More college hoops powers fated for a February fall?
College basketball bettors have already seen plenty of top programs hit the wall in February. Ranked teams like Ohio State, Arizona and Creighton have suffered numerous losses this month, as the long schedule wears on and the pressure of making the postseason builds.
There are a few more programs whose wheels have wobbled in recent games. Could they be the next big names to flop in February? We take a look at four programs bettors should be wary of down the stretch.
San Diego State Aztecs (18-7 SU, 11-8-1 ATS)
The Aztecs were the class of the Mountain West for most of the season but back-to-back road losses and a tough upcoming calendar could send SDSU into a tailspin at the worst possible time. San Diego State faces a tough Wyoming squad Tuesday, following losses to Colorado State and UNLV.
The Aztecs haven’t been able to get the job done in close contests, going 3-5 SU in games decided by three points or less in the final minute of regulation. San Diego State has a few more nail-bitters on deck, with New Mexico, Air Force and Boise State still to come.
Butler Bulldogs (21-5 SU, 14-9-1 ATS)
Butler had the element of surprise early on in its first stretch of A-10 games since moving over from the Horizon League. But, it looks like teams have more and more tape on Brad Stevens’ squad and the Bulldogs have lost a bit of their luster.
Butler lost SU and ATS to Charlotte last week before stealing a squeaker at Fordham. They’ve failed to cover the spread in three straight games and are 1-1-4 ATS in their past six conference games. The going gets much tougher for Butler down the stretch, with A-10 powers VCU, St. Louis, UMass and Xavier all on deck.
Syracuse Orange (21-4 SU, 13-8 ATS)
Here comes the hate. Cuse fans will jump all over this like Jim Boeheim on Andy Katz, but that defense mechanism is merely masking a worried fan base that watched its team lose straight up as road favorite at Connecticut last week. The Orange are just 3-3 SU and ATS in their last six and run the gauntlet in the final weeks of the regular season.
Adding to those worries is just how good rival Georgetown is playing this month. The two classic foes collide at the Carrier Dome this weekend in a battle for the conference’s top spot. Cuse then plays at Marquette and hosts Louisville in a stretch that should unclog the logjam atop the Big East.
Michigan Wolverines (22-4 SU, 12-11-1 ATS)
The Wolverines' offense seems to be running out of gas as the Big Ten battles pile up. Michigan found its touch in a win over Penn State but not before two poor offensive showings cost it some spots in the standings. Hopefully John Beilein can keep his club at that tempo.
The Wolverines have some tough games to wrap up conference play. Michigan has the week off to prepare for upset-hungry Illinois Sunday and has rematches with Michigan State and Indiana before the end of the calendar. Around those games are potential letdown and lookahead spots at Penn State and Purdue.