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Long Shots To Win 2010 NCAA Basketball Championship

Steve Merril’s NCAA Tournament Value Plays

Steve Merril

Steve Merril

Kansas is the best team in the nation, but there is not much value at 2/1 to win the NCAA Championship. Below are 3 long-shots that could make some noise next month.

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West Virginia

Opened 15/1
Current 30/1

There is excellent value with West Virginia at 30/1 as their odds have doubled since the start of the season, due mainly to their recent two-game losing streak last week. Keep in mind the Mountaineers were 19-3 SU before that recent slide and the two losses came against a #3 ranked Villanova and then a triple-overtime loss at Pittsburgh. West Virginia’s other three setbacks this season came against Top 10 ranked Purdue and Syracuse and a narrow 2-point road loss at Notre Dame. West Virginia has faced the toughest schedule in the nation and has non-conference wins over Texas A&M, Mississippi, and Ohio State, along with conference wins over Marquette, Pittsburgh, and Louisville.

The Mountaineers are an extremely talented and athletic squad that is capable of defeating any team in the nation. They also rank #3 in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency.

Baylor

Opened 30/1
Current 65/1

The Baylor Bears opened the season at just 30/1 to win the national title and despite a solid 20-5 SU record the Bears now stand at 65/1. There odds have doubled and this now presents a solid value play on Baylor.

The Bears compete in one of the toughest and deepest conferences in the nation and Baylor has shown the ability to hang tight with the best in the Big Twelve conference. Baylor is only 7-4 SU in conference play, but those four losses have all been by 7 points or less, including a narrow 2-point loss versus Kansas State and only a 6-point loss at #1 ranked Kansas. Baylor’s only other loss of the season was a 3-point loss versus Alabama in November. Baylor has an impressive road win at Texas, a home win versus Missouri, and a neutral court win over Xavier. Baylor is strong at both ends of the court, outshooting their opponents 49% to 37% from the field this season.

California

Opened 80/1
Current 65/1

There is solid value with California at 65/1 as they are best team in the Pac 10 this season. While the conference is definitely down a notch this year, this is still one of the more athletic leagues in the country and Pac 10 teams have historically performed well in the Big Dance.

California remains a bit underrated because they played six games this season without forward Theo Robertson and five games without guard Jorge Gutierrez. California is just 17-8 SU, but the majority of those losses occurred this year when either Robertson or Gutierrez was out of the lineup. Both are excellent shooters, hitting over 43% apiece from three-point range. Gutierrez is second on the team in assists (56), while Robertson is third on the team in scoring (13.7 ppg).

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Comments

Comments

  1. Out of these three I like West Virginia’s chances the best. I am impressed with what Baylor has done this season, but the Mountaineers have the talent to go toe to toe with anyone in the country.

  2. Matt Martz says:

    I like these two picks. If WVU can beat UConn on the road tonight that is a step in the right direction.

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