what-to-look-for-final-four

By Loot, NCAA Basketball Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

College Basketball Betting: What to Look For in the Final Four

The Final Four represents a different stage of the NCAA Tournament, where the stakes become higher and the conditions change drastically. Everything is ratcheted up many notches and not all teams are equally prepared to handle all that accompanies this dynamic. Looking beyond the results can give us a leg up during this time of the season.

After the elite-eight, the tournament almost grounds to a halt. It’s quite different than when the tournament was in full-flight. You look at the TV and there’s a bunch of games taking place at the same time. Before long, the teams are sidelined for an extended time. The gap between the elite-eight and the final four can be about a week. That presents some challenges for these teams. They were going all-out, then had to stop for a week, and now have to fire the engines up again and come into this game in full-flight. Not all teams respond well.

For situations like this, you’d like to see a team that is not only great on the court, but off it as well. In other words, you want to see teams that have strong leadership. Naturally, you want to see a heady coach who knows how to steward his teams through difficult times like this. Beyond that, you want to see good leadership skills from the players.

Not all teams have that. They just have a bunch of players and while a talented team–it would be hard to identify a defined team leader. It could be a young team that hasn’t had enough time together to establish clear leadership. It’s not uncommon when everyone on the team is a kid. Not every 19 or 20-year old is capable of leadership. But in this time of the season, you would like to see players capable of keeping teammates concentrated and on-task.

Usually, before the tournament even begins, you can figure which teams are more championship-oriented. Naturally, a number one or two seed will not be content with simply advancing–they’re trying to win the whole thing. Look at how teams react, especially after the elite-eight. You can get a good read on what their expectations truly are.

A good Duke team, for example, would win a game in the elite-eight and while being excited about making the Final Four, they will act like they’ve been there before. You will be able to sense that the team still has an air of “unfinished business.” Other teams, however, will treat making the Final Four almost as if they actually won the championship. When a team advances to the Final Four, look at their reaction. It’s an unplanned moment where you can sometimes generate some useful insight.

See how the time off will either help or hurt a team. Some teams catch fire during tournament time. The stars line up right and they catch lightning in a bottle. Not a lot of people were picking that team to make it this far, but they caught some good momentum and mojo and rode it all the way to the Final Four. Now all of a sudden, they have a week off. It could cool a team’s jets. The last thing you want to do with a hot team is give them a week off. It’s the longest break they’ve had in months and it’s not really coming at the right time. A week off the floor can be enough to drain the wind out of a team’s sails.

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Then again, it might help. Sure, most of the teams that get this far benefitted from having a healthy roster. At the same time, it’s been a draining process to just get to the Final Four. Players might feel a bit battered and are having trouble dragging their bodies up and down the court. A top team may have needed to empty their guns repelling motivated teams that were playing for their lives.

Look to see if a team has a guy with a sprained ankle. Maybe the point guard tweaked his knee. In cases like this, you might find that the week off will actually help the team become better. Hobbling players will be ready to go. Remember, it won’t always be there. None of the elements discussed in this article are always present. But when in place, it could give you some things to look for when betting on the NCAA Tournament Final Four.

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College Basketball Betting

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