Why Unders Have Been So Profitable in the NCAA Tournament

Why Unders Have Been So Profitable in the NCAA Tournament article feature image
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Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Larson of Charleston and Darrion Trammel of SDSU.

There has been an obvious trend through the first two rounds of the college basketball NCAA Tournament.

It has been all about the unders.

Through 52 games in the NCAA Tournament so far including the First Four games, the total has gone under in 35 of them. That is a 67.3% winning percentage for under bettors.

If a $100 bettor placed a bet on the under for all 52 games so far, they would be up $1,486.

So why have so many games gone under?

One of the biggest reasons is the 3-point shooting has been absolutely abysmal so far. NCAA Tournament teams have shot 31.2% from beyond the arc so far, which is the worst 3-point shooting performance in over a decade.

The other main reason is the emphasis on defense.

All five of the top teams in defensive efficiency according to KenPom have made the Sweet 16. That's an incredible feat considering only two of the top five teams in offensive efficiency made the Sweet 16.

To expand on that even further, 10 of the 16 teams remaining rank in the top 17 in defensive efficiency. There are just six teams remaining that rank in the top 17 in offensive efficiency.

If you boil it down to 3-point shooting, the top four teams in the country in 3-point shooting defense made the Sweet 16: Tennessee, Houston, Alabama and San Diego State.

Only one of the top four teams in 3-point shooting percentage made the Sweet 16: Xavier. In fact, there are only three teams in the top 38 and five in the top 50 in 3-point shooting that made the Sweet 16. Eight teams in the top 38 in 3-point defense made the Sweet 16.

The NCAA Tournament has been more about stopping the other team from making threes rather than making threes.

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