San Diego State National Championship Odds Now +1600 After Losing First Game to UNLV
Malachi Flynn and the San Diego State Aztecs were the last team to fall from the ranks of the undefeated, losing to UNLV at home. Photo from @CBSSportsHQ (Twitter).
- San Diego State was the nation’s last unbeaten team before falling to UNLV on Saturday night
- According to Ken Pom, San Diego State has played just 115th-best schedule in the nation this season
- Now ranked fifth, read below to find out if now is the time to wager on them for a national championship
They were the last undefeated team in college basketball.
But following their first loss of the season to UNLV on Saturday night, San Diego State’s national championship odds tumbled to +1600. Despite having played one of the weaker schedules of the top teams, do the Aztecs still have a shot at a no. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament?
And with that loss, does San Diego State present better value in the National Championship picture? Let’s explore the possibilities.
2020 National Championship Odds
|Team||Odds at BetOnline|
|San Diego State||+1600|
Odds taken Feb. 23
Aztecs Upset at Home
The Aztecs’ 26-game winning streak ended on its home court as UNLV came into Viejas Arena and pulled off a 66-63 upset as a 14.5-point underdog. San Diego State had been the nation’s lone unbeaten team since Jan. 15.
UNLV’s Elijah Mitrou-Long scored 19 points, including two free throws with 11.5 seconds left that put the Runnin’ Rebels up by three.
San Diego State trailed by as many as 14 points but pulled to 64-63 on Malachi Flynn’s 3-pointer with 14.5 seconds left. Mitrou-Long was fouled by Matt Mitchell with 11.5 seconds remaining and made both free throws.
Flynn missed a contested 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left and the ball went to the Runnin’ Rebels. After a long pass down the court, Mitchell ended up with the ball and his desperation shot at the buzzer fell short.
San Diego State’s NCAA Tournament Championship Odds had been +1400 prior to the loss.
Will Loss Be Beneficial?
It has often been said that it is beneficial for a team to lose at least once before postseason play because it takes away the pressure of an undefeated season away.
San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher dismissed that idea following Saturday’s loss. However, there were some signs Saturday that perhaps the Aztecs might have been getting at least a little bit complacent.
In a pre-game ceremony, the Mountain West regular-season championship banner was raised, which rankled some UNLV players. San Diego then played lethargically until the final five minutes of the game.
San Diego State has never won a game since unveiling their 2019-2020 Mountain West regular season championship banner. pic.twitter.com/INHMGwreGH
— Tyler Bischoff (@Bischoff_Tyler) February 23, 2020
So perhaps losing will refocus the Aztecs rather than alleviate any pressure having a zero in the loss column might have presented.
Where SDSU Stands
San Diego State is ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press poll. That marks the highest ranking in school history. However, it seems certain the Aztecs will fall after this loss.
Following Saturday’s loss, San Diego State now stands fifth in the NET rankings. That is the tool the NCAA Tournament selection committee relies on heavily in seeding teams.
Just in: San Diego State falls from #1 to #5 in the Net Rankings (and UNLV moves from #121 to #112).
Gonzaga’s Net remains #3 after loss at BYU.https://t.co/LusLnJkR6z
— Jon Schaeffer (@jonschaeffer) February 23, 2020
Thus, it would seem, at least for now, San Diego State has fallen from a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs to the second line on the bracket.
San Diego State is also No. 5 in Ken Pom’s rankings. Meanwhile, Bart Torvik ranks the Aztecs seventh, Jeff Sagarin has them No. 9 in USA Today’s rankings and they are tabbed No. 15 by Team Rankings.
Schedule Has Been Soft
One of the biggest knocks against San Diego State all season is that it hasn’t played anyone. The Aztecs have yet to face an opponent in the AP Top 25.
According to KenPom, San Diego State’s strength of schedule is just 115th in the nation.
Odds of +1600 on a 26-1 team to win the national championship might seem tempting on the surface, but there is gnawing feeling that San Diego State isn’t as good as its record against weak competition – UNLV is just 15-14 – indicates.
Thus, it doesn’t seem wise to bet on the Aztecs, even at a seemingly favorable price.
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.
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