Every day on Twitter, college basketball fans and bettors come to me with an important question. Whose a team I can bet on right now that has good odds that has a legit shot to make a run in March. Right now, I undoubtedly tell them about a team that I think has massive value. Currently at BetOnline, they are 150/1… I’m talking about the BYU Cougars.
When you find a sleeper, there are a few questions you have to ask yourself….
- Do they have good guard play? BYU surely does. TJ Haws is a diminutive upperclassmen with a smooth silky shot and the ability to run the natural PG role. Alex Barcello isn’t much of a scorer but hes got a low turnover rate, makes over 80 percent of his free throws and is 50 plus percent from 3 on the season.
- Do they have a star? Yes, Yoeli Childs is the straw that stirs BYU. His 21 points a game and 8 plus rebounds are as big as anyone in the country. He demands the most of opposing front courts and his rapport with the guards is huge. It’s one of the reasons the Cougars are among the top 5 offenses in the country. Childs has scored 20 or more points in 8 games this season.
- Experience? The Cougars are 9th in the country in experience. They have played together a long time and feature all juniors and seniors in there rotation. To advance in March, you need continuity. BYU has it in droves. Most of these players have been involved in LDS missions and very mature and have many leadership qualities.
BYU simply is a freight train on offense. They are the best 3 point shooting team in the land, average 80 points a game and shoot over 50 percent from the field. Haws is a staple and is as good as anyone in the country. Childs mans the paint down low. Barcello and Seljias are solid wings who play hard and physical and newcomer Jake Toolson is the swiss army knife that gives them a potent scorer, sharpshooting and competent defense. Toolson is currently 15th in Ken Pom from 3pt % terms. Nixon, Harding, Lee and Baxter fill out a solid bench.
Defensively there is surely room for improvement. They actually are a long team and do a nice job defending the 3. They play fast so sometimes the games become track meets and they simply just outscore the opponent.
The best thing about them is they don’t turn the ball over. They don’t beat themselves and on defense can guard with out fouling. The staple of a smart team. This starting 5 can go toe to toe with anyone, especially in a year with so much uncertainty.
They have some solid wins defeating Houston, St Marys, VA Tech and Utah State. They also challenged themselves and played Kansas (Childs missed that game) and undefeated SDSU and lost by 5. Childs missed that game too. Who knows where the Cougs would be if he’d been fully healthy? Well, he is now.
BYU has a lot of value, can’t wait to see them in March.