A perfect NCAA Tournament record of 6-0 -- straight up and against the point spread -- leaves no doubt: Villanova is the Top ATS Cat for the 2017-18 college basketball season.
Villanova (36-4 SU, 28-12-1 ATS) surged at the perfect time en route to the national championship. The Wildcats eliminated Radford (by 14 points), Alabama (13), West Virginia (12) and Texas Tech (12) in the NCAA Tournament; routed Kansas 95-79 in the Final Four semifinals; then trounced Michigan 79-62 (NOVA -7) in the title game. The Wildcats went 6-0 SU/ATS in the Big Dance to go from 10 games over .500 to 16 games over, and with a 70 percent ATS win mark they truly deserve Top Cat honor. Coach Jay Wright's team, which in November could have been found at 18/1 to win the championship, had the most ATS wins in the country. The Wildcats (2.9 ppg vs. ATS) went 18-6 ATS at home.
2. Nebraska 22-9-0 ATS (Last week: No. 1)
Although they lost their last game SU and ATS -- against Mississippi State in the opening round of the NIT -- Nebraska (22-11 SU, 22-9-0 ATS) ends the season as the No. 2 ATS Cat. The Cornhuskers finished 13 games above .500 versus the betting number. Easily the biggest loss for Nebraska this season came against NCAA Tournament runner-up Michigan in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Conference Tournament in early March, when the Wolverines shucked the Cornhuskers 77-58. Nebraska was a profitable 18-4 ATS in their L22 lined games. They played 20 "unders" and just 11 "overs" all season and were a powerful 13-5 ATS at home.
3. Loyola-Chicago 23-10-1 ATS (Last week: No. 5)
The Missouri Valley Conference champions were the Cinderella team of the NCAA Tournament. Loyola-Chicago (32-6 SU, 23-10-1 ATS), the South Region's No. 11 seed, knocked off Miami-Florida, Tennessee, Nevada and Kansas State in the Big Dance, and the Fighting Sister Jeans became the unlikeliest member of the Final Four. The Ramblers had the sixth-best scoring defense in Division I (62.6 ppg), played 21 "unders" and 13 "overs," and went 21-2 SU and 18-5 ATS its L23. Loyola-Chicago has been pretty good ATS the L2 years, going an impressive 40-21-1 ATS (65.6 percent, +3.2 ppg vs ATS).
4. Virginia 20-10-1 ATS (Last week: No. 2)
Virginia (30-3 SU, 20-10-1 ATS) was the top overall seed in the Big Dance. Then, however, they were on the wrong side of the greatest upset in college basketball history, becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed. Not cool. The Cavaliers had ousted defending national champion North Carolina in the ACC Tournament final and were matched against Maryland Baltimore County in the NCAA tourney opener. UMBC, about a 21-point underdog, shocked Virginia 73-53. Virginia, which finished with the best scoring defense in the nation (54.0 ppg), has been one of the best teams in the nation on which to put your money on these L2 seasons, going 38-23-1 ATS (63.9 percent, +1.0 ppg vs ATS) since 2016.
5. Michigan 25-13-2 ATS (Last week: No. 3)
Michigan (33-8 SU, 25-13-2 ATS) was pretty hot heading into Monday night’s national championship game, winning 14 straight games SU and going a healthy 11-2-1 ATS over that span. The Wolverines (+3.9 ppg vs. ATS) beat Loyola-Chicago 69-57 in the Final Four semifinals, easily covering as 5½-point favorites. Michigan played 21 "unders" and 17 "overs" this season, including Monday’s title tilt that went "under" by 3½.
Our final Top 5 ATS Cats went 118-54-5 ATS (68.6 percent) this season. Meanwhile, with nothing changing among the Top 5 ATS Rats (combined 37-100-3 ATS; 37 percent), here's a quick Rat recap:
Top 5 Rats
1. Oakland: The Horizon League's Golden Grizzlies were 3-14 ATS its L17 games. Final records: 19-14 SU and 8-22-0 ATS (-3.6 ppg vs. ATS).
2. Vanderbilt: The Commodores, from the Southeastern Conference, started the season 0-9 ATS and 1-14 ATS first 15 games. Final records: 12-20 SU and 8-21-0 ATS (-3.0 ppg vs. ATS).
3. Cal Poly SLO: The Mustangs, out of the Big West Conference, went 1-13-1 its L15 games. Final records: 9-22 SU and 7-19-2 ATS (-3.9 ppg vs. ATS).
4. Charlotte: Conference USA's 49ers finished with a skid of 3-10 ATS their L13 games. Final records: 6-23 SU and 7-19-0 ATS (-3.6 ppg vs. ATS).
5. Fordham: The Rams, representing the Atlantic 10 Conference, are 17-24-3 ATS since 2016 (41.5 percent). Final records: 9-22 SU and 7-19-1 ATS (-3.2 ppg vs. ATS).
A Look Ahead
Best Catty Teams To Back To Start 2018-19 Season: Vanderbilt, Villanova.
Best Ratty Teams To Fade To Start 2018-19 Season: Charlotte, Cal-Poly SLO.