Assuming things don’t get too crazy during Champ Week, it won’t be hard for the Selection Committee to choose its four No. 1 seeds for March Madness. But the NCAAB odds have a different foursome in mind.
It’s almost time, folks. The 2015 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament is just around the corner; the First Four tips off at the University of Dayton on March 17. Who will make it into this year’s Tournament? The Selection Committee has some work to do – 68 teams will be chosen, with 32 of those spots going to conference champions and the remaining 36 decided by the Committee. No doubt some of the choices will be controversial.
However, there doesn’t seem to be too much controversy over which four teams will earn the coveted No. 1 seeds for March Madness. Provided all goes well during Champ Week, the Kentucky Wildcats (31-0 SU, 16-14-1 ATS) will get the overall No. 1 seed, followed by the Virginia Cavaliers (28-2 SU, 16-12 ATS), the Duke Blue Devils (28-3 SU, 17-13-1 ATS), and the Villanova Wildcats (29-2 SU, 22-8 ATS). Fine teams all, but what if the NCAA Basketball odds were the only criteria that mattered? Then you’d get these four regional No. 1 teams instead.
Midwest: Bowling Green Falcons
Unless the Falcons (19-10 SU, 18-6-2 ATS) win the MAC Tournament this week, they’re not going dancing. But they’ve been a tremendous NCAA Basketball pick this year; in their first season under head coach Chris Jans, the Falcons have improved considerably on offense while maintaining their defensive zeal. Bowling Green has four upset victories under its belt, including a 76-74 overtime win over the top team in the MAC West Division, the Central Michigan Chippewas (–4.5 at home). The Falcons also have one of the best players in the country in junior forward Richaun Holmes (29.7 PER). Maybe they’ll go dancing after all.
West: Pepperdine Waves
Nestled snugly in the quite confines of the West Coast Conference, the Waves (18-12 SU, 19-7-2 ATS) are another team that’s not going to get a whiff of an at-large bid. Too bad, because Pepperdine could do some damage; Ken Pomeroy has the Waves defense ranked No. 34 overall in Division I. Nobody can hold a candle to them on the perimeter, where Pepperdine allows opponents to hit just 25.6 percent of their 3-point attempts. Third-year forward Stacy Davis (24.2 PER, plus-4.2 DBPM) is a beast at both ends of the court, and go figure, the UNDER is 15-5-1 for Pepperdine this year.
East: Villanova Wildcats
Here’s one team the handicappers and the Selection Committee can agree on. Villanova has absolutely crushed the basketball odds this year, raking in more cash than any other major conference program. The ‘Cats are clearly the class of the Big East; they’re going into Champ Week on a 12-game winning streak at 11-1 ATS, and they’re cashing in with a smart combination of 3-point shooting (No. 16 in volume) and free throws (No. 9). Mind you, the Wildcats are “only” ranked No. 5 overall (No. 4 offense, No. 23 defense) on the Pomeroy charts, so there might be some bracketologists who would prefer to give the Wisconsin Badgers a No. 1 March Madness seed.
South: Davidson Wildcats
Last, but most certainly not least, we have our kayfabe overall No. 1 seed. Davidson (23-6 SU, 22-4 ATS) will no doubt be at the Big Dance this month regardless what happens in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. But a strong showing at Champ Week could push these Wildcats into the top half of the bracket. As you’d expect from the program that gave you Stephen Curry, Davidson is prolific from long range at No. 3 in volume and No. 8 in accuracy (40.1 percent), led by the double-threat of guards Tyler Kalinoski (25.0 PER) and Jack Gibbs (28.7 PER). O, Davidson, you are the best – when it comes to beating the NCAA Basketball odds, at least.