College Basketball Mid-Major Betting Report: Breaking Down San Diego State, Missouri State & Ohio

College Basketball Mid-Major Betting Report: Breaking Down San Diego State, Missouri State & Ohio article feature image

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Chad Baker-Mazara (San Diego State)

As college basketball begins to heat up, it’s time to start digging into the little guys.

Everyone knows the blue bloods and top-25 programs competing for a title, but what about the mid-majors primed to make an unlikely run?

In this edition of the Mid-Major Report, let’s dig into three more teams potentially flying under the radar.

San Diego State Aztecs

Current Overall Record12-5
KenPom Ranking32
Current ESPN Bracketology Seed11 (Last Four In)

Brian Dutcher’s defense is one of the most impressive things in college hoops.

SDSU has now finished top-20 in defensive efficiency for three straight seasons. And there's been a decent amount of roster turnover since that 2019 season.

The defensive scheme is aggressive and will contest everything. But the biggest strength of Dutcher’s scheme is the ability to dictate the opponents' shots.

SDSU ranks top-50 nationally in field goal attempts allowed at the rim and top-150 nationally in opponent 3-point rate. That leaves one option for opponents: mid-range, 2-point jumpers.

Moreover, SDSU forces the third-longest opponent average possession length nationally. The Aztecs don’t just force you to take inefficient shots, but they also force you into long, grueling offensive sets.

This season, SDSU is second in defensive efficiency and second in defensive eFG% (42.3%).

Unfortunately, Dutcher doesn’t have a Malachi Flynn or Kawhi Leonard to bail him out on offense this year. The Aztecs have been brutal offensively, ranking sub-200 in offensive efficiency and sub-260 in eFG% (47.7%).

A lot of the offense rides on the ability of guard Matt Bradley to contribute. He’s flashed some incredible offensive ability, scoring 27 against UNLV and 26 against Colorado State — both wins. However, he’s inconsistent and has posted just a 102.4 ORtg on the season.

SDSU has owned the Mountain West in recent seasons, but the conference is tougher than ever. The Aztecs currently sit at 4-2 in conference play while Boise State is 8-0, Wyoming is 6-1 and Colorado State is 6-3.

It’s a long road ahead for the Aztecs, no matter how good the defense is.

Missouri State Bears

Current Overall Record17-7
KenPom Ranking51
Current ESPN Bracketology SeedN/A

If you aren’t watching Isiaih Mosley, you’re missing out.

Mosley takes 34% of his team’s shots and has posted a 62% true shooting mark on those shots. He’s averaging 21 points per game this season and has already dropped 40 twice this season.

Nobody has a higher usage in the MVC than Mosley, and he’s done well with those opportunities.

Image credit: CBB Analytics

More impressively, Mosley is shooting 43% from deep this season. And it’s not an anomaly, as he shot 38% from deep last season and 40% the season before.

Mosley is a stud, and the Bears are 26th nationally in offensive efficiency and 8-3 in MVC play as a result.

Gaige Prim is also an excellent big man, and the two have developed an inside-outside combination that will be hard to stop in college basketball.

Historically, the defense has been a problem. However, the Bears have the best defensive eFG% (47.6%) through 11 conference games than anyone in the Missouri Valley.

The Bears have a very high upside. They have wins over South Dakota State, Drake, Bradley and Loyola Chicago to prove it.

Ohio Bobcats

Current Overall Record18-3
KenPom Ranking78
Current ESPN Bracketology SeedN/A

Everyone remembers last year’s Bobcats. The 2020-21 Bobcats won the MAC Tournament in dominant fashion and then upset Virginia in the first round as a 13-seed.

This year’s Ohio team is very similar, but Mark Sears has become Jason Preston.

However, Sears has a much bigger role in this offense. He’s currently averaging 20 points, five rebounds and four assists per game. And his usage is way higher than Preston’s ever was.

Moreover, Sears has a 114 ORtg compared to Preston’s 112.7 last year.

So, does the Ohio team have as high hopes?

Yes, it does.

Ohio is significantly better on the defensive end. The Bobcats are now top-60 in defensive efficiency, forcing turnovers and rebounding at a high rate.

Now, Toledo is great. The Rockets are 10-1 in MAC play with a win over Ohio.

But Jason Preston & Co. had to overcome Toledo and Buffalo to win the MAC Tournament last season.

This Ohio team is better than last year’s team. Coach Jeff Boals & Co. could be on the same trajectory — as in one for the second round.

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Nick Sterling
Jul 23, 2024 UTC