College Basketball Betting: Micah Joe vs. KenPom’s Power Conferences
Now that we have the first month of data in the books, I would like to evaluate my model against Ken Pomeroy’s. My model only takes this current season into account and is more heavily weighted toward recent results, while KenPom’s model is based not only on the entire season’s data, but on data from prior years as well. For Ken Pomeroy’s rankings I will use “KP #7” as an example for where he has a team ranked and “KPD #74” or “KPO #65” for their offense and defense. All records discussed will be straight up, unless noted by ATS (against the spread). The conferences are listed in order of my ranking.
The Big Ten contains my #1 team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and finally after the huge blowout of Penn State, KenPom agrees. The biggest difference I have is Michigan State (KP #4) ranked 31st. Tom Izzo’s teams are usually way more dominant statistically, which my model is largely based on. The Spartan’s have burned money in 5 straight ATS losses despite being KPO #1 and are 2-6 ATS overall. I’ll continue to fade MSU giving too many points. Purdue is another ranking I disagree with. KP #6 in the nation? Not with that offense. The Boilers look like they still have a Carson Edwards hangover on most possessions.. Besides Haarms and Williams inside, there isn’t another player on Matt Painter’s roster that scares a defense. Looking for spots to fade Purdue against stout defenses is a good idea going forward.
Fran Frascilla is as knowledgeable about the Big 12 as you can get. He continues to say that this is a down year for the conference. Kansas State is downright awful on offense. With a proud KP #21 defensive rating, the offense is an embarrassing KP #196! They have zero offensive players that can even make you nervous. Combine that with a horrid 63% FT% and you have an overrated team (KP #85). At 3-5 ATS, the Wildcats have been a good fade, and should continue to be for knowledgeable bettors.
The Big East has some teams that have underperformed, led by Providence. While the Friars weren’t expected to win the conference, a 5-5 start and 3-7 ATS record was not anticipated. Their possession length has shortened by 1.8 seconds this year after giving the reins to UMass transfer Luwane Pipkins. Visually it appears that Providence is playing faster than their offensive talent will allow. Ed Cooley must get his team to cut back on the turnovers or they’ll keep on burning money for bettors.
I have the Pac-12 two spots ahead of KenPom in my conference rankings. Here’s where I am wrong to some extent. I won’t even reveal how I have Stanford ranked. First off, it’s not accurate. That being said, KP #53 is not quite precise. The Cardinal are 8-1 and 7-2 ATS. Freshman Tyler Terry is the primary reason the offense has improved 105 spots to KPO #82. Terry allows Daejon Davis to play off the ball on the wing rather having the pressure of controlling the ball. Minutes are up for Davis this year mostly because he is healthy but also due to his limited involvement. Terry is a treat to watch along with an experienced cast who know their roles.
While the SEC has some really good teams, not many have been mentioned this year among national championship contenders. In fact, I have Auburn ranked tenth but no one else in the top 20. Kentucky at KP #7 is a joke. Other than an opening day win over an overrated Michigan State team, the ‘Cats have won a string of underwhelming games statistically. The defense is at a steady KPD #8 (same as it ended last year) but the offense has dropped 12 spots to KPO #24. The glaring weakness is 3-point shooting which is 291st in the nation according to KenPom. Yuck. The team I really like in the SEC is LSU. The Tigers play way too fast sometimes (KP #49 in possession length) and it can catch up with them in high turnovers (KP #220). Yet, they have been very successful in their high risk-high reward approach, mostly due to a balanced lineup. This team plays hard and wide open. While mistakes will come, they will also be improved upon as the season rolls along. Will Wade is an unassuming gangster in the coaching ranks (55% ATS last four years).
One thing was sure in the ACC the last four years: Roy Williams would make you money as he was 55% ATS. For good reason, the Tar Heels starting the season 2-7 ATS was completely surprising. Sure they lost a lot of talent, but Williams has always seemed to mesh the team together in these situations. UNC’s KenPom page says it all for me. The bold black box around Cole Anthony’s name indicates that he is a ball hog. There’s no sugar-coating it. The problem is finding quality guards to share it with and there aren’t any. This team will continue to struggle with injuries and lack of offensive balance unless someone emerges in a hurry.
The AAC is next on the list. For the most part, I agree with KenPom’s ranking in this conference. One team I like is the experienced Temple Owls under new head coach Aaron McKie. New is a relative term here as McKie has been an integral part of the staff since 2013. This team is what Jon Rothstein calls “old.” Counting this season, the starting five has a combined 17 years of “Temple experience.”With a new coach always comes something new, and McKie has really focused on defense, moving up 60 spots from last year to KPD #25. Quinton Rose leads an experienced gluttony of guards that should thrive in the pressure of conference play.