College Basketball Sweat Barometer 

January, 25, 2012

For the past several weeks, as the sweat barometer has been compiled, Pittsburgh has appeared at the bottom. A program that has won 25 or more games every year since 2005 (averaging 27.5) has been among the worst bets all season.

A college basketball power was stuck in the sweat barometer cellar last season as well. Michigan State was a nightmare to its backers, going a terrible 13-21 ATS (against the spread). Often, the Spartans didn't even come close to covering. The sweat barometer is a metric that shows which teams on average cover/fail to cover the spread by the biggest margin. The data comes from professional handicapper Sal Selvaggio of

A season after killing its supporters, Michigan State has been a solid play. We all know that the Spartans have been a great bet come March, as Tom Izzo has led his team to six final fours, including the 2000 national championship. This season however, Michigan State has been a great team to support throughout the regular season.

"Last year, Michigan State came in overrated thanks to their run through the Final Four the year before. But Kalin Lucas wasn't totally healthy and Izzo said the team didn't have any chemistry and players were not gelling. If a team isn't gelling they are going to be lousy ATS," Selvaggio said. "This season, with expectations lower than usual, Izzo does what he always does, which [is] having his teams exceed those low expectations. As usual, his team is a beast on the glass, plays outstanding defense and runs an efficient offense. I expect them to be a nightmare opponent for whatever team draws them come tourney time."

Michigan State has just two players averaging double figures in scoring, Draymond Green (15.0) and Keith Appling (12.6) but has the top rebounding margin in the Big 10 and is tied with Ohio State for the most assists per game.

Because Michigan State is so synonymous with tournament success, there might actually be value in betting this team during the regular season.

Let's turn to this week's Sweat Barometer, where once again the South Dakota State Jackrabbits remain atop the chart. The last undefeated team in the nation, Murray State, isn't even in the SB's top 25. Funny how that works.

Jeff Gold

ESPN Contributor