Start Prepping for the NCAA Basketball Tournament Now

The Baylor Bears celebrate with the National Championship trophy after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70. Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP

As this article was released, we are under four weeks until the NCAA Tournament bids are being released. Now is a good time to start doing some necessary preparation work to help yourself when all the seeds are released.

Grab The Most Recent Standings To Help Build a Foundation

Before the third Saturday of February, find the website of your choice that has all the college basketball standings and copy the latest current standings of every conference. Here is the benefit of doing this.

When all seeds come out for the four regions on Selection Sunday, you can start putting together a game plan. In particular, you can easily see who has played better and likely improved in the last month of the season.

On Sunday night or Monday, compare the current standings versus the one you originally copied and start determining what a team’s record has been in that period. If a team was 18-4 on the third Wednesday of February and they ended up 22-8, that means they were only 4-4 in their prior eight contests.

READ MORE: How Do I Know Which NCAA Basketball Games to Target?

That might be a warning sign this club has peaked and if they are possibly seeded anywhere from 3rd to 5th, that could be a signal they are upset material or at the very least not an ideal favorite to cover the spread against the betting odds at

The same could hold true for a squad that was 12-11 and ended the regular season 21-12. By comparing the standings, this outfit closed 9-1 and went from 8th in their conference to 3rd place and won their conference tournament. If this team is seeded No. 8 to 11 and is an underdog, they could have value against the sportsbooks.

When Figuring Records, Add This Element

In the last paragraph, we mentioned the movement standings in the conference and that could be important also. If a team has risen or fallen dramatically in the standings, that will affect who they will play in their conference tourney, specifically, their peers.

This writer believes and has seen the value of understanding what it means to move up in the standings, especially those from the major conferences.

READ MORE: Why NCAA Basketball Conference Play Changes Betting Dynamics

In order to win in stronger leagues, your talent, skill and execution have to be better than your competition and if this happens in the final stretches of the regular season, that suggests this club is on the rise and probably has gotten better down the stretch.

This can be important information in the first three rounds of the tournament in March Madness when matched against other basically, similar competition.

The final piece to completing this exercise is knowing where each team that made the field of 68 finished in their conference tournament. Why does this matter? Here are various examples.

As was mentioned, if a squad was only 4-3 after a hot start and loses in the first game of their conference tourney, that’s a red flag alert. Does that mean they are a certainty to play poorly in their first NCAA tournament game? No. Nothing is absolute, however, history has shown that is most very likely the case and this team is in trouble, particularly, if matched versus a hot opponent.

READ MORE: A Beginner’s Guide to Conference Play Betting

Another example to watch for is, did a team have a 6-1 or 7-1 record and lose in their first contest in their conference event, play against material for college basketball picks? The quick answer is most likely not. What you want to do here is examine the box score and understand how they lost. 

If they shot well below average or committed a rash of turnovers they normally don’t, it could have been – one of those days – and can be overlooked. Still, smart handicappers will check that opening game box score and want to know if that one contest was an aberration or further cause for concern in the next round.

Last But Not Least

Finally, did the regular-season champion complete the deal and win their tournament or did someone win four games in four days to steal the crown?

Those that win both aspects of their conference are generally solid wagers the first round and solid 2nd round plays. Those that did the seemingly impossible, for the most part, found the magic over a short span and that euphoria is gone by the next matchup in a different venue or is extinguished the following outing.

READ MORE: Back Testing Sports Picks Increases Profits

It takes no time to copy and paste the standings and if you put in the rest of the work, you could see it pay off annually.

And remember to check back for more betting strategy at the OddsTrader blog. Happy betting! is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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