Ranked college hoops teams flopping against the spread

Feb 6, 2013 |
Ranked college hoops teams flopping against the spread
Florida is the latest ranked team to fall after losing to Arkansas Tuesday.
Florida is the latest ranked team to fall after losing to Arkansas Tuesday.
Update: Ranked teams went 2-3 SU and ATS Thursday night, including Indiana's upset loss to Illinois, making current Top 25 programs 122-111-8 ATS (50.6 percent) in conference play heading into Saturday.

The Florida Gators are the latest top-ranked college basketball program to fall from grace, in what seems to be a cursed year for Top-25 teams.

Florida jumped to No. 2 in the polls and even received some first-place votes this week, only to lose to Arkansas, 80-69, as an 11.5-point road favorite Tuesday.

The Gators were one of the best bets in the country, posting a perfect 7-0 SU and ATS start in SEC play before going 0-2 against the spread in their last two conference contests.

Florida isn’t alone. The other four programs making up this week’s top 5 – Indiana, Michigan, Duke and Kansas – have all come up short against the spread in conference play.

The top-5 teams have a combined 27-7 SU mark in conference play but are just 22-21-1 ATS in those games. And, in each of their previous two outings heading into Wednesday, those five teams are just 3-7 ATS with the Hoosiers posting a 2-0 ATS record in that span.

In fact, programs ranked in the Top 25 this week are just 115-101-8 ATS in conference play (51.3 percent success rate) and have combined to go 20-30 ATS in each of their past two contests heading into Wednesday.

Much of that stems from inflated spreads and public opinion, unjustly piling the points on the ranked teams’ nightly odds. On top of that, college basketball has entered a peak of parity in which the talent gap has closed significantly over the past few seasons. There are only two Top-25 teams with undefeated conference records – Gonzaga (8-0) and Miami (9-0).

Here’s a quick look at how the currently ranked teams have done during conference play and in their last two games:

Teams ranked No. 6 through No. 10 – Gonzaga, Arizona, Michigan State, Syracuse and Ohio State – are a combined 36-9 SU in conference competition but only 21-21-3 ATS versus league foes. Those teams are also 5-5 ATS in each of their past two games.

No. 11 to No. 15 – Miami, Louisville, Creighton, Butler, and Kansas State – are 36-9 SU and 26-17-2 ATS in conference games, going a combined 4-6 ATS in each of their past two outings. The Hurricanes, however, puff up those stats with a 7-2 ATS record in ACC play so far.

Teams ranked No. 16 to No. 20 - New Mexico, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Oregon and Missouri – are a combined 29-13 SU and 21-20-1 ATS in conference play with a 3-7 ATS record in each of their last two games.

No. 21 to No. 25 – Georgetown, Wichita State, Mississippi, Oklahoma State, and Pittsburgh – have gone a combined 32-16 SU and 25-22-1 ATS in league play with a 5-5 ATS mark in each of their last two conference clashes.

And, just to cover the bases, San Diego State, which tied for No. 25 with Pitt in the Coaches Poll, is 4-3 SU and 3-4 ATS in MWC play - posting a 1-1 ATS record in its last two outings.

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