How to spot an NCAA Tournament winner
There are 68 teams that will be competing in the NCAA Tournament. With so many different styles of play, strengths, weaknesses and regular season records, how does a college basketball bettor separate the good from the better and the best?
There are many ways, but virtually all champions have a few specific things in common that can help them succeed in a way that only one team can every year. To help handicappers wanting to bet on the NCAA Tournament, we have assembled a list of few qualities that help define the team that cuts down the nets at the end of March.
First, a championship contender will almost always have a battle-hardened coach at the helm. That doesn’t mean that he has to have been there before, or have a astonishing winning record or multiple championships under his belt — although all of that helps — but just means his teams are consistently prepared and focused and he is a great motivator.
Second, a team must have depth to survive the brutal tournament schedule and deal with unexpected injuries to key impact players. If a team does not have a lot of depth, it will not last the duration.
Next, a team must have that one key player with mad skills at any position, whether it is a player who drains a ton of points or is an exceptional rebounder or swing man.
Of course, keeping that key player healthy, as well as the rest of the team is vital. Teams cannot have players nursing nagging injuries coming in. If a team is not near 100 percent healthy, it is going to be in real trouble.
Nevertheless, even a fit team will still have to play good, and must be a team that can win at least four of the six games it must play, even the ones against the best teams. A team must be confident and should have shown during the regular season they can compete with the best teams, even if they lost.
That usually means a championship contender is a team that exhibits a ton of resilience, like bouncing back well from a bad loss, dealing with injuries or negative media attention. It could also be seen in a team that has taken a chance, and prepared well with a strong regular season schedule.
Again, it is not necessarily the amount of games they have won against those strong teams, as much as it is the number of games they stayed in it until the end.
That should demonstrate a team’s consistency, and ability to win the tournament with six straight games, which is no easy task, and a college basketball team must be able to do what needs to be done, including the little things, like shooting consistent free throws and winning the battles on the boards.
Finally, just like a NCAA Tournament championship contender, college basketball handicappers need to remember that good enough just isn’t good enough here. They need to look hard and long, making their selections with confidence.