All Available Packages

Teddy Covers' Las Vegas Wiseguy Report: Who Has What It Takes to Win the Big Dance Part I

02.29.2016     09:26 AM     Teddy Covers     Printer Friendly

Submitted by Teddy Covers blog entry.
History shows us many things about what it takes to be a champion.  I write this article every year, and in every year except for two, I have been able to identify the eventual NCAA national champion among my elite level teams.   Both exceptions were the same team – UConn – making miracle runs to win the title as prohibitive longshots.

Two years ago, Kevin Ollie’s Huskies were on the ropes in their tourney opener against St Joe’s, needing a late rally just to send the game to overtime.  Three weeks later, they cut down the nets as national champs at Jerry’s World in Arlington.  I didn’t see it coming.  Neither did the betting markets, with UConn priced in the 100:1 longshot range prior to the tournament.  And if a longshot like that wins every coinflip game in the tourney this year, I’m not likely to get it right either.

I write this article every year before the regular season is over, before the conference tournaments, before the tourney seedings are announced and before a single March Madness game has been played.  Obviously, there is room for a lot to change between now and the first Monday of April, when somebody will be cutting down the nets in Houston.  That being said, I’ll stand by my track record, picking four tourney winners in the last nine years, and having the eventual champ on my short list in every year except those two Huskies longshot runs.

Here is a list of the last 18 NCAA champions and the teams they beat in the title game: Kentucky over Utah in ’98, UConn over Duke in ’99, Michigan State over Florida in 2000, Duke over Arizona in ’01, Maryland over Indiana in ’02, Syracuse over Kansas in ’03, UConn over Georgia Tech in ’04, North Carolina over Illinois in ’05, Florida over UCLA in ’06,  Florida over Ohio State in ’07, Kansas over Memphis in ’08, North Carolina over Michigan State in ’09, Duke over Butler in 2010, UConn over Butler in 2011, Kentucky over Kansas in 2012,  Louisville over Michigan in 2013,  UConn over Kentucky in 2014 and Duke over Wisconsin in 2015.

Sixteen of those 18 champions had very specific abilities, a very specific track record and a very specific statistical profile as a team that allowed them to go all the way.  In Part 1 of this article, I’ll take a brief look at that statistical profile and make a ‘short list’ of potential NCAA champs.  In Part 2 next week, I’ll go through that ‘short list’ team by team, eliminating them one by one until we reach the last team standing.

Cinderella’s have reached the championship game.  Florida in 2000, Indiana in 2002 and the Butler teams from 2010 and 2011 stand out as the teams that were not among the top 16 seeds in the tournament but were still good enough to get a shot at the title.  But, with the exception of UConn, those Cinderella’s have been unable to seal the deal. 

The eventual champion has been seeded no lower than #3 in every single year except 2014, dating back to 1997, when Arizona won it all as a #4 seed.  Before UConn’s 2014 title, you’d have to go all the way back to 1988 for a real longshot, when Larry Brown guided the Kansas Jayhawks to a championship as a #6 seed. 

Twenty-one of the last 25 national champions have been #1 or #2 seeds.  Even one I missed -- UConn in 2011 -- was a #3 seed, a factor that I couldn’t and didn’t predict at the end of February when the Huskies were in the midst of a 4-7 slump to close out the regular season.   In 2014, the Huskies were a #7 seed on their way to the title.  I’m not expecting a longshot repeat!

To earn those top seeds, the eventual champion must have been an elite level team all year.  With the exception of those two UConn title runs, 16 of the last 18 champs have finished the season with seven losses or less.  To win the Big Dance, teams have to be better than good, or even very good.  Winning six straight games over three weekends requires greatness, and great teams don’t lose more than seven games throughout the course of the campaign.   Every year I think about raising the ‘losses’ criteria to eight or less – teams play more games now than they did a decade or two ago, but I haven’t needed to – the seven loss cutoff continues to produce dividends.

Each of the past 18 champions was from one of the six major conferences (now seven with the Big East/American Athletic Conference split).  The mid-majors tend to measure success with Sweet 16 berths, not Final Four trips. We have seen several exceptions to that rule, like Butler’s string of upsets to reach the title game as a Horizon League squad or Wichita State and VCU’s remarkable runs to the Final Four. 

George Mason enjoyed an amazing run to the Final Four ten years ago from the Colonial Athletic Conference; a big enough shocker that we still talk about it. Memphis made the championship game from Conference USA in 2008 and Utah made it from the WAC in 1998 (at the time), but those are clearly the exceptions, not the rule.

Basically, if a team is not from the Big East, American, ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, SEC or PAC-12, they aren’t facing enough tough competition on a nightly basis to get them ready for an extended tournament run.  Sorry Gonzaga – you’re not winning the title this year.  It’s a similar story for the likes of St Joe’s, San Diego State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Monmouth, St Mary’s or Wichita State in what has most assuredly NOT been a banner year for mid-majors.  Those upper tier mid-majors are not going to make my ‘potential champions’ list, even though several of them have legitimate Sweet 16 potential.

Using just the seven losses and major conference criteria alone, we can narrow the list of potential NCAA tournament winners down to the following group of 18 teams:  Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Texas A&M and South Carolina. 

SMU and Louisville both would be on this list, but both are ineligible for postseason play due to NCAA sanctions.  Note the fact that Duke’s eighth loss of the season at Pitt this past Sunday eliminates the defending champs from the discussion!

This glaring fact stands out – only one team has won a national title without earning a #3 seed or better since 1997.  So let’s whittle down that list of 18 right here, starting with the two teams that have virtually no shot to get seeded that high:  Seton Hall and South Carolina, squads with strong SU records but with very suspect strength of schedule numbers. I’ll bounce them from consideration here.

That leaves me with 16 teams to discuss in Part 2 of this article next week.  I’ll wager dollars to donuts that the eventual NCAA champion will come from this list:  Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue, Oregon, Utah, Arizona and Texas A&M.

Follow me on Twitter @teddy_covers.

Tags: College Basketball Teddy Covers

This blog is closed to new comments.

Visitor Comments:

Add Your Email Address:
How did you find us?

More VIP Email Options
Current Blog Topics
Ted Sevransky Hot Links
Current Blog Topics
SportsMemo Ads
Daily Plays
Rob has focused in on an ESPN telecast tonight that has a fundamental matchup so significant that he's made this his 10* CFB Top Play. You can join in on this Watch & Win release for just $29. Tonight's selection must win or you will receive Rob's next 10* free of charge.

Teddy is heating up RIGHT NOW with his strongest plays -- his legendary Big Ticket Reports -- cashing at an 80% clip with his 20*'s over the past three weeks. Expect more winning action on Saturday Night with this 20* Big Ticket Absolute Annihilator; a massive TV blowout just waiting to happen. Get it now! This play must win or his next report is FREE!

Otto Sports is locked and loaded with another 20* for Saturday's college football action. He's got an unreal track record in college football with over +26 units in the bank last season and already +16 this year thanks to a 15-6 record. Simply put OTTO Sport is the BEST college football handicapper on the planet and this weekend's 20* is a must have!

Drew Martin is in with his highest rated total from Conference USA of the entire year. He puts his 3-0 100% 20* CFB Total record on the line. Straight off of last week's 20* winner with Wyoming and the week prior with ULM/Texas State over the total. Drew looks to make it four straight 20* cashes in the group of 5 conferences. By now, you know it is a great time to profit in early conference CFB play. This Top Shelf 20* Total of the Year is only $39 and guaranteed to hit or Drew's next top play is on the house.

Andrew Lange taps into the Big Ten for this weekend's top rated 20* Best Bet. It's earned TOTAL OF THE MONTH status and is yours for only $39. Lange's pay must cash or his top NFL play is on the house.

Rob Veno has carved himself a spot among the nation's elite Best Bet handicappers with his famed 20* Bluechip releases. Since 2007 Rob has posted a record of 105-68 61% +60.4 units with his CFB 20* Bluechip plays. For Saturday action Rob has released his 20* CFB Sun Belt Game Of The Year. You can join Rob on this play for only $39 and it must win or you will receive his next 20* report at no additional cost.

Brent Crow is rolling in college football with an 11-6 mark in October which includes a perfect 7-0 mark on his side plays. He nailed his 20* SEC Game of the Month last week as LSU crushed Ole Miss and he has his ACC Game of the Year up now for Saturday's action. Get this primetime ABC tilt easy winner now between Clemson and Florida State for $39. It is guaranteed to win or his next report is yours free.

Erin Rynning checks in with a 10* report for this weekend's annual rivalry showdown between Georgia and Florida. ER and his clients have been rolling hot in CFB with a 12-4 75% record over the last month. Get Saturday's play for $29. It must win or ER's top NFL play is free.

Rob Veno is among the elite when it comes to his Top Tier releases raking in +27.4 units while hitting at a 57.1% mark since 2013 with his CFB 15* Best Bet & 20* Bluechip Totals. Rob has released a 15* CFB Friday Night Best Bet Total which and you can join him on this play for only $25. This selection must win or you will receive Rob's next 15* CFB report free of charge.

Drew Martin is in with a 15* Top Shelf Totals Destroyer Ticket on a game where the totals market is slow to react. It is in the MAC Conference kicking off on Saturday available to watch on ESPN 3. Drew concentrates on the non BCS conferences and he has found value on this under the radar total in the Mid American Conference. Jump on board for only $35 guaranteed to win or his next play is on the house.

Rob Veno is among the elite when it comes to his Top Tier releases raking in +27.4 units while hitting at a 57.1% mark since 2013 with his CFB 15* Best Bet & 20* Bluechip Totals. Rob has released a 15* CFB Saturday Best Bet SEC Total which comes in Saturday action and you can join him on this play for only $25. This selection must win or you will receive Rob's next 15* CFB report free of charge.

Ian Cameron has been delivering consistent profits in College Football since joining Sportsmemo in 2012 banking +16.6 units of profit in CFB. He has CRUSHED all aspects of football banking +27.1 units in NFL, College Football and CFL this season. Ian swept the College Football board last week delivering a perfect 5-0 result and he is ready to unleash a rock solid national TV winner with his 10* CFB Friday Watch & Win On ESPN2 as Navy and South Florida do battle in AAC action. You can get it complete with detailed written analysis for $29 and it is guaranteed to cash or his next CFB play is free.

Teddy enters the weekend riding an 80% hot streak with his strongest releases; his 20* Big Ticket Reports! Cash in again on Sunday with this high octane shootout primed to fly Over the total with ease. If you like wild, high scoring NFL Games, you'll love this winner, worthy of 'NFL Total of the Month' status. Get onboard now! This play must win or his next report is FREE!

Brent Crow continues to win in the NFL with an 13-7 65% mark after the first seven weeks. Last week's 20-star underdog game of the Month on the Chargers won outright at Atlanta! He has his 20-star NFC Game of the Month ready now for Sunday's action. Get this huge 20-star winner now for just $39! It must win or his next top rated selection is free.

Ian Cameron CRUSHED the books in the NFL last season putting together a very strong winning campaign with a 32-20 record for 62% winning action and +12.3 units of profit. He is rolling this NFL season as well with a strong 18-11 record 62% for +10.4 units of profit. Ian has notched a 6-1 86% record with his NFL 20* plays this season and he is ready to deliver another top rated winner in NFL action on Sunday with his 20* NFL Non-Conference Total Of The Month. You can get it complete with detailed written analysis for $39 and it is guaranteed to cash or his next NFL play is free.

Ian Cameron has a dominant track record with his 20* releases in College Football cashing at a 48-25 66% clip banking +41.1 units with his top rated 20* CFB plays since joining Sportsmemo. Ian is 6-2 75% with his 20* College Football plays this season and he is ready to unleash his strongest American Athletic Conference side of the entire season on Saturday with his 20* CFB AAC Game Of The Year. You can get it complete with detailed written analysis for $39 and it is guaranteed to cash or his next CFB play is free.

Extended Services
SportsMemo Ads
Discussion Forum
Post Subject
10.17 11:24
10.15 21:13
10.15 21:11
10.15 18:18
10.15 18:12

Current Blog
Ted Sevransky     10.27.2016 12:11 PM
Ted Sevransky     10.20.2016 11:14 AM
Ted Sevransky     10.16.2016 9:40 AM
Ted Sevransky     10.13.2016 11:23 AM
Ted Sevransky     10.05.2016 12:06 PM

More Blog Entries Submitted by Teddy Covers


Copyright © 2007 SPORTSMEMO, INC, 1-800-575-3069. is the nation’s premier resource for sports betting and handicapping information. Get free football picks, free NFL picks, free college football picks, free baseball picks, free NBA picks, free college basketball picks, free hockey picks, free golf picks, and free soccer picks from the nation’s top handicappers. Sportsmemo's sports betting insight and analysis comes from some of the most respected sports handicappers in the sports gambling industry including Ted Sevransky (Teddy Covers), Brent Crow of Alatex Sports, Rob Veno, Erin Rynning, Otto Sports, Andrew Lange, Ian Cameron, Drew Martin, and Alex B. Smith. Listen to these handicapping experts daily on the Sportsmemo Podcast Monday-Friday at  Missed the Sportsmemo Podcast?  Past shows are available on's podcast archive page. Looking for daily sports betting tips and sports betting advice on the MLB, NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, CFL, and PGA? Check out the interactive sports betting posting forum, power ratings, expert handicapping blogs, and original sports betting articles from the Sportsmemo team that specializes in sports information from a pointspread perspective at   Oct 27, 2016 05:34 PM.