down the stretch. The fact is that West Virginia would have been a top 10 team all season long if they played anywhere outside the Big East considering how stacked the conference was last year. Coach Bob Huggins now enters his 3rd year in Morgantown and considering the difference he has made in his first two years the program is definitely headed in the right direction. Huggins now has most of his own players running his style of play which will make all the difference. The key player on the West Virginia roster will be sophomore forward Devin Ebanks. Ebanks got off to a slow start last year reaching double digits just 9 times through the first 25 games. However, the young talent really came on strong scoring at least 10 points or more in 13 of the final 15 games giving tons of promise for the 2009-2010 season. Leading scorer Da’Sean Butler will also be back after averaging 17 points per game a season ago. Butler gives the team the dangerous ability to get hot and is dangerous all over the court. If junior transfer Casey Mitchell can come in and give immediate help, the Mountaineers will have the best inside presence in the conference. Look out for freshman Kevin Jones who could make a similar big presence on the inside well with some time as well. If the Mountaineers can find one guy to become a big shooter on the outside to compliment the inside game, dare I say Final Four?

Butler Bulldogs

I know what most are thinking when they see Butler, but do not be fooled. The Bulldogs return everyone from the starting rotation a year ago that finished 25-4 on the season. Sure Butler plays a weak schedule, but their style of play proved to cause problems for many different teams last year. The Bulldogs took down Xavier and Davidson during the regular season and fell by a single basket to Ohio State who many had as preseason best in the Big Ten for 2008. Butler also fell just short of knocking off number 2 seed Tennessee who was the best team in the SEC keeping them out of the sweet 16. However, with everyone back things should only get better. This could be the only team in the nation that could put 5 guards on the court and get away with it. Matt Howard and Gordon Hayward will be critical youngsters for the team as veteran senior Willie Veasley will provide the leadership the team will need. How far could Butler go? Well that may be hard to tell, but they will be a team that is extremely difficult to guard and it would not be a big surprise if this shaped up to be a Cinderella Story.

South Carolina Gamecocks

The Gamecocks may be a stretch to make a ton of noise this season, but they deserve a lot more attention than they are getting. South Carolina currently is not even ranked, but they will change after a few short weeks. Senior guard Devin Downey is one of the most exciting players in the SEC to watch with tremendous hustle. Downey scored 19 points per game in 2008 and led the conference with 3 steals per game. The talented senior will be the key guy when South Carolina needs to pull out close wins as he did multiple times in 2008. However, the entire team is on the rise behind Coach Darrin Horn who is in just his 2nd year as head coach. The team may have its best years ahead, but that is not to say they can do some damage in the SEC this year. South Carolina took down Florida once and Kentucky twice in the regular season and they will match-up well with everyone again this year. The Gamecocks will need senior Dominique Archie to have an even bigger season this year especially on the boards. Archie averaged 16.5 points and 8 rebounds last season, but South Carolina really needs him to control the boards as they lack the single big man needed to be really strong. However, this is a quick team that will give everyone a hard time and we would put them ahead of some of the over hyped Big Ten teams already ranked in the top 25.

Purdue Boilermakers

One of those Big Ten teams that are not over hyped is the Purdue Boilermakers. While Michigan State is receiving the overwhelming attention in the Big Ten and rightfully so, Purdue will have every opportunity to be the dark horse that could steal the thunder. In fact, this is most of the same team that blew out the Spartans by nearly 20 points in late February of last season. The lethal weapon of the team will be forward Robbie Hummel who averaged 13 points and 7 boards last season. Hummel will be even better this year and the Boilermakers will be a force. Purdue as a team has all the players in the right positions to expect big things. JaJuan Johnson is the big guy in the middle and senior guard Chris Kramer will need to improve a bit. However, freshman guard D.J Byrd could be the biggest difference for the Boilermakers. It is usually not a good sign to place a lot of responsibility on a freshman, but Purdue really needs a consistent hot hand from the perimeter. Bryd could do that right away depending on how quickly he adapts at the next level. However, if he can knock down a few shots each game Purdue has all the making to contend in the Big Ten.