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College Basketball: Keep Abreast of Injuries
by Bryan Leonard - 01/13/2006
If you want to turn a profit in the competitive world of sports wagering, it's necessary to keep up on things on a daily basis. Take injuries in college basketball. Injuries happen all the time and one has to be on top of everything. Alabama just lost leading scorer Chuck Davis for the season. How does this affect their ability to rebound? Do they have other offensive options to rely on? Is there a devastating psychological aspect that might take place when a team of high expectations loses its best player? Remember five years ago when Cincinnati was No. 1 in the nation going into the March tournament, and in the first minute of the first game lost star forward Kenyon Martin to a broken leg? That flattened their chances and their emotional state.
I'm not just talking about season-ending injuries to star players, either. Role players can be a huge key to a team's success, such as the unsung rebounding forward who does the dirty work under the boards. If that role player is lost for a few weeks or the entire season, that can alter the subtle chemistry on a team.
In addition, players often play through nagging injuries that pop up during a long season. Arkansas State last week was a good example. The Indians have had several players over the last week suffer nagging injuries. In last week's win at Little Rock, they had to go with only 5 players for the final 12 minutes of the game! In their next game, they lost and failed to cover at Middle Tennessee State as the lack of depth took a toll. Check out the box score on that game. Notice that Arkansas State used 5 starters and one sixth man pretty much the whole game. It's no surprise they wilted down the stretch as MTS pulled away late.
If a player has a strong defensive guard that is hurting with an ankle or hamstring problem, maybe the injury isn't severe enough to force him to sit down, but it also may hinder his effectiveness. He could loss a step or two and be vulnerable to penetrating guards, or not be quick enough to defend on the perimeter anymore. You can identify this by looking at box scores and seeing if they are allowing more three-point shots, for instance.
Northern Iowa has a very good team this season, but notice they just lost senior guard Erik Crawford for four to six weeks after suffering a broken bone in his right foot. Crawford was averaging 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and had started all 17 games for the Panthers. He had made 80 consecutive starts for the Panthers dating to the 2003-04 season. This is something serious sports bettors need to circle and keep tabs on.
Cincinnati senior forward Armein Kirkland will miss the remainder of the season, their fourth leading scorer. UCLA's fine season is being tested by a rash of injuries. The Bruins are without lone senior Cedric Bozeman,
who also is done for the year with torn cartilage in his left shoulder, and star sophomore guard Jordan Farmar has been bothered by a nagging ankle injury. This week, they found out sophomore guard Josh Shipp will miss the remainder of the season (hip).
Also, some teams get players back because of injuries and suspensions. Bradley played the first 8 games of the season without 7-foot sophomore center Patrick O'Bryant, who was a strong force as a freshman last season. All of this goes beyond stats. Stats can be almost meaningless when key players, both starters and role players, are hurting or seriously injured.