Root for ?Team? Basketball



I've been hearing a lot of pundits lately decrying the high level of "selfish" play in college basketball. They say things like:

  • Today's star players are treated as stars from the time they're in elementary school, so all they know how to do is shoot.
  • Today's star players don't want to pass the ball even if their head coach is insisting on it. If they pass the ball, somebody else gets to be the hero.
  • Today's star players don't feel bad about losing as long as they get their numbers.
  • Today's star players don't care much about defense, except for blocking shots. They don't guard as aggressively as they should. They certainly don't offer help when a teammate is beaten.
  • Today's star players treat the college game as a brief stopping point on the way to the NBA. It's already a business to them...and that business is about showcasing themselves rather than winning games.

Hey, welcome to five years ago!

This isn't anything new. Maybe the sheer VOLUME of selfish players is relatively new. Maybe we reached a threshold where this is almost all you see outside of the very best teams (and even on some of the very best teams like Kentucky this year). Maybe it took Butler reaching the Final Four...and the Final Two before the mainstream media noticed it (where they lost to Duke, a team who emphasizes the team game with great success under Coach K.).

One of the keys to my success at picking upsets over the years in college hoops is recognizing when a "team" is getting points from a favored but selfish collection of individuals. I'll take a hustling dog who works for a good shot on offense and defends the basket with a passion on defense any day over a favorite who watches their stars force up bad shots all day.

Here are the keys I look for when separating real teams from overrated starpower:

  • Overall team defense. You can see this with your own eyes when watching games (watch Texas for 20 minutes and you'll understand what I mean). If you're into stats, you can look at points allowed per possession, and points allowed in the paint.
  • Assisted basket rate on offense. Selfish teams don't get many assists! The star player tries to get himself a shot. Somebody who rebounds a miss may score. But, they don't grant assists for missed shots! Selfish teams have lower than normal assist rates. Smart TEAMS have higher than normal assist rates because they work the ball around until somebody gets a good look.
  • ATS performance as favorites. I've noticed that selfish teams often do well in pre-conference action against the number because cupcake opponents can't guard physically gifted stars. But, their ATS performance as favorites drops noticeably in league play once motivated opponents are on the floor. If you see a team who's struggling in their conference to cover favorite spreads, it's likely a selfish team.
  • Experience. The longer you play at the college level, the more your focus is on the team rather than the NBA. The one-and-done guys don't learn team basketball. Junior and Senior starters have a deeper understanding of what wins and loses, and much more of a personal stake in those wins and losses.

My dream underdog in the colleges is a group of veterans that works for good shots on offense while hustling hard on defense. Give me that team with the points! Give me that team with the points against a selfish favorite, and we're talking PERFECT PLAY or GAME OF THE YEAR potential with an outright upset call.

I will be releasing a play of that caliber Thursday in the colleges, and possibly more than one this coming weekend! You can purchase them individually here at the website on game days with your credit card. Log in a few hours before the first games get started. Full season packages are also available. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-877-766-8946. I'm sure we'll be able to find a package that suits your individual needs.

I may be a star in the handicapping industry...I'm the ONLY man in the industry with a star on the Vegas "Walk of Fame." But, I don't hog all the winners! I'll be happy to throw you some BIG MONEY GAMES so you can make the score. I get the assist, you get the money! Take the floor TONIGHT with WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!


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