NCAA Futures: New Wildcats, Same Favorites

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: John Calipari enters this season with a brand new crop of high-ranked recruits after waving goodbye to most of his key contributors from last season. Yet, despite the high turnover at Calipari’s one-year NBA prep camp, his Kentucky Wildcats enter the 2015-16 college basketball season as the favorites to emerge victorious at March Madness next spring.

But just because oddsmakers like the new blood at Kentucky  – and defending champion Duke – it doesn’t mean everybody is in agreement. Heading into this season, the Associated Press has North Carolina leading the ranks. Both the Heels and Maryland return all major contributors and are led by a pair of guards – Marcus Paige (UNC) and Melo Trimble (Maryland) – who should be in Player of the Year discussions. The ACC will once again host the best of the best, as UNC, Duke, Maryland, and Virginia all battle for the top spot and a no. 1 tournament seed.

Of course, when the tournament finally rolls around, almost anything can happen. One thing that never does, though, is a champion emerging from smaller conference. Is this the year,Wichita St. or Gonzaga finally ends that trend? Perhaps the winner will be a team that’s not even ranked yet? Of course, we can’t spend all day setting odds for 347 different teams. (I mean, we could. But I don’t think I could come up with a number big enough number for a program called the Fighting Camels.)

So to start the season, we’ve got odds for the AP’s top 25 teams, as well as their ranking (provided in parentheses, much like this clarifying phrase).

Odds to win 2015-16 NCAA Men’s Tournament:

(2) Kentucky – 7/1
(5) Duke – 17/2
(1) North Carolina – 9/1
(3) Maryland – 10/1
(4) Kansas – 10/1
(6) Virginia – 18/1
(13) Michigan St. – 18/1
(7) Iowa State – 25/1
(12) Arizona – 25/1
(14) California – 25/1
(9) Gonzaga – 30/1
(10) Wichita St. – 30/1
(11) Villanova – 30/1
(25) Michigan – 30/1
(20) Connecticut – 35/1
(8) Oklahoma – 40/1
(15) Indiana – 40/1
(24) Butler – 40/1
(21) LSU – 50/1
(23) Purdue – 50/1
(16) Utah – 66/1
(17) Wisconsin – 66/1
(19) Notre Dame – 75/1
(18) Vanderbilt – 100/1
(22) Baylor – 100/1

(Photo Credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Flickr: 06) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)

Boris

Hockey may be a wildly unpopular sport in the U.S., but where no one is paying attention, there's a ton of value for Boris to mine. An avid NHL fan of over 20 years, Malloy made his first bet against a friend during the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals (going against Ray Bourque) and has been hooked ever since. He has yet to pay off that debt of $2, but he's made plenty back since. In between worrying about the league's next lockout, he regularly contributes to MTS and is also fluent in football, basketball, baseball and French (sort of).