The UConn Huskies look to kick off their NCAAB Title defense in style in this years Puerto Rico Tip-Off, but having lost many stars, that might not be the case. We look at the teams involved in this tournament and help you predict which teams might offer the best sports betting value.
The assortment of early season college basketball betting tournaments is the easiest way for a lot of teams to get three really good non-conference games on their schedule. How does this one shape up and will their likely be any value on the NCAA Basketball odds boards?
Also take a look at our early breakdowns for the rest of this year's opening tournaments.
The Tournament Bracket
The top half of the bracket features the defending national champion Connecticut Huskies. UConn will open the tournament against the College of Charleston, a school that made news in the offseason for all the wrong reasons. The Cougars watched their head coach, Doug Wojcik, get pushed out after behaving in an abusive way toward players. The whole offseason has been a headache and a distraction for both administrators and players, and it can’t be a good thing to deal with all that. The benefit for Charleston is that it has this incident in the rearview mirror. You should see positive energy from the Cougars, but probably not nearly enough quality or precision against a UConn team that should start the tournament with a win.
The other game in the top half of the bracket involves the Dayton Flyers, a team that made the Elite Eight last season and has a lot of its players back for this season. Archie Miller, brother of Arizona coach Sean Miller and part of the most popular brother-brother coaching tandem in the country, has a team that could be a legitimate Final Four contender this season. The Flyers were something of a Cinderella last season, but with their depth and balance and the fact that they do not look to any one player to score late in games, they should be able to get back to the NCAA tournament, but this time as a higher seed than the No. 11 seed they were last season.
In the bottom half of the bracket, New Mexico, the Mountain West Tournament champion last season and the relative equal of San Diego State, will play a Boston College team that has been a massive disappointment over the last few years. New Mexico is always strong on defense, and so Boston College will have to play a near-perfect offensive game in order to compete with the Lobos in that one.
The other game in the bottom half of the bracket pits George Mason against West Virginia. Last season, West Virginia was an up-and-down team. It beat Kansas at home, but lost so many other games it should have won, especially on the road. The Mountaineers really need to focus on this tournament as a chance to build better habits as a team and grow in ways they weren’t quite able to display last season. Bob Huggins made the Final Four at West Virginia in 2010, and his program hasn’t been nearly as good since that point. The Mountaineers have a lot to prove here in Puerto Rico, probably more than anyone else.
Follow all of our off-season coverage on our NCAA Basketball Picks page.
How To Bet The News
It’s a good bet that since Connecticut is without Shabazz Napier and the other core members of the team that won the national title, it will not be on top of its game. Take Dayton over UConn in the semifinals in the top half. In the bottom half, New Mexico and West Virginia will play a close semifinal. New Mexico has done more to earn a bettor’s trust and Dayton is in good shape to beat New Mexico for the title.