Updated 2016 Odds To Win The College Hoops National Championship
It’s true that we just turned the calendar to February, but we’re really zeroing in on March Madness in NCAA basketball, as many of the college conference races are tightening up. As you start to think about who will emerge from the Final Four as the winner, let’s look at some of the latest odds going around in our online sportsbook.
The NCAAB Odds Co-Favorites (13/2): Oklahoma and North Carolina
I know what you’re thinking — Oklahoma? No, this isn’t a football poll. Oklahoma hasn’t really been a big player in the NCAA basketball conversation since the days of Billy Tubbs (no, Kelvin Sampson, your time there doesn’t count). But as the Sooners plow their way through a Big 12 that has even more land mines on the basketball schedule (Iowa State, Kansas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and even Kansas State on the right night), they build a resume that gives them a #1 seed.
As far as North Carolina goes, they might not be able to pry the regular season title on the ACC out of Virginia’s hands, but they look built to go further down the road in the tournament. It doesn’t look like the NCAA is going to rule on the massive academic fraud scandal at North Carolina during the rest of this season, so you might do well to live in the moment and put your money on them.
The Next Contenders (10/1): Duke and Maryland
Duke was flirting with life as an unranked team for one of the few times in recent memory. However, they have made things right in the ACC and are building toward what could be a strong tournament run. They have the name recognition to ensure that they won’t feel a tournament bubble burst beneath them, and they have the athleticism and the coaching to stay with first-round and second-round opponents. Maryland is an interesting team – they responded to the whipping that Michigan State delivered by turning around and upsetting the Iowa Hawkeyes at home. This is the resilient sort of team that could push deep into the tournament, where anything can happen.
Barbarians at the Gate (12/1): Iowa, Kansas, and Michigan State
It’s always a mistake to count Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans out, until you’ve looked up at the scoreboard to find that the clock has finally ticked down and you’re still ahead of them. They are a team that keeps fighting to win, with strong defense and aggressive rebounding. Kansas completed an impressive comeback win over a motivated Kentucky team in the Big 12-SEC challenge last weekend that showed that they are ready to take on big opponents on big stages. Iowa (much like during the football season) has a lot of staying power, but their loss to Maryland makes you wonder if they have enough for the toughest matchups.
Just a bit further down the rankings? Here are the next few contenders:
Virginia, Xavier (20/1)
West Virginia (25/1)
LSU, Miami, Purdue, Texas A&M, Connecticut (30/1)