NCAA Basketball Betting: Top Unranked Teams Report - Feb. 28

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, February 28, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

Each week the LT Profits Group take a look at the top unranked college hoop teams. Here is a look at the top unranked and probably undervalued NCAA Basketball teams as of February 28th.

It should be no secret that you are not going to get rich betting NCAA Basketball by playing on popular ranked teams very often, as those are precisely the kinds of teams that are usually overvalued by the sportsbooks, especially since most of them have great name familiarity even among the most recreational of bettors. That is why so many ranked teams have losing ATS records, as they are often asked to cover double-digit point spreads, often inflated to upwards of 20 points and even more.

Therefore, not unlike any other sport, a major key to winning in college basketball is trying to uncover those undervalued teams on the NCAA Basketball odds, and more often than not, these gems will be found with talented unranked teams that can compete with the ranked teams but are much more under the radar. To that end, we are here to give you our current list of top unranked teams, with hopefully these schools falling quite nicely into the “undervalued” category.

We have a list of five top unranked teams, all of whom are in action either Saturday or Sunday, and this list should continue to be useful even beyond this weekend’s games, unless of course were are dead wrong with our calls on those teams being undervalued in the first place.

Remember too that the regular NCAA Basketball season is winding down with just a shade over a week remaining before conference tournaments are in full swing leading up to Selection Sunday on March 16th. That still leaves about 10 more days of action to take advantage of these teams not showing up on the latest AP Poll, so without further ado, here is our list of five top unranked teams based on the latest rankings as of Friday, February 28th.

UCLA Bruins (21-7, Next Game - Sunday vs. Oregon State): The Bruins were mainstays on this column for a couple of weeks until they finally cracked the AP Poll last week, but their stay in the ranking lasted only that week after they lost on the road at Stanford on Saturday. Then to add some drama into the mix, UCLA Coach Steve Alford suspended the Bruins’ two leading scorers Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams for their home game vs. Oregon on Thursday for breaking an unspecified team rule, but a short-handed UCLA squad responded with an outstanding effort in an 87-83 double overtime loss. That pair is expected to be back in uniform vs. the Oregon State Beavers on Sunday, and that could be the perfect time to buy the Bruins low as this is still a team that is ranked 16th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings. A Bruins’ team at full strength is a well-balanced team that is ranked eighth in the country in offensive efficiency, thanks to ranking 31st in two-point shooting at 52.6 percent and an outstanding seventh in three-point shooting at a blazing 40.1 percent, as well as a respectable 47th in defensive efficiency, thanks to ranking fourth in the land in steal percentage at 13.5 percent of opponents’ possessions, blowing away the national average of 9.0 percent!

Pittsburgh Panthers (21-7, Next Game - Saturday at Notre Dame): We thought that the Panthers were overrated when they were highly ranked earlier in the year, and they finally dropped out of the rankings thanks to a three-game losing streak, albeit vs. good competition in Syracuse, North Carolina and Florida State. However, we feel that they have now crossed over to being underrated after dropping out of the rankings. After all, Pittsburgh is still ranked 17th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings and they remain solid on both ends of the court, ranking 27th in offensive efficiency and 23rd in defensive efficiency. Our knock on the Panthers being highly ranked was their lack of that one go-to superstar, but they still have too much talent to not be ranked at all as we feel a ranking in the bottom third of the Top 25 is more appropriate. Pittsburgh embraces the “team” concept very well and does not have any discernable weaknesses, so the Panthers seem equipped to be an excellent regular season team while probably now quite having enough to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament without having a proven scorer in crunch time. Of the seven Pittsburgh losses this season, Florida State was the lowest ranked team it lost to, and the Seminoles are ranked a very good 32nd.

VCU Rams (21-7, Next Game - Saturday vs. Saint Louis): We have been hailing the Rams as the single most underrated mid-major team in the country all season, and there is no reason to change our tune now, not even with an 80-75 road loss last Friday at a difficult road venue vs. the Massachusetts Minutemen. VCU bounced back from that defeat to trounce Fordham on the road 85-66 and we still feel this 21-7 team coached by Shaka Smart does not get the respect in the polls that it deserves. We do not think that much separates the Rams from the first place team in the Atlantic 10 the Saint Louis Billikens, and yet Saint Louis was again ranked 10th in the country in the latest AP Poll before getting upset by Duquesne on Thursday, while VCU again did not receive one Top 25 vote. The Rams do get a chance to open some eyes nationally though when they host those Billikens on Saturday. Typical of teams coached by Smart, the Rams are on the brink of leading the entire country in defensive turnover percentage for the third straight season, currently sitting at 25.0 percent against a national average of 18.4 percent, so ranked or not, this is one team nobody wants to draw in the Big Dance.

Connecticut Huskies (22-6, Next Game - Saturday vs. Cincinnati): We are a tad surprised that the Huskies dropped out of the national rankings after playing probably their worst game of the season in a 64-55 home loss to a very good SMU Mustangs team on Sunday. Four of the first five Connecticut losses this season came to teams currently ranked 33rd or better overall on Pomeroy and the other loss came on the road at Houston, the same venue where the Cougars just upset currently 21st ranked Memphis on Thursday. The Huskies are still ranked 24th on Pomeroy, and they are fueled by a nice defense that ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency and 13th in effective field goal percentage allowed. The Connecticut defense has been especially hard to penetrate on the interior, as it is ranked 10th in the nation in two-point defense at a mere 42.2 percent. And it is not as if the Huskies are not capable if scoring points as they rank a respectable 57th in offensive efficiency, more than good enough to win a lot of game given the success of the defense. Connecticut has been especially adept from the perimeter when it chooses to shoot from beyond the three-point arc, ranking 13th in the country in three-point percentage at 39.4 percent, although that is not really a big part of the Huskies’ game as three-pointers only account for 29.2 percent of their points, a percentage that ranks 115th nationally.

Tennessee Volunteers (17-11, Next Game - Saturday vs. Vanderbilt): That’s right, we still list the Volunteers as undervalued even after losing their 11th game of the season 68-65 in overtime at Texas A&M on Saturday, a loss they recovered from with a 75-68 road win at Mississippi State on Wednesday. You see, despite the 17-11 mark, this team probably has more of a case to go to the Big Dance than the squad that was probably rightfully left out of the NCAA Tournament last season despite finishing 20-13. Tennessee is simply not your typical 11-loss team when taking a look at its peripherals, as now 10 of its 11 losses this season have been by single-digits! The one exception was a blowout loss at Florida the first time the schools met, a Florida team that is currently the top ranked team in the country. Besides that one blowout loss, the next two worst losses for Tennessee this season were both by nine points, one to Florida in the rematch and the other to the now second ranked and 30-0 Wichita State Shockers! The Volunteers are ranked 20th in the country in offensive efficiency and a respectable 59th in defensive efficiency while accomplishing that vs. a tough schedule ranked 39th in the land in SOS.

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