College Basketball Mid-Major Betting Report: Breaking Down Wright State, St. Bonaventure & San Diego State
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Wright State standout Loudon Love.
The NCAA Tournament is called March Madness because of the chaos mid-majors create each year.
With blue blood programs like Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas struggling, the opportunity is there for the right mid-major program to make a deep run. But with over 320 college teams taking the court every week, it’s hard to keep track of every St. Bonaventure and Furman out there.
That’s where we come in.
Mike Randle broke down three mid-major programs sports bettors will want to keep an eye on now through March.
Check out an against the spread (ATS) update for notable teams below, along with recent performances and upcoming games to keep on your radar.
Previous Mid-Major Reports
- BYU, Saint Mary’s & San Francisco (Feb. 9)
- Boise State, Abilene Christian & Colgate (Feb. 4)
- Marshall, Furman & Dayton (Feb. 1)
- Richmond & Western Kentucky (Jan. 28)
- Saint Louis, Toledo & Colorado State (Jan. 26)
- Drake, Loyola-Chicago & Utah State (Jan. 19)
Wright State Raiders
15-4 (13-3) • T-1 in Horizon • 12-7 ATS
I have been impressed with Wright State’s recent run of superb play.
Since a 66-64 home loss to Cleveland State on Jan. 15, the Raiders have won seven consecutive games by an average of 24.2 points per game. Wright State is now alone in second place in the Horizon League, just one game behind Cleveland State. The Raiders are 12-7 overall ATS but have covered six of their past seven games.
The Raiders have superb metric balance, ranking first in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency with conference play. They are also an elite rebounding team, ranking top-50 nationally both offensive and defensive in the category.
Center Loudon Love (15.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg) anchors the middle as one of the most consistent post players in college basketball.
The 6-foot-8, 260-pound center has tallied three consecutive double-doubles, including a dominant 34 point-11 rebound performance against Robert Morris. Love is an essential part of a Wright State offense that ranks 33rd in the country with a 54.6% proficiency from inside the arc.
The Raiders’ inside play is superbly balanced, with a strong group of perimeter scorers. Sophomore guard Tanner Holden (16.1 ppg. 7.3 rpg) leads the team in scoring, with Grant Basile (14.2 ppg, 46.7% 3-point), and Jaylon Hall (8.8 ppg, 42.4% P) contributing from beyond the arc. Wright State is shooting 36.1% from 3 overall, including an even better 37.1% in its 16 Horizon League games.
The Raiders also play at one of the top paces in college basketball and have the highest adjusted tempo of any team in the conference.
In summary, Wright State has:
- Elite offense and defensive efficiency
- Superb rebounding numbers
- A highly effective post player balanced with multiple three-point shooters
- A résumé of dominant wins within conference
This is the checklist of what a mid-major needs to be dangerous in the NCAA tournament.
Wright State has lacked the media fanfare of Drake and Loyola Chicago, but don’t overlook the potential of a Raiders team lacking a true weakness as one of the most complete teams in all of college basketball.
- vs. Milwaukee, Friday, Feb. 12
- at Milwaukee, Saturday, Feb. 13
- at Northern Kentucky, Friday, Feb. 19
- at Northern Kentucky, Saturday, Feb. 20
St. Bonaventure Bonnies
10-2 (8-2) • 1st in Atlantic 10 • 7-4-1 ATS
The Bonnies have a long history of success under head coach Mark Schmidt, who is in his 14th season at the helm of the program.
St. Bonaventure has ascended to the top of the conference standings at 8-2, with wins at Richmond and home against VCU. The Bonnies are only 7-4-1 ATS but had a streak of covering six of seven games before getting hit with two postponements due to COVID-19 issues and protocols.
When 6-foot-10 junior forward Osun Osunniyi (10.8 ppg, 9.3 rpg) stays on the floor, the Bonnies can beat anyone. St. Bonaventure is 27-7 when Osunniyi plays and 26-5 when he doesn’t foul out.
Schmidt’s crew is dominant on defense, limiting opponents to a league-best 44.1% from inside the arc. The Bonnies are also 37th in the country in effective field-goal percentage allowed.
Their perimeter offense is carried by the junior guard trio of Jaren Holmes (14.7 ppg, 41.1% 3), Dominick Welch (11.4 ppg, 40.6% 3), and Jalen Adaway (11.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg). They are essential to an offense that ranks among the lowest in the nation in offensive turnover rate.
The Bonnies’ metric success is predicated on an experienced roster. They entered the season with 67.3% minutes continuity from last year, the 29th-highest percentage in the country. Their only tangible weakness is their depth, with only six players averaging more than 14 minutes per game.
However, for a mid-major, they have a rare combination of interior size with Osunniyi, veteran guard play and a tremendous coach in Schmidt.
Bottom line, the Bonnies a dangerous NCAA Tournament team just lurking in the bitter cold of upstate New York.
- at VCU, Friday, Feb. 12
- at George Washington, Sunday, Feb. 21
- vs. Dayton, Sunday, Feb. 28
San Diego State Aztecs
15-4 (9-3) • 4th in Mountain West • 10-7 ATS
The Aztecs were one of the teams robbed of a potential Final Four run when last year’s NCAA Tournament was canceled. This year’s version is also very dangerous.
San Diego State is 15-4 overall, with a strength of schedule ranking 26th overall and a non-conference SOS of 31. The Aztecs earned impressive early-season wins over UCLA, a tough UC Irvine team, on the road at Arizona State, and a neutral-court win over Saint Mary’s.
Head coach Brian Dutcher’s squad does it with defense, currently having the 22nd best overall adjusted defensive-efficiency rank, per KenPom. San Diego State forces mistakes by the opposition, with the 17th-best defensive turnover percentage in the nation.
Annually, the Aztecs are one of the best rebounding teams in the country and sit second in Mountain West play in both offensive and defensive rebounding efficiency. The interior is controlled by 6-foot-10 big man Nathan Mensah, who averages 9.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
Offensively, San Diego State relies on its 3-point shooting and can get incredibly hot from beyond the arc.
As a team, the Aztecs shoot 38.7% from deep and an even better 41.1% among Mountain West competition. San Diego State has generated 38.7% of its conference points via long-range shots, which is second-most in the Mountain West.
Senior guard Jordan Schakel (14.2 ppg, 44.8% 3P) is one of the best shooters in the country, putting together three games of five or more 3-pointers made.
Schakel had a superior performance in the Aztecs’ 78-65 win over Colorado State, connecting on 8 of 11 attempts from deep en route to 28 points.
San Diego State is led by the veteran presence of senior Matt Mitchell (15.5 ppg), who saw his streak of double-digit scoring snapped in last night’s comfortable 77-55 win over San Jose State.
The Aztecs, who have the experience from last year to battle any team in the country, certainly bring the hunger. With solid defense and flammable shooting, San Diego State will be a tough out for any team in the NCAA tournament.
- at Fresno State, Thursday, 2/18
- vs. Boise State, Friday, 1/29
- at Wyoming, Thursday, 2/4
- at Wyoming, Saturday, 2/6