This season’s NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament tips off on March 15. From March 15 to the April 4 College Basketball National Championship, the 68 best teams in the nation will duke it out for the right to cut down the nets. The NCAA Tournament is three weeks of intense hoops action and possible profitable options. Check out the March Madness Betting trends that you should have on your radar for the upcoming tournament.
March Madness Trends Worth Considering | Men’s College Basketball Betting Analysis
2022 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament
- When: March 15 – April 4
Back teams with top tournament coaches
Great regular season coaches aren’t always terrific tournament coaches. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, as an example, rarely gets his team to peak during the tournament.
Also, as great as Coach K has been during his career, Duke hasn’t played in a Final Four since 2015 when they won it all.
This year, a couple of excellent 2021 Final Four coaches have teams with a real shot at winning the title. Mark Few’s Gonzaga Bulldogs are again loaded. The Zags have gone to the Final Four and reached the championship game twice since 2017.
The other coach is Baylor’s Scott Drew. Baylor would have been a Final Four team in 2020 if the pandemic hadn’t caused the tourney’s cancellation. Last season, Baylor beat the Zags for the title.
The final coach to consider, and this should surprise nobody, is John Calipari at Kentucky. Coach Cal has led Big Blue to 4 Final Four appearances since 2009. He might have the best team he’s ever had in Lexington.
Defense first teams rule
Teams that play lockdown defense, like the Baylor Bears, Arizona Wildcats, Houston Cougars, and Texas Tech Red Raiders, often cover in tournament games.
Arizona, especially, looks like a solid team to back to cover the spread. The Cats not only have a lockdown defense, but they’re also one of the highest-scoring teams in the nation.
Baylor has bumped their scoring average to close to 77 per game. The Bears can hang if you want to run. Or they can lockdown on defense, like when they beat Texas 68-61 on Feb. 28.
Back teams with top guards play
Speaking of Baylor and Arizona, teams with solid guards almost always go further in the NCAA Tournament than teams that rely on their frontcourts.
Baylor has a great three-guard set with James Akinjo, who actually played for Arizona in 2021, Adam Flagler and Kendall Brown.
Zona has a terrific backcourt led by player of the year candidate Benedict Mathurin. The Auburn Tigers, Wisconsin Badgers, and Kentucky Wildcats all have excellent guards.
Villanova’s Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore are fantastic. If Nova makes the Final Four, it will be because Gillespie and Moore have had a great tournament.
12-seeds over 5-seeds isn’t a myth
12-seeds beating 5-seeds isn’t a myth. In 2019, three 12-seeds upset 5-seeds: Liberty over Mississippi State, Murray State over Marquette, Oregon against Wisconsin.
Then last year, Oregon State defeated Tennessee. Since 1985, a total of 50 12-seeds have upset their 5-seed opponents.
Multiple 12-seed upsets have happened in 14 tournaments. Three 12-seeds beating 5-seeds has happened 5 times, including back-to-back in 2013 and 2014.
When in doubt during the first couple of rounds, take the points
Underdogs often play well in the first two rounds because favored teams have no idea about dogs. Teams from Power 5 Conferences get to know their rivals.
But when they face a team they have zero knowledge about, the favored squad becomes confused. The reason upsets don’t happen as often in the Sweet 16 is that by the time we’re down to the final 16 teams, favored squads have two games to study.
Coaches make adjustments in the Sweet 16, which is why favored teams often move from the Round-of-16 to the Elite Eight.
Don’t over handicap when picking your Final Four teams
In the 2016 Final Four, a single 1-seed, a couple of 2-seeds, and 10-seed Syracuse battled. 2017 saw 7-seed South Carolina, 3-seed Oregon, and a couple of 1 seeds, Gonzaga and North Carolina, make the Final Four.
Don’t over handicap when choosing either Final Four teams or the National Championship winner. In 2018, 1-seed Villanova, 1-seed Kansas, 3-seed Michigan, and 11-seed Loyola Chicago made the Final Four. In 2019, 3-Texas Tech, 2-Michigan State, 1-Virginia, and 5-Auburn played for the title.
Then last season, 2-Houston, 11-UCLA, and two 1-seeds, Baylor and Gonzaga played in the Final Four. So when picking your Final Four teams, choose no more than one team that’s a 3-seed or higher.
When choosing the National Championship, lean on picking a 1-seed. Villanova won the title in 2016 as a 2-seed. But North Carolina in 2017, Villanova in 2018, 2019 winner Virginia and Baylor last season were all 1-seeds.
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