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College Basketball Betting: Five Freshmen Making a Major Impact


Let’s take a look at five freshmen who are making a positive impact on their team’s power rating and ATS results.

Johni Broome, F, Morehead State 

Broome is making Morehead fans forget all about Tyzhaun Claude, an up-and-coming center in his own right and the presumed starter in the middle for the Eagles in the preseason. Claude’s early injury issues have opened the door for the 6’10” Broome who currently leads the Eagles in scoring (11.0 PPG), rebounding (7.9 RPG), and blocks (1.5 BPG). Broome burst onto the scene with a respectable 11-point, 5-rebound effort against Kentucky off the pine and has started every game since. His Morehead State Eagles are currently 4-2 against the number and rising quickly in power rankings. 

Marcus Williams, G, Wyoming 

NBA scouts are buzzing about Wyoming’s freshman point guard, a 3-star recruit out of Texas who has led his Cowboys to a sterling 6-1 SU record. Williams is a nightly threat to put up 30+ points on unsuspecting opponents and gives the Pokes something they’ve lacked for a long time: competent ball handling. Fellow guard Hunter Maldonado has been able to slide off the ball thanks to Williams’s arrival, opening the floor for what has so far been a potent Wyoming offense. Williams boasts an impressive 28.6% assist rate with a minuscule 15.8% turnover rate while leading the Cowboys in scoring (17.9 PPG). Defensively, Williams is also making waves, leading Wyoming with a stellar 1.6 SPG. Jeff Linder is a hell of program builder, and his job in Laramie has been made that much easier with the emergence of Marcus Williams. 

Evan Mobley, F, USC 

I know, I know, it’s not shocking that a consensus top three recruit is playing well so far this season. But the degree to which future NBA Lottery pick Evan Mobley is currently dominating might be flying a bit under the radar. Mobley has been every inch better than advertised, sporting a ridiculous 126.6 offensive rating on a very high 23.2% usage. USC is currently 3-2 ATS, which may not sound that great, but truthfully, I expected the Trojans to come out extremely overrated this season. Mobley is the main reason Andy Enfield has looked someone competent in the early going – he leads USC in scoring (17.6 PPG) and blocks (3.0 BPG) and ranks second on the squad to his brother Isaiah in rebounding (9.0 RPG). Oh yeah, he’s also shooting 44.4% from deep – the man can do no wrong. 

Sam Mennenga, F, Davidson 

New Zealand native Sam Mennenga has quietly helped lift Davidson to a solid start and a near upset of the Texas juggernaut. Mennenga poured in 17 points to go along with 5 rebounds against the Longhorns and nearly hit a buzzer beater to send the eventual “Maui” champs to the loser’s bracket. While fellow frontcourt starter Luka Brajkovic may get more press, it’s Mennenga that’s helped bolster the Davidson interior and glass attack. Of course, like every other Wildcat, Mennenga can also space the floor making Bob McKillop’s always-electric attack that more dangerous. Watch for Davidson to compete in the upper half of the A-10 this season and make a run for a top three finish. 

Adrian Baldwin, G, VCU 

“Ace” averages just 5.3 PPG but rest assured he’s had a gigantic impact on one of the best teams against the number this season. VCU is currently 7-1 ATS thanks in large part to Baldwin’s ability to take over the point guard position, allowing high-scoring teammate Bones Hyland to slide off the rock and attack from the wing offensively. Baldwin paces the Rams with 5.1 APG and 1.9 SPG, and in true VCU guard fashion he’s lightningquick and an absolute menace defensively. To boot, Baldwin currently sits at 4-of-10, 40% from downtown, proving his ability to make shots when called upon.  

Follow BettorIQ contributor and Three Man Weave member Ky McKeon @Ky_3MW.