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College Basketball Mid-Major Betting Report: Breaking Down Utah State, Saint Louis & Drake

College Basketball Mid-Major Betting Report: Breaking Down Utah State, Saint Louis & Drake article feature image

Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Bean (Utah State)

The closer we get to March, the more important it is to keep up with the potential mid-majors teams that we could see in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

With that said, let’s take a look at three teams that are currently outside the bracket, but could make a push at the end to make it.

Utah State Aggies

Current Overall Record 15-9
ATS 13-10
KenPom Ranking 35
Current ESPN Bracketology Seed N/A

The Aggies own the blueprint for a team that is just outside the bubble but could play spoiler for someone in March Madness.

Utah State is 15-9 on the season. After starting conference play 1-5, the Aggies have propelled themselves to 6-5, and are currently sixth in the Mountain West.

Utah State’s five wins in a row have come by an average of 20.6 points. And the Aggies aren’t just winning games against the lower half of the Mountain West — they beat fourth-place San Diego State by 18.

The Aggies have won five in a row due, in large part, to a thriving offense. Six different Aggies are scoring eight or more points per contest.

Utah State also ranks 18th in effective field goal percentage, and is the sixth-best 2-point shooting team in the country (57.4%).

Unfortunately, Utah State is 1-6 in Quad 1 games, so its most likely path to the tournament is winning the Mountain West. However, the Aggies do still have three more Quad 1 games on their schedule, and don’t count them out of the Mountain West Tournament.

Saint Louis Billikens

Current Overall Record 16-6
ATS 13-8
KenPom Ranking 50
Current ESPN Bracketology Seed N/A

The Billikens are firmly in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament bid. They are currently second in the A-10 at 7-2 in conference play. However, they own a 1-3 record in Quad 1 games, with only one more on the schedule (A-10 leader Davidson).

Saint Louis has been a competitive team at both ends of the court, as it currently ranks 46th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 63rd in defensive efficiency, per KenPom.

The Billikens also possess the highest-scoring offense in the A-10.

With Francis Okoro — who is elite in both rebounding and field goal percentage — the Billikens cannot be counted out in the A-10.

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Drake Bulldogs

Current Overall Record 17-7
ATS 6-15
KenPom Ranking 92
Current ESPN Bracketology Seed N/A

Drake may be the biggest long shot of these three to break into the tournament.

The Bulldogs are third in the Missouri Valley Conference, and are just 1-3 in Quad 1 games. As we know though, anything can happen in college hoops.

The MVC is a crowded and competitive conference — especially among the top-five — but anything can happen when it comes conference tournament time.

Drake has proven it can hang with big-name teams, but it has fallen short in each attempt, losing to Alabama by nine and Clemson by 10 in overtime.

Drake has the pieces, but needs to finish strong if it want to hear its name called come March.

The Bulldogs are a middle-of-the-road team at both ends of the court, but play a slow game and force teams to be effective when they shoot.

They are led by Tucker DeVries — who is one of four Bulldogs averaging 10 points a game or better — but are a very balanced roster with depth.

Regardless, they still have some work to do, and will need an impressive showing in the conference tournament.

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