The coronavirus outbreak in the United States has forced the postponement/cancellation of essentially everything in the American sports world, and there was no NCAA Tournament for the first time since it began in 1939. The Big Dance was even played during World War II.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
There will be no official champion named for the 2019-20 men’s basketball season, but the 2019 NCAA Tournament winner, the University of Virginia, is the early +900 co-favorite with Gonzaga to cut down the nets at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 5, 2021.
One thing to keep in mind regarding handicapping NCAA basketball futures odds is that they are going to change fairly dramatically depending on which underclassmen declare for the NBA Draft. The deadline to declare for the 2020 draft – scheduled for June 25 but quite likely going to be pushed back due to the coronavirus – is April 26 and the early entrant withdrawal deadline is June 15. Again, at least for now it is.
Virginia is going to lose senior forward Mamadi Diakite, the team’s leading scorer and No. 2 rebounder, as he was a senior this past season. All-ACC point guard Kihei Clark is expected to return as is 7-footer Jay Huff. Coach Tony Bennett welcomes a consensus Top 15 recruiting class, led by four-stars Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Reece Beekman. Bennett also welcomes transfer Sam Hauser, who had to sit out this past season after leaving Marquette. He averaged 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds in the 2018-19 campaign there.
Gonzaga was generally a second-favorite to win the 2020 NCAA Tournament behind Kansas, and the Zags were going to be a No. 1 seed in the event. Will West Coast Conference Player of the Year Filip Petrusev return for his junior year or declare for the draft? If he does return to school, that might vault the Zags into the solo favored role.
Kansas (+1000), Kentucky (+1200), Duke (+1200), Michigan State (+1400) and Creighton (+1400) round out the 2021 favorites. The Jayhawks are facing major NCAA allegations so they might not even be eligible to play postseason basketball next year. Per usual, Kentucky and Duke are bringing in the nation’s top two recruiting classes. Michigan State loses its best player, All-American point guard Cassius Winston, the Big Ten’s all-time assists leader. The Bluejays should bring back all their key guys.