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Two Surprise Teams for the 2020 NCAA Tournament

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Feb/25/2020

Last year it was Duke as the favorites and then everyone else. This time the 2020 NCAA Tournament will be wide open.

Kansas is favored to win it all at +700 at most online sportsbooks, followed by Duke (+800) and Gonzaga (+850). There are two long shots teams that offer tremendous betting value for the NCAA Tournament: San Diego State (+1600) and Oregon (+2000).

San Diego State

The last undefeated team in the nation at 26-0, San Diego State is led by point guard Malachi Flynn. He is averaging 16.7 points, 5.1 assists and 1.9 steals. Matt Mitchell is another player to watch for them. He puts up 12.4 points and 4.9 rebounds.

According to KenPom.com, San Diego State has played the 117th hardest schedule in the country, which is why many people are overlooking them. Their non-conference schedule has been even easier, ranking 205th but a win is a win and they're undefeated for a reason.

The rating system at Sports-Reference.com agrees with KenPom.com. It reveals that San Diego State has played against opponents that are collectively just 2.8 points per game better than an average team (103rd in terms of strength of schedule).

San Diego State has one of the most balanced teams in the country. KenPom.com has them and Duke as the only teams in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

Oregon

Oregon (20-6) recently came from behind to beat Colorado Buffaloes and crushed a young Utah team. They are tied with Colorado for first place in the Pac-12 with five games left to play in the regular season.

The Ducks made a run in last year’s NCAA Tournament and they have a lethal backcourt led by Payton Pritchard (19.5 points and 5.8 assists) and Will Richardson (10.7 points and 3.5 rebounds). Pritchard and Richardson can take them far and if Chris Duarte (13.5 points and 5.5 rebounds) puts an end to his shooting slump, look out for this team in the NCAA Tournament.

The Oregon Ducks have not allowed more than 63 points in any of their last three games. “We try to keep teams below 70, that is the goal, and we did that,” sophomore center Francis Okoro explained after scoring six points with four rebounds in Sunday's 80-62 win against Utah. “When we play good defense, we have a chance to win the game.” Oregon won’t be easy to beat in the NCAA Tournament.

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