Finding Upsets in Major Conference Tourneys

Last week I talked about keys for finding upsets in mid-major tournaments. We saw more than a few upsets and near misses in those appetizers. Now, it's time to talk about how to find upsets in the major conference tournaments that will be running this week.

Because last week's fundamentals will also apply here, please allow the undisputed KING OF UPSETS to quickly list those:

  • Beware of highly regarded teams with soft defenses
  • Beware of highly regarded teams who rely too much on the three-pointer
  • Look for underdogs who play excellent defense
  • Look for underdogs who are peaking late in the season.

You longtime readers know that the basic keys to finding upsets involve isolating vulnerable favorites when matched up against well-positioned and talented underdogs. Those four factors will surely come into play over the next several days. And, I firmly believe that the nature of tournament basketball MAGNIFIES the impact!

  • Soft defenses get even softer when they have to play on back-to-back days
  • It's difficult to stay hot on treys over a string of consecutive days
  • Strong defenses are less likely to have ups and downs
  • Late-peaking dogs have the mental fire and enthusiasm it takes to deal with fatigue

The world changes a little as we transition from a focus on mid-majors to majors...but it doesn't change so much that those elements don't matter any more.

Also worthy of your consideration...

Bubble teams are upset fodder!
In early round action, the mainstream media doesn't have much to focus on because there aren't many compelling matchups. The powerhouses are big favorites. Games not involving powerhouses don't provide much to get excited about. As a result, the studio shows start hyping "bubble" teams who "desperately need to win" if they want to earn or secure a bid to the Big Dance. The public listens...bets "need"...and drives the pointspread up higher than it should be.

And, THEN, the team chokes anyway! Look, if you're still a bubble team at the end of the regular season, then you can't be trusted to play well on command to begin with. There's something wrong that's prevented you from locking into a top 40 position nationally. The combination of nerves and those weaknesses leads to teams falling apart when they most need to rise up. See if you can find overpriced bubble teams to fade in midweek action. (Hint: they won't be hard to spot!)

Last year's tourney winners lack motivation
It's already hard enough to get a Dance-bound team fired up for their conference tournament. They're thinking about next week and the beginning of the most exciting event in sports. Any Dance-bound team that also won the conference tournament LAST year has it even worse. They already climbed this mountain. There's nothing new to prove. Heck, do YOU even remember who won last year's major conference tournaments? Who would be super-motivated to win twice in a row when the world revolves around the Big Dance? This has always been a great sleeper indicator for me. Go back and research last year's tournaments to see who may be flat-footed this week.

Just like Real Estate, it's about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
Some teams are really well-suited to certain environments. This usually involves how easy it is to travel to a site for fans. But, it can also be something as simple as energetic teams responding to the energy of a locale (like some Pac 12 teams must feel in Las Vegas), or the LACK of energy in an area that's far away from home. Not everybody from the ACC likes playing in Greensboro. You know the Texas teams aren't fond of Kansas City in the Big 12. Look for spots where live underdogs are well suited to the locale or energy of a site, particularly when they're matched up against favorites who aren't. Tournament games are technically "neutral." Sharp-eyed handicappers should be able to poke some holes in that.

The buzz is already building for MARCH MADNESS here in Las Vegas. It won't be as wild and crazy this week as it will next week for the Dance. But, many basketball lovers believe THIS WEEK is BETTER because there are more games and a ton of rivalry renewals.

WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is certainly excited about what's coming up the next few days. You can purchase my daily MARCH MADNESS BASKETBALL BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my long term programs best suits your individual needs, please talk to my representative in the office at 1-877-ROOT-WINS. Be sure you take care of business early in the day because of all the afternoon tips (which start in the morning Vegas time!)

More tourney talk is on tap later this week. Then, a week from right now, I'll discuss how to find upsets in the Round of 64 in the NCAA tournament. Cinderella is choosing her outfit...can YOU find a few glass slippers?

This week and next, those studio pundits are going to be scratching their heads about all the upsets. We'll see most of them coming...because we know what to look for. That's why it's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!

By Wayne Root


Today’s Hot Plays