5 Inexperienced NCAA Basketball Teams For Bettors To Watch The Stretch For
Towards the end of February, the college basketball betting market becomes quite efficient before the start of conference tournaments. However, some teams start peaking late in the regular season and still have market value.
Some of these teams will be less experienced teams that took a little longer to figure things out and maybe struggled at the start of the year.
For example, it’s no surprise that a team like Oregon has seemingly figured things out over the past month. It seems to happen every year under head coach Dana Altman, whose complex patterns take a while to figure out, especially with a group that ranked outside the top 300 in Minutes Continuity. by kenpom. Believe it or not, since the start of the new year, Oregon ranks 25th overall, per Bart Torvik.
Other power conference teams that have ranked outside the top 300 in minutes continuity, such as Pittsburgh and Missouri, seem to be getting more spirited lately. However, like the Ducks, these teams have experienced players who simply haven’t played together much in the past.
In this article, I want to focus on five non-power conference teams with far less experience that casual bettors may not be as familiar with: Dayton, Temple, Portland, New Mexico and Northern Arizona.
KenPom Experience Ranking: 358th
Continuity of minutes: 288th
Dayton’s KenPom ranking jumped from a low of No. 132 to No. 50 in the nation after recently winning a season sweep of Rhode Island on the road. Six of his seven minute leaders this year are freshmen, and the other is a sophomore. The lone junior in the rotation, Elijah Weaver, has missed four games recently while recovering from a wrist injury sustained in December.
The Flyers showed their youth at the start of the season with three bad straight losses – all at home – against UMass Lowell, Lipscomb and Austin Peay. However, they continued that streak by showing their potential with three straight wins over Miami (FL), Kansas and Belmont – a trio of teams we’ve seen in the NCAA Tournament.
While it has steadily climbed the analytical rankings since, Dayton has been flying even higher since the start of the new year. According to Bart Torvik, Anthony Grant’s side have been ranked 16th in all of Division I since January 1. The least experienced team in the country just keeps getting better.
KenPom Experience Ranking: 357th
Continuity of minutes: 196th
Let’s call an improving ex-A-10 member some of whom may not be as aware as Dayton. Five freshmen lead the Owls in minutes this year, and you can see the team’s progress since the schedule moved to 2022.
Not only did Temple have to deal with an extremely young body, but he also lost star goaltender Khalif Battle to a season-ending injury just seven games into the season. Additionally, the Owls had to endure an extended COVID-19 hiatus.
On top of all those hurdles, head coach Aaron McKie has seen three members of his rotation run out of time due to injuries over the past few weeks. Guards Damian Dunn and Jeremiah Williams haven’t played in each of the past two outings, while center Jake Forrester has only played once in the new year.
Still, Temple has still exceeded expectations in 2022. Coming off a home loss to Houston in early January, the Owls have won six of seven games with their only road loss at SMU.
The team’s only bad loss since then came in South Florida, where the Owls lost a late lead after the two aforementioned guards were injured. They still nearly got a road win with a shorthanded roster in the next game, but Tulane hit a blow at the buzzer to force overtime — where the green wave ultimately prevailed.
The attack still has flaws, especially in the half-pitch due to poor spacing and lack of shooting. However, young owls thrive in transition, come to the line with high frequency, and can fight on the offensive glass.
Additionally, Temple hasn’t had the same issues on the defensive end, where he’s thrived in the half court all season. Owls have been great at guarding both the edge and the perimeter. For the season, they rank 18th nationally in Effective FG% (eFG%) largely due to their superb length and versatility.
Keep your eyes out for the owls on the stretch once they collect everyone in their lineup.
KenPom Experience Ranking: 351st
Continuity of minutes: 346th
I’m not surprised to see the drivers evolve lately under Legans head coach Shantay, who I’m a big fan of. For those unfamiliar, he held the same position at Eastern Washington for the previous four seasons.
Portland is one of the least experienced teams in the country with a rotation of all freshmen and sophomores. After starting the season at No. 329 on KenPom, the drivers have since climbed to No. 204. They also rank 121st overall since mid-January, according to Bart Torvik.
Legans are still tweaking some things with basically a whole new roster full of subclasses with a strong international flavor. However, the drivers have started to show more potential recently, including a huge road upset in San Francisco as 18-point underdogs.
The Pilots could offer some long-term value and will definitely be a team to watch next season – especially if the group sticks together.
KenPom Experience Ranking: 282nd
Continuity of minutes: 335th
The Lobos had to deal with a lot of changes to start the season. Not only did they have a new head coach in town with Richard Pitino, but they also had a new cast of characters after a disastrous season that nearly resulted in the team being dropped during the season. As if that wasn’t enough to handle, Pitino also lost a number of his frontline contributors to injury throughout the season. Turbulent times were to be expected.
That said, the Lobos still have one of the best backcourts in the conference with Minnesota transfer Jamal Mashburn Jr. and Arizona State transfer Jalen House. And over time, with adjustments made after some personnel losses, the Lobos are finally playing their best basketball of the season.
After sitting at No. 281 on KenPom at the start of the season, New Mexico now sits at a season-high 138th after an upset win over scorching Wyoming. The Lobos are just 4-5 since losing to UNLV on Jan. 11, but we have really saw only one poor performance – in a beating at San Diego State. The team’s other four losses have all been relatively close, and New Mexico is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games against Division I foes.
The Lobos are still really struggling against the glass on both sides and have holes in their defensive half, but their explosive backyard gives them a chance to punch through any night against any Mountain West team.
KenPom Experience Ranking: 337th
Continuity of minutes: 168th
The Lumberjacks had a bit more continuity heading into the season compared to the other four teams on this list. However, they still rank in the bottom 25 by experience, according to KenPom. It was still a relatively young roster that added highly touted second-year transfer Jalen Cone from Virginia Tech.
The results haven’t been good enough overall, but the Lumberjacks could end up being the ATS darlings to close out the season.
Northern Arizona seems to have found something in February. After earning a road win over lowly Sacramento State, the Lumberjacks lost just three at home to Northern Colorado in a game they led by double digits in the second half.
They showed even more progress in their recent Montana road swing by ending the Grizzlies’ 15-game home win streak and then losing by just a bucket to a burning state team. of Montana who won 11 straight games.
It’s still a bad basketball team that I’ve rated in power outside of the top 300, but it may present some potential underdog opportunities worth backing out.
Honorable mention: Florida Atlantic Owls