The cancellation of last season’s NCAA tournament due to COVID-19 was a major blow to everyone involved in college basketball, not the least being the bettors and sportsbooks who do their parts in making each March memorable. If a silver lining exists, it could be that the circumstances surrounding the lockdowns led many college programs to stay the course in regard to coaching changes. Only 21 have occurred since the end of the season. That is less than half the number handicappers usually deal with annually.
Let’s face it: Bettors will face a lot of other unusual factors, some unforeseen at this point, in getting ready to wager on the coming season. Having fewer new coaches to consider lessens that burden. In college football this year, 24 coaching changes were made at the FBS level out of 130 teams. In college basketball, the 21 only happened among 357 teams. Furthermore, five of the 21 changes involve an assistant from that program stepping into the top spot, meaning only 16 teams figure to undergo complete transitions. You get the picture?
Regardless of the low quantity, a coaching change always makes a huge difference in a team’s prospectus and thus must be considered near the top of the list of important factors in handicapping. Let’s look at each change and try to get a feel for how it might affect that team’s won-lost record as well as its style of play.