I recently wrote about college basketball rematches and how to handicap them. There are some good indicators that you can find from the first meeting to apply to the second one. I wanted to run through a few examples today that may or may not be worthy of a bet, but will be things you want to look for as conference play rolls along.
Wake Forest vs. Syracuse (-1.5, 152.5) - Wake won the first game 77-74 in OT, but there were some interesting developments. Wake was 11-of-37 from 3, accounting for the most 3-point attempts in a game this season against that zone defense. As a team that ranks third in the nation in 2-point percentage, that is a big deal. Syracuse was also just 19-of-46 on 2s, perhaps a reason why the line has swung on the Orange.
Rutgers (-2, 138.5) vs. Nebraska - Rutgers had a season-high 1.335 points per possession in the 93-65 blowout win over Nebraska on Jan. 8. Nebraska only had 65 points in the game that was played to 70 possessions, but was 20-of-35 on 2s. The Cornhuskers are 100th in the nation in 2-point percentage against Division I opponents. Rutgers is 293rd. I would not expect a repeat offensive performance from the Scarlet Knights here and like the under.
Utah vs. Washington (-1, 138) - This is a game I highlighted in the link above and I believe it is one of the better examples of rematch angles. Utah had 19 TO in the first game and still only lost by six. The Utes were dominant on the glass, which often happens against zone teams. They were a double-digit favorite in that game and are now an underdog. I like the Utes today.
South Alabama (-2, 135.5) vs. Troy - South Alabama was -6.5 on Thursday and won 82-63 over Troy. Now the teams play again and the line has basically only accounted for the difference in home-court advantage. In looking at the two teams and what happened in the first game, it’s hard to see anything different taking place. South Alabama is 38th in TO percentage on defense. The Jaguars are a more efficient offensive team. Troy is 328th in the nation in TO percentage.
Books won’t overreact to one game, nor should they, but it was not a coincidence that South Alabama won big from what I can see.
I find BartTorvik.com to be the best place for easy-to-consume college basketball stats and metrics and that’s especially true when it comes to these rematch games.