Does tournament playing site favor any team. For instance the Metro Atlantic tournament will be played at the Times-Union Center in Albay – the home floor of the Albany Great Danes – and the Mountain West Conference will be played at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas – the home court of UNLV. Also keep in mind some tournaments play the first round on the home floor of teams with the bettor record and then shift to a neutral site.
How a team has performed on the road, or on neutral floors, during the regular season offers important insight into how it will perform at tournament time. For the record Auburn is 10-3 away from home, Duke is 10-4 while Kentucky is 5-7 and Vanderbilt 0-12.
Strength of schedule is a vital part of the winning equation. Here are the teams that have played the strongest schedules of all the 351 teams. In order, here are the teams that have played the toughest schedules in the country. Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Xavier, Texas A&M, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Temple. At the other end of the spectrum, in 51st place., is Alabama A&M.
Current form is extremely important. Two perfect examples of this are Oklahoma (16-11) and Utah (17-9). The Sooners opened the season 14-2 and earned a national ranking but in their last 10 games are 2-8 straight up (SU) and 1-9 against the spread (ATS). As for Utah, the Runnin’ Utes opened their season respectably but all at once seemed to wake up and stand 4-0 in their last four games and two contests back took Arizona to the money in Tucson before losing 74-73 to a Wildcat team that had to hit 64.4% of its field goals to win.
Check and then double-check the injury list to make certain there are no key players out with injuries. For instance, what is the status of Duke superstar forward Marvin Bagley (21.17 points, 11.42 rebounds per game) who has missed the team’s last three games with a knee injury? Will Notre Dame finally get back superstar forward Bonzie Colson (21.4 points, 10.4 rebounds per game) who has missed the last 14 games with a foot injury?
Coaches earn their keep at tournament time and it simply a matter of fact those that have won at tournament time year after year are strong candidates to keep right on doing so.
The spacing of games is extremely important. The winner of the Big East Tournament has to win four games in five days to get the automatic invite to the NCAA Tournament. Tiring, to say the least and teams with depth always have a slight edge. The team with the most overall quality depth is Wichita State which runs 11 players deep.
An underdog that pulls off a major upset is a strong candidate to lose its next game.
There are many elements to winning at tournament time but these eight basics should arm you for success this year.
Written by Mike Anthony for VegasTopDogs.