College Basketball Betting: Stephen F. Austin vs. West Virginia

College Basketball Betting:  Stephen F. Austin vs. West Virginia

What does it mean when a high profile team from a high profile conference is just a single digit favorite over a small school that few people have heard of (at least among casual sports fans) and never plays on television? It means one of two things: you’ve got a highly overrated ‘ersatz wise guy darling’ as an underdog or you’ve got a team that is much better than public perception would suggest.

Stephen F. Austin is certainly the latter. They’ve dominated the Southland Conference over the past few seasons including this year when they eviscerated the opponents on their conference schedule to the tune of 18-0 SU. They do a lot of the same things that West Virginia does to the point that many of their statistical numbers are strangely similar. They have nearly identical points per game and steals, for example.

The Lumberjacks are more disciplined and take care of the ball much better than does West Virginia (SFA = +7 assist to turnover ratio). West Virginia has decent ATS numbers this season but that doesn’t really do us much good when we’re trying to get a comparison to a team that has only played five board games this season. We love betting on underrated coaches getting points–especially defensive minded underrated coaches–and we’ve got just that with SFA’s Brad Underwood. Not sure what Underwood’s long term career plans are but you very well might see him at a much more high profile school sooner rather than later. When your team has lost only one conference game in the past three seasons people take notice.

West Virginia certainly has the better, more physically imposing athletes but in a matchup like this involving teams that play a similar style we like the one that doesn’t buy into their own press clippings. No disrespect for Bob Huggins, but we’re not sure that he can impart to his athletes that the team with a funny name from a conference they’ve never heard of is no joke. Maybe they should ask Virginia Commonwealth–SFA dispatched them from the tournament in the first round just a few years ago.