It’s new day for Knight

January 29, 2002 5:17 AM
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The bottom line in Vegas is winning basketball games on the board, whether betting with the spread or against.

Money line victories are sweet, but they don’t happen nearly enough to book nightly dinner reservations at Bellagio.

Looking at spread records is the prime indicator as to the success of a particular team. National rankings may work around the country, but they don’t provide the whole story at the sports book.

This week we are introducing a new category called Spread Beaters. The concept is simple enough. The top team is the one we feel has the best record vs. the spread, not necessarily in the win column. We take into consideration the conference and strength of schedule.

However, we have an open mind. The little guys will get the same amount of recognition as the big boys. Cashing tickets is what we want, and we’ll take wins anywhere available.

The No. 1 team on the hit parade is Texas Tech. Bob Knight’s Red Raiders paid back Oklahoma for a loss in Norman with a double-digit upset win this past Saturday in Lubbock.

The Raiders are 12-4 ATS and very much alive in the Big 12 title picture.

Georgia is No. 2 in the poll with a solid 13-5 ATS slate. The Bulldogs upset Kentucky at Rupp Arena last week for its most impressive showing.

Memphis is a close third at 13-5 ATS, having lived up to preseason expectations. Coach John Calipari promised to restore the program and he has. Ohio State is fourth at 11-4 and right now the surprise team of the Big Ten. The Buckeyes figured to be in a transition year with the loss of Ken Johnson, but not the case.

The two Big East stunners, Pittsburgh and Miami (FL) hold down the next two slots at 10-4. Pitt has beaten UConn, Georgetown and Syracuse.

Miami was among the last four teams in Division I to suffer its first loss. The Hurricanes are much more than national champions in football, although the fans are not yet ready to put basketball on the same playing field as football.

Drexel comes in at No. 7 and is one of our favorite teams. One vote for the little guy, if you will.

The Dragons can and have held their own with their Big Five brethren in the Philly shootouts so far this year at The Palestra.

Drexel is now beginning to carve a niche as a spoiler in the Colonial Athletic Conference. The Dragons could be a bubble team in the NCAAs.

Buffalo is another unlikely power, but the Bulls have been more than holding their own as a new member of the Mighty MAC.

Butler is No. 9 and still in the picture at 11-5 ATS, though sliding of late. The Bulldogs were playing the best ball in the state of Indiana for nearly three months, especially after wins against Indiana and Purdue.

Montana State, of the Big Sky Conference, is the top-rated Western team at No. 10.

State has posted a 10-6 mark and is worth a look if you like wagering on late-night action.

Kent State, the second MAC team, is No. 11 at 10-5, followed by Air Force at 9-4.

The Falcons have put up some excellent results in the Mountain West Conference, including an outright upset win over then-league leader BYU at Colorado Springs.

The top games this week include UCLA-Oregon, Kentucky-Florida, Memphis-Louisville and Arizona-Stanford.

Our picks will be on the website daily, so check them out.

SPREAD BEATERS

  

ATS  

CON

1 Texas Tech  

12-4  

b12

2 Georgia  

13-5  

sec

3 Memphis  

13-5  

usa

4 Ohio State  

11-4  

b10

5 Pittsburgh  

10-4  

bgE

6 Miami, FL  

10-4  

bgE

7 Drexel  

12-4  

caa

8 Buffalo  

11-4  

mac

9 Butler  

11-5  

mcc

10 Montana St  

10-5  

bSk

11 Kent  

10-5  

mac

12 Air Force  

9-4  

mtw

Southern Illinois, VCU, Loyola of Chicago, Portland, Wright State.