The Mid Major Conferences Odds and Reports: Is Gonzaga Still the Top Dog After the BYU Loss?
By: Brent Booher
The Gonzaga Bulldogs (27-2, 13-1 WCC) finally tasted defeat in the West Coast Conference for the first time since 2018 on Saturday when they fell to now No. 17 BYU (23-7, 12-3 WCC) 91-78.
The loss snapped Gonzaga’s 40-game conference winning streak and 39-game conference road game winning streak, both streaks being absolutely absurd and both speaking to the annual quality of this conference.
However, if they were to suffer a defeat in the conference, it would make sense that it would have come at the hands of BYU.
The Cougars lead all of college basketball in three-point shooting, and have now won eight-straight games and 14 of 15 at home this season.
If BYU can advance to the West Coast Conference Final for a possible third-matchup with the Zags, they should be heading to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five seasons.
Following the Zags loss on Saturday, their odds to win the West Coast Conference tournament dropped from -770 to -625, while BYU’s improved to +450.
Saint Mary’s is the only other school in the West Coast Conference that figures to pose any type of challenge to Gonzaga, and are listed at +700 this week to win their conference tournament.
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How San Diego State is Shifting the MWC Odds After Their First Loss
Last Saturday was also unkind to the boys from San Diego, as the Aztecs suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of UNLV 66-63.
No. 5 San Diego State (26-1, 15-1 MWC) now sees their chances to secure the school’s first ever No. 1 seed in grave danger, as anything short of a Mountain West Conference Tournament victory will likely send the Aztecs to the 2-seed line.
Fortunately for them, the Mountain West remains a mostly weak conference, with Utah State (22-7, 11-5 MWC) figuring to be their main opposition in Vegas.
However, considering their conference tournament takes place on UNLV’s home floor, and that UNLV is the team that beat them, the Aztecs may want to tread carefully with a potential matchup there as well.
All things considered though, not a whole lot has changed, only the Aztecs quest for perfection entering the tournament.
This week SDSU remains a -250 favorite to win the Mountain West Tournament when that begins next week.
How the Dayton Odds Skyrocketed Up the A-10 After the Tumultuous Weekend
No. 4 Dayton (26-2, 15-0 A10) could not have drawn up a more ideal week for themselves if they tried.
Not only did three teams ahead of them in the rankings fall, but so did second-place Rhode Island (19-7, 11-3 A10).
With Tuesday’s 62-55 road win over George Mason, Dayton clinched the regular season Atlantic 10 Conference championship, and now has its sights set on getting the school’s first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament when brackets are announced about two weeks from today.
Rhode Island remains the only other A10 team with strong at-large chances, as the rest of the conference will likely have to at least get to the conference tournament final and have a strong showing against Dayton (assuming they are the team that advances to the championship) to boost any chance of getting an at-large berth.
For now though, it certainly appears the A10 is mostly figured out as we head into March.
In terms of the aforementioned A10 tournament, Dayton is your odds-on favorite to win the conference tournament at -250, while Rhode Island is next at +400.
Which Teams Are Leading the AAC Odds Race
The race to win the American Athletic Conference regular season crown appears to be coming down to No. 25 Houston and Cincinnati, as both schools enter the week with matching 11-4 conference records.
Houston (21-7, 11-4 AAC) is coming off a week in which it blew out Tulsa 76-43 before losing on the road to Memphis 60-59.
Cincy (18-9, 11-4 AAC) is coming off a week in which it lost a double-overtime thriller against Central Florida before bouncing back on Sunday to defeat Wichita State at home.
And as fate would have it, Houston and Cincy are set to square off on Sunday from Houston, with the winner taking control of the American Athletic Conference with one more week to go.
At present writing, the American is projected to get three teams into the dance (Houston, Cincinnati and Wichita State), but the Shockers have been reeling of late and an additional slip-up to close the season could force Gregg Marshall’s crew to have a deep run in their conference tournament to get into the NCAA Tournament.
Other AAC contenders Tulsa, SMU and Memphis all figure to need to win their conference tournament in order to get an NCAA Tournament bid.
East Tennessee State
Steve Forbes’ Buccaneers won a huge Southern Conference matchup against Furman on Wednesday before defeating Samford on the road to improve their record to 25-4 and 14-2 in conference.
ETSU has enjoyed an absolutely phenomenal season, adding a victory over LSU and respectable showing against Kansas in non-conference play to further boost their resume.
Should ETSU fall in the Southern Conference tournament, their resume may be strong enough to steal an at-large bid from a Power 5 school that’s on the bubble.
This is a very good team that merits paying attention to as the tournament grows near.
The Liberty Flames (26-3, 12-2) regained control of the Atlantic Sun Conference with their 82-77 win over second-place North Florida on Thursday.
The win was especially large for the Flames, as this gives them the inside-track at having home-court advantage throughout the duration of the A–Sun conference tournament, and would give Liberty the chance to host the conference tournament final on their home floor should they advance to that point.
This is also a Liberty team that made some noise in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, as they upset Mississippi State before falling in a hard-fought game against Virginia Tech in the Round of 32.
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In a battle for MAC-supremacy, Bowling Green (21-7, 12-3 MAC) defeated their in-state, in-conference rival Akron 78-60 to take sole possession of first-place in the MAC’s Eastern division. Bowling Green also boasts the best record in the conference, and is considered the small favorite to win the MAC Tournament a few weeks from today.
This is a conference that has produced NCAA Tournament sleepers in the past, and Bowling Green will hope to be the latest should they get that far.
South Dakota State
The Jackrabbits keep doing what they do best – win on their home floor.
South Dakota State remained as one of eight teams to have a perfect record at home (16-0 overall), as they defeated in-state rival South Dakota 85-80 on Sunday.
With one game remaining on the regular season schedule, South Dakota State will enter the Summit League Conference Tournament as the favorite to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in eight seasons.
Keep an eye on the Jacks should they get back to the dance.
Mid-Major Conference Leader Betting Nuggets
- Vermont is 6-2-1 ATS in their L9 games
- North Florida is an NCAA-best 16-3 ATS in their L19 games
- Montana is 6-0 ATS in their L6 games; Montana OVER is 10-3 in their L13 games
- Radford is 5-1 ATS in their L6 games; Radford OVER is 8-2 in their L10 games
- UC Irvine UNDER is 4-1 in their L5 games
- Hofstra is 8-0 ATS in their L8 games
- North Texas is 10-3-1 ATS in their L14 games
- Wright State OVER is 9-3 in their L12 games
- Yale OVER is 9-1 in their L10 games
- St. Peter’s is 10-2 ATS in their L12 games
- Bowling Green is 3-10-2 ATS at home this season
- North Carolina A&T is 10-4 ATS in their L14 games
- Northern Iowa is 1-3 ATS in their L4 games
- Merrimack UNDER is 10-2 in their L12 games
- Belmont is 7-0 in their L7 games
- Colgate UNDER is 5-2 in their L7 games
- East Tennessee State OVER is 9-2 in their L11 games
- Stephen F. Austin UNDER is 7-4 in their L11 games
- Prairie View A&M UNDER is 7-4-1 in their L12 games
- South Dakota State is 11-3 ATS in their L14 games
- Little Rock OVER is 8-0 in their L8 games
- New Mexico State is 2-6 ATS in their L8 games