The Mid Major Conferences Odds and Reports: It’s All Gonzaga All the Time
No. 2 Gonzaga (26-1, 12-0 WCC) only had one game on their schedule last week with a road visit to Pepperdine, and after taking about 25 minutes to get going, the Zags were finally able to pull away with an 89-77 victory on Saturday.
The win gave the Zags their 18th consecutive victory on the season, and a 2.5-game lead over No. 23 BYU (21-7, 10-3 WCC).
This Saturday, Gonzaga will face that very BYU team in Provo, a place that has given the Zags problems before. Should Gonzaga get past the Cougars, there is little standing in the way from another undefeated conference season for the Zags and another 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament would be a virtual lock at that point.
The Zags remain the odds-on favorite to win the National Championship at +800, and the overwhelming favorite to win the West Coast Conference Tournament at -770.
Oddsmakers also strongly believe Gonzaga has a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament already wrapped us as they are listed at an eye-popping -670 to secure a top seed when brackets are announced about a month from today.
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Aztecs Showing No Mercy to Mountain West Foes
No. 4 San Diego State (26-0, 15-0 MWC) continued their quest for a perfect regular season with a blowout victory on the road against Boise State.
The Aztecs only have three games remaining on their schedule with a road-trip to Reno to close out the season looking like their only real opportunity to stumble before the Mountain West Tournament gets going the first week of March.
A 32-0 San Diego State team heading into the NCAA Tournament is looking like a certainty now with each passing week, and oddsmakers now have the Aztecs listed at -200 to clinch their first ever 1-seed in the tournament.
Flyers Continue to ‘Fly’ High in A10
The Dayton Flyers (23-2, 12-0 A10) cracked the Top 5 for the first time in school history this week thanks to Louisville’s rough week, and yet another dominant showing from Wooden Award finalist Obi Toppin.
The highlight win of the week for the Flyers came on Feb. 11 with an impressive 81-67 victory over Rhode Island (19-6, 11-2 A10) and positioned Dayton for a possible run at a No. 1 seed of their own should anyone in the Top 4 stumble down the stretch.
The Flyers path to conference perfection is noticeably more daunting than it is for mid-major brethren Gonzaga and San Diego State, with road games against VCU and Rhode Island left to go, but this is a Dayton team that should be a Top 10 team heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Oddsmakers have slotted Dayton at -125 to win the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament and at +125 to clinch a 1-seed come Selection Sunday.
Meanwhile, outside of Rhode Island, no other team in the conference is currently projected to get an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, as VCU’s recent stumble has knocked them out of the field for now.
Houston Tries to Stave Off Surging Bearcats Atop American Athletic Conference
The topsy-turvy American Athletic Conference tightened up last week as No. 22 Houston (20-6, 10-3 AAC) stumbled 73-72 in overtime in a Saturday road loss to SMU.
The loss allowed the surging Cincinnati Bearcats (17-8, 10-3 AAC) to move into a tie for first-place in the conference, with a March 1st date with Houston looming in the distance.
Tulsa (17-8, 9-3 AAC) rattled off back-to-back wins last week to stop a brief two-game skid and keep the Golden Hurricane within striking distance of a regular-season championship, while SMU (18-6, 8-4 AAC) and Wichita State (19-6, 7-5 AAC) also enjoyed perfect weeks to inch their way back into the conference title race.
Currently bracket prognosticators have the AAC with 3 teams in the dance (Houston, Cincy and Wichita State) with Tulsa and SMU needing more work to get themselves back into the conversation.
Houston remains the short favorite to win the AAC Tournament at +200, with Wichita State (+300) and Cincinnati (+450) the next in line.
Mid Major Roundup
BYU – The Cougars moved into the Top 25 this week after another perfect week, albeit a perfect week that included quite the scare in a narrow 72-71 win over San Diego. The nations best 3-point shooting team plays host to Santa Clara on Thursday before a big showdown with #2 Gonzaga on Saturday. A win over the Zags could be enough to punch the Cougars ticket to the dance.
Northern Iowa – A surging Northern Iowa Panthers (22-4, 11-3 MVC) team had their 6-game winning streak ended on Saturday at the hands of Loyola Chicago, and probably cannot afford another conference loss if they wish to remain in the mix for an at-large berth. Nonetheless, this remains a very dangerous team the rest of the way, especially if they can get into the tourney.
East Tennessee State / Furman – As of this writing, Joey Brackets has the Southern Conference getting two teams into the dance and they both happen to meet on Wednesday. ETSU (23-4, 12-2 SoCon) won for the 10th time in 11 games on Saturday with a narrow 72-67 win over VMI, while Furman (22-5, 12-2 SoCon) won for the seventh consecutive time with a 58-53 win over Chattanooga. As a result, we are in for one fun game on Wednesday in what may possibly be a Southern Conference Tournament Final preview.
New Mexico State – It took the Aggies (21-6, 12-0 WAC) a little bit of time to get going this season, but they have resumed complete domination over the Western Athletic Conference, and are looking like they are heading to cruising to yet another automatic ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Should the Aggies run the table in conference they will have accumulated a gaudy 31-1 conference record over the last two seasons.
Vermont – The Catamounts (21-6, 11-1 AmEast) have ran their win-streak up to 11-games now and appear to have a stranglehold on the American East Conference yet again. Vermont looks to capture revenge for their only conference loss of the season on Thursday when they visit Stony Brook in a possible American East Conference Tournament Final preview.
North Florida – Do you know who the best team in the country is against the spread? It’s none other than the Atlantic Sun Conference leading North Florida Ospreys! The Ospreys (18-10, 11-2 ASun) are currently a lovely 20-6 ATS and would clinch the Atlantic Sun regular season championship with a win over Liberty on Thursday.
Mid-Major Conference Leader Betting Nuggets
- Vermont is 5-1-1 ATS in their L7 games
- North Florida is 15-2 ATS in their L17 games (NCAA best)
- Montana OVER is 10-2 in their L12 games; Montana is 5-0 ATS in their L5 games
- Winthrop is 0-5 ATS in their L5 games
- UC Irvine is 1-3 ATS in their L4 games
- Hofstra UNDER is 8-1 in their L9 games; Hofstra is 7-1 ATS in their L8 games
- North Texas is 10-2-1 ATS in their L13 games
- Wright State OVER is 6-2 in their L8 games
- Yale OVER is 7-1 in their L8 games
- St. Peter’s is 6-1 ATS in their L7 games
- Bowling Green is 4-2-1 ATS in their L7 games
- Norfolk State OVER is 5-2 in their L7 games
- Northern Iowa OVER is 8-3 in their L11 games
- Merrimack UNDER is 8-1 in their L9 games
- Murray State UNDER is 6-1 in their L7 games
- Colgate UNDER is 4-1 in their L5 games
- East Tennessee State OVER is 7-2 in their L9 games
- Stephen F. Austin UNDER is 6-3 in their L9 games
- Prairie View A&M UNDER is 8-2-1 in their L11 games
- South Dakota State is 13-3 ATS in their L16 games
- Little Rock OVER is 7-0 in their L7 games
- New Mexico State is 1-6 ATS in their L7 games