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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 11:43 AM

I racked up another 100-Unit winner on Saturday when Wichita State (-15) easily handled Missouri State in an 86-67 rout. I wanted to share with you what made the Shockers such a strong play on Saturday, what makes them a potentially value bet going forward and what pitfalls could lead me to reverse course and perhaps go against them if I believe that’s where our money is best invested.

Wichita State was a hot basketball team coming into Saturday. They had won eleven games in a row and covered the spread in eight of those contests. They play exceptionally efficient basketball on the offensive end. The Shockers have two lights-out three-point shooters in Landry Shamet and Connor Frankamp, along with double-digit scorers in Markis McDuffie, Darral Willis and Shaq Morris.

This is a well-coached team under Gregg Marshall and that is perhaps best reflected in how well they take care of the ball. Wichita State makes the most of its possessions, they have a balanced lineup and they hit the three-ball. That adds up to a team that ranks in the Top 10 nationally in offensive efficiency and that adds up to a team that is more than capable of winning and covering a big number—frankly, I was disappointed they didn’t win by thirty, but I’ll settle for the cashed 100-Unit bet.

Wichita State is currently projected to be headed for seeding on the 8-9 line in the NCAA Tournament. If that holds, it sets up a potential Round of 32 game with one of the bracket’s #1 seeds. The Shockers have been dangerous in this spot before. You may recall they upset a 1-seed in Gonzaga in the 2013 NCAAs and went on to the Final Four. You may further recall Wichita upset local rival Kansas, a 2-seed, in the 2015 NCAAs. In between, the Shockers were a 1-seed themselves in 2014 and flamed out in the Round of 32.

This is a team that has historically thrived on the underdog role, had a hard time as the frontrunner and they’re set to be in their comfort zone again this March. All of which is a very good reason to handicap this team carefully as they begin play in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in St. Louis on Friday.

There are reasons to be concerned though. Wichita’s strength is its offensive efficiency and dominating their conference rivals. They were not effective as a value play against power conference teams in the early portion of the schedule, taking losses to Louisville and Michigan State, both outright and ATS.

If you dig deep into the Wichita profile, the flaws are that they commit too many fouls and they don’t force enough turnovers. Within Missouri Valley play, the Shockers’ talent and coaching advantage is sufficient for this to be of only marginal concern and it doesn’t stop them from covering the number as a favorite. Going against an elite team in a potential NCAA game, Wichita can’t give up a lot of points at the foul line and they need to be able to make the favorite uncomfortable on the defensive end.

I encourage you to watch the Missouri Valley tournament carefully to see for signs of Shocker progress since the early part of the season. I encourage you to watch the spreads on those games carefully for chances of a blowout and to make yourself some money. And I certainly encourage you to let me be your personal handicapper and do the grunt work for you through the conference tournaments and on into March Madness.  

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