Big Ten Champ Michigan Claims Spot in ATS Cats Rankings

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 8:02 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2018 8:02 PM UTC

Michigan joins the party after winning the Big Ten Conference Tournament, while Nebraska remains the No. 1 Cat and Oakland checks in as new King Rat.

College Basketball: ATS Cats & Rats, Week 18

Each week we list the best and worst NCAAB teams based on their performances against the point spread. Here are this week rankings.

Top 5 ATS Cats

1. Nebraska 22-8-0 ATS (Last week: No. 1)

Nebraska (22-10 SU, 22-8-0 ATS) suffered the biggest loss of its season in Week 17, falling to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals 77-58 as 5-point underdogs. The result put the Cornhuskers in the Next Four Out category in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology, a fairly accurate predictor of the potential NCAA Tournament field of 68. The Cornhuskers are, at least, still 14 games above .500 ATS. Nebraska (+4.3 ppg vs. ATS) had one the basketball program’s best seasons in years and has gone 18-3 ATS in its L21. Logic says an NIT bid is on the horizon.

2. Virginia 19-7-1 (Last week: No. 2)

Virginia (28-2 SU, 18-8-1 ATS) had a weird week, going 0-2 ATS but somehow escaping defeat. They won 67-66 as 4-point favorites at Louisville, scoring the last five points with 5 seconds left. The Cavaliers (No. 1 ranking) then hosted Notre Dame and won 62-57 as 8½-point favorites. Next up for Virginia (8/1 to win 2018 NCAA championship, Intertops) is an ACC Tournament game Thursday against the winner of Wednesday's Florida State-Louisville matchup.

3. Michigan 22-11-0 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)

Michigan (28-7 SU, 22-11-1 ATS) deserves some love after a 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS week in four Big Ten Tournament games. The Wolverines beat Iowa 77-71 in overtime as 9-point chalks; routed Nebraska 77-58 as 5-point favorites; upset rival Michigan State 75-64 as 5-point underdogs; and beat Purdue 75-66 as 4-point underdogs in the tourney final, punching their ticket to the Big Dance in the process. Michigan (+3.5 ppg. vs. ATS) has won nine consecutive games (8-1 ATS). Michigan now awaits Selection Sunday. Bracketology has Michigan as a No, 3 seed in the East Regional and playing theoretical 14-seed Bucknell in their opener. So after playing four games in four days, the Wolverines will be waiting 10 or 11 days until their next game in what would seem to be a great spot to back Michigan with your NCAAB picks.

4. Canisius 20-9-1 ATS (Last week: No. 3)

Metro Athletic Atlantic Conference member Canisius (21-11 SU, 20-9-1 ATS) drops a spot but stays in our Top 5 ATS Cats rankings despite getting upset in its MAAC Tournament opener, losing outright to Quinnipiac 72-69 as 9-point favorites. The setback probably ended any remote hopes the Golden Griffins had of making the NCAA Tournament. Canisius, a profitable 36-23-1 since 2016 (61.0 percent, +1.8 ppg vs. ATS), will probably be considered as a host for a first-round NIT game.

5. Loyola-Chicago 19-9-1 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)

It was a dogfight for the No. 5 ATS Cat spot between William & Mary (18-7-0 ATS, +2.6 ppg vs. ATS), South Dakota (17-7-2 ATS, 2.7 ppg vs. ATS), ETSU (18-9-2 ATS, +2.4 ppg vs. ATS), UCSB (18-9-0 ATS), Montana (18-9-1 ATS, +2.4 ppg) and upstart Loyola-Chicago (28-5 SU, 19-9-1 ATS). By virtue of winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, their +4.7 ppg vs. the point spread average and their 14-1 SU and 12-3 ATS mark the L15 games, Loyola-Chicago gets the nod. Next up for the upstart Ramblers, who have played five consecutive "unders," is their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1985). Bracketology pegs Loyola for a No. 12 seed in the Midwest Region against theoretical No. 5 seed Clemson.

The Cats is this week's rankings were a combined 102-44-3 ATS (69.9 percent) entering Tuesday's NCAAB schedule.

Top 5 ATS Rats

1. Oakland 8-22-0 ATS (Last week: No. 3)

Oakland (19-14 SU, 8-22-0 ATS) claim the King Rat spot after beating IUPUI 62-55 as 7½-point favorites, then losing to Cleveland State 44-43 as 9-point favorites in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament. The Golden Grizzlies are on a five-game ATS losing streak and have gone 1-10 ATS their L11, appropriately enough covering only at Cleveland State on Feb. 16 (82-66, OAK -5).

2. Fordham 7-19-0 ATS (Last week: No. 4)

Fordham (9-21 SU, 7-19-0 ATS) went 0-2 SU and ATS last week, losing 72-56 as 7½-point underdogs at George Washington, and getting throttled by VCU 83-58 as 5-point home dogs. The Rams (-3.3 ppg vs. ATS) have L6 straight SU, are 2-7 ATS their L9 and 17-24-2 ATS since 2016 (41.5 percent). Next up for Fordham is Wednesday's A-10 Conference Tournament game against George Washington (14-17 SU, 11-16-0 ATS), which opened as a 6½-point favorite (Bookmaker) on the college basketball odds board.

3. Charlotte 7-19-0 ATS (Last week: No. 1)

Charlotte (6-23 SU, 7-19-0 ATS) went 1-1 SU/ATS in Week 17, losing at home Florida International 89-83 as 1½-point underdogs and upsetting Florida Atlantic 85-78 as 2½-point home underdogs. That snapped a 15-game SU losing streak for Charlotte, which played its fifth "over" in its past six games. Charlotte will have to wait until next year to play again, but they have a shot at being King ATS Rat.

4. Vanderbilt 8-19-1 ATS (Last week: No. 2)

Vandy, perhaps the only team to be in these rankings every week, lost to Missouri 74-66 as 2-point home favorites, then upset Ole Miss 82-69 as 3-point road underdogs. The Commodores (-2.6 ppg vs. ATS) open SEC Tournament play Wednesday against Georgia (16-14 SU, 14-13-0 ATS), which opened as a 1-point favorite (BetOnline). Vanderbilt beat Georgia 81-65 during the regular season, easily getting the bacon as 4-point home favorites.

5. Cal Poly SLO 7-18-2 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)

Cal Poly (9-21 SU, 7-18-2 ATS) edged out Elon (14-18 SU, 9-20-0 ATS) by virtue of a worse PPG average ATS (-3.6 vs. -2.8) as well as current seven-game SU and ATS losing streaks. Cal Poly SLO lost at Cal-Riverside 72-63, failing to cover as 4½-point underdogs, then lost at UCSB 86-61 as 12½-point dogs. The Mustangs get another shot at USCB (22-8 SU, 18-9-0 ATS) in a Big West Conference Tournament game Thursday. With your NCAAB picks, that matchup appears to be a nice spot to fade slumping Cal Poly SLO in what likely will be their last game of the year.

This week's Rats were a combined 37-97-3 ATS (27.6 percent) heading into Tuesday's NCAAB action.

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