College Basketball Sweat Barometer 

January, 18, 2012

The Big East will be going through a major transition in upcoming years with the likes of Syracuse and Pittsburgh departing. To remain relevant nationally, it will have to get back to its roots and rely on the basketball-only schools (no football) to become programs of significance. Otherwise, a conference that has arguably been the strongest and deepest in the country over the last five years won't be anything like the one which we've become accustomed to lately.

Two of the programs that take on added importance are Seton Hall and Providence, two Big East schools that actually are in the eastern part of the country. Imagine that.

Both are in our latest Sweat Barometer Top 25. For those unfamiliar with the Sweat Barometer, first of all, where have you been? But seriously, if you're new to Chad's gambling blog, "sweat barometer" is another name for what some gamblers sometimes refer to as average margin of cover. The numbers come from professional handicapper Sal Selvaggio of

Seton Hall is an emerging team. It's on the verge of being ranked nationally for the first time since 2001. The Pirates received the third-most votes of any team outside the AP Top 25 and have an impressive RPI of 4.

They've been equally impressive to gamblers with their 10-4 ATS record and SB number of 5.93, fifth-best in the nation. The Hall has had the same starting lineup in all 18 games. The Pirates have an effective trio in Herb Pope (17.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg), Jordan Theodore (16.4 ppg, 7.4 apg) and Fuquan Edwin (14.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg). Seton Hall has been an especially solid wager in its home games where it's put up a 6-1 ATS mark.

Providence hasn't been as consistent as Seton Hall from an overall or ATS mark (5-6). Still, it has a solid SB number of 5.77, good for seventh in our chart, helped in large part by its 90-59 thrashing of Louisville last week when it was a nine-point underdog.

Providence is going to be an underdog in most of its Big East games, as it has been getting points in all six of its Big East matchups thus far. The Friars aren't ready to compete consistently with the upper-echelon teams of the conference quite yet, but they're an improving team and interesting one from a gambling standpoint because they are almost always an underdog despite having talent.

Let's turn to the Sweat Barometer, where renowned program South Dakota State has taken over the top spot.

Jeff Gold

ESPN Contributor