One thing that college basketball has over college football is that you know the best teams are all going to have a shot to play for the national championship. That’s simply not the case in football, which has a field of just four in its postseason. At least a few championship contenders are left out each year.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Selection Sunday for the 2019 NCAA Tournament is March 17, with First Four games beginning two days later in Dayton, Ohio. The Final Four is in Minneapolis. Your betting favorites to cut down the nets on the first Monday of April at U.S. Bank Stadium? That would be the same team favored entering the basketball season: Duke.
The Blue Devils were only slightly favored over fellow blue bloods Kansas and Kentucky back in November, but Duke is now the clear +200 leader. Interesting, considering that Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team already has lost a game – to Gonzaga in Maui. However, there’s no arguing the talent Coach K has as his three star freshmen, Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, could be the Top 3 picks in the 2019 NBA Draft. That’s just not fair. Duke hasn’t won it all since 2015 and hasn’t been back to the Final Four since. That’s a major drought for them.
It’s almost not fair to refer to Gonzaga, the +800 second-favorite, as a “mid-major” any longer as it has been one the nation’s top programs for about two decades. The Zags made their first-ever Final Four two seasons ago and lost to North Carolina in the title game. Last year, they were upset in the Sweet 16.
Seems almost fait accompli that Gonzaga will be the No. 1 seed in the West Region for the 2019 Big Dance as they likely aren’t going to lose more than a couple of games in the regular season playing in the weak WCC. Plus, the Zags already have that win over Duke. They could claim ownership of Tobacco Road on December 15 by winning at North Carolina (+2200).
The new AP Top 25 No. 1 Kansas is now +1000 on the title odds and this could be Bill Self’s best team thanks to adding Memphis transfer Dedric Lawson, an early Big 12 Player of the Year favorite, to Self’s usual collection of talent.
The Jayhawks recently avoided disaster on center Udoka Azubuike. He was hurt in a win over Wofford and it looked potentially bad but turned out to be just an ankle sprain. He could return for the start of conference play. Azubuike averages 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. KU’s title chances would have gotten longer had that been a season-ending injury.