Plenty of programs, which entered the season with promise and hype, have fallen short of those expectations and basketball bettors have forgotten all about them. However, that’s only given these talented-but-troubled teams added value.
With conference play in full swing, these programs are ironing out the wrinkles and are starting to play to their potential. Here are six solid teams bettors may have forgotten about:
Florida State Seminoles (10-5 SU, 8-5 ATS)
The Noles were projected to finish fourth overall in the ACC but a loss to South Alabama in the season opener set the tone for a rough non-conference run, which featured a three-game losing streak in early December. Florida State is starting to come around, following a loss to Auburn with back-to-back wins over Clemson and Maryland – both on the road. The Seminoles, who host UNC this weekend, are 4-1 ATS in their last five outings.
Oklahoma Sooners (10-3 SU, 7-2 ATS)
Oklahoma has been a quiet cash cow to start the season, covering the spread in five straight lined games. The Sooners didn’t win any fans with a blowout loss to Gonzaga at the Old Spice Classic in November and have kept a low profile versus mid-major foes ever since. Lon Kruger is getting OU to buy into his defensive philosophies, allowing 61 points per game after giving up an average of 68.5 points last season.
Villanova Wildcats (11-4 SU, 8-3-1 ATS)
Villanova used to contend for the Big East title every year but the Wildcats have struggled to keep pace in college hoops’ deepest conference in recent seasons. Last year, Jay Wright’s kids finished 13-19 SU and 8-20-1 ATS. This season, Villanova appeared to be stuck in the same rut after going 1-4 in a five-game stretch during non-conference play. Since then, the Wildcats have won seven in a row with a 5-0 ATS run in that span.
Michigan State Spartans (13-3 SU, 5-8 ATS)
Michigan State is expected to compete for the national title every year, but the Spartans lost that respect with an opening-game loss to UConn. In such a strong year for the Big Ten, MSU has fallen by the wayside despite just three losses. After losing the conference opener to Minnesota, Sparty has taken back-to-back victories, covering in both outings. Michigan State has two more easy Big Ten battles before a tough stretch at the end of January.
Washington Huskies (10-5 SU, 7-6 ATS)
Even though the Huskies bid farewell to their top two players, experts expected them to stay afloat in the Pac-12. Washington appeared doomed after a shocking loss to Albany in November and couldn’t keep up with its tough non-conference competition. But things are settling down for Lorenzo Romar’s bunch, opening Pac-12 play with back-to-back road wins over Cal and Washington State as underdogs. The Huskies stop in Stanford this weekend.
Kentucky Wildcats (10-4 SU, 5-6 ATS)
No team has fallen farther off the radar than the defending national champs. Kentucky opened the season among the elite but losses to Duke, Notre Dame, Baylor and Louisville – along with some uninspired wins – find UK unranked opening SEC play. The fall has given the Wildcats major value, covering the spread in five of their last six lined games. Kentucky escaped with a win at Vanderbilt, thanks to blow shot clock call by the officials, Thursday.