Dark Horse Picks To Win The 2016 College Hoops National Championship
The news stories circulating about the most likely teams to win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament talk about North Carolina, Duke, Iowa, Oklahoma and Maryland, with teams like Kansas and Kentucky on the next tier. However, the reason why 66 teams make the NCAA basketball tournament is to give all of the conference champions and as many teams who have had a strong regular season as possible a shot at the title, and there are years (remember N.C. State’s comeback win over Houston?) when a team comes out of nowhere to take the title. Let’s take a look at some of the “dark horse” picks around in the online sporstbook NCAAB odds scene roaming to waltz away with the title this year.
Dark Horse Picks With the Best Odds Win the 2016 NCAAB National Championship
West Virginia (25/1)
Bob Huggins has his full-court press juggernaut up and running in the mountains of Appalachia, and they have been running roughshod over opposition without any real stars on their roster. They suffered a setback on their trip to Florida in the SEC-Big 12 challenge this past weekend, but this is a team that will knock off some squads with better athletes because of the strength of their scheme. If this team gets on a run in the tournament, they could keep rolling all the way to the trophy.
Texas A&M (30/1)
When we think of strong basketball schools in the SEC, we usually think of Kentucky and Florida. However, Texas A&M has emerged as one of the best teams in the nation. They don’t have the program-wide tradition of success in the sport, which could give them nerves on the tournament stage, but they could also emerge as one of those teams that don’t know how big a stage they are on — and keep winning. They have solid big men and a quick backcourt and could surprise enough teams to be playing deep into the tournament.
Also in the SEC, LSU has not been in the NCAA title talk since the days of Shaquille O’Neal. Freshman Ben Simmons is one of the best players in the nation, and he has the potential to put the team on his back and carry it all the way to an SEC title — if not a deep run into the NCAA tournament. The rest of the team is still trying to find its way to coalesce around Simmons’ immense talent — which has attracted the attention of no less a personage than LeBron James — and get the team deep into that bracket.
The Syracuse Orange did not start the year all that well, but given the fact that coach Jim Boeheim started the year with a nine-game suspension (and had a bunch of wins vacated) because of what the NCAA called a lack of institutional control, that’s understandable. Now that Boeheim is back, Syracuse has been playing a little better, and could make a statement in the ACC. If they can get some momentum in the ACC tournament and earn their way into the NCAA bracket, it’s conceivable that they could get on the type of roll that takes them a lot farther than people think. That 2-3 zone is a defense that not a lot of teams run, and the Orange have surprised a lot of opponents with its success.