2015-16 NCAA Basketball Championship Odds

2015-16 NCAA Basketball Championship Odds

Now that Duke is back on top of the college basketball world, and Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan is busy decrying “rent-a-player” methods and what he deems as poor officiating in Monday night’s title tilt, we can turn our attention to the 2015-16 college hoops season, specifically which teams are the early frontrunners to cut down the nets next April in Houston. Due to expected losses to graduation and the NBA, both the Devils and Badgers will find the sledding much more difficult to make a return trip to the Final Four. But there are plenty of familiar schools heading the list of contenders, according to Vegas. Here’s a peek at the very premature odds to win it all next year.

North Carolina 6/1 – Fitting that the other half of the best rivalry in college basketball is being touted as the team to take the 2016 championship. The Heels last seized a title in 2009, but a veteran-laden roster led by Marcus Paige, Kennedy Meeks, Brice Johnson, and J.P. Tokoto will be tough for the ACC and nation to handle. Providing they all stay put and don’t leap to the pros.

Kentucky 8/1 – John Calipari proclaimed he expects 5-8 players could exit for the NBA. He’ll still land another incoming class of blue chip prospects, but if Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Aaron Harrison make the jump, the ‘Cats will lose a glut of talent that came oh so close to running the table. Bottom line: never count out Kentucky and Calipari’s ability to reload.

Maryland 12/1 – Senior Dez Wells is gone, but with fantastic frosh Melo Trimble returning, and a pair of top-shelf recruits joining the program (most notably center Diamond Stone), head coach Mark Turgeon will have a wealth of scoring skill at his disposal. The Terps had no problem adjusting to the Big Ten schedule, so with the Badgers and Spartans in rebuild mode, 2016 could be big for Maryland.

Virginia 12/1 – The problem with the Cavs is that they are too defensively minded. Tony Bennett teaches defense like few others in the nation, but until he lands one or two premier shooters that scare opponents, he will keep coming up short on his quest to reach the Final Four.

Duke 16/1 – Even if Tyus Jones returns, the anticipated loss of Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow will leave Coach K very thin on the front line. Of course just like Kentucky, the incoming class of freshman will be loaded with Grade A players, albeit unproven.That said, if Jones does stay, he and Grayson Allen will form one of country’s most lethal backcourts.

Iowa State 18/1 – It appears Georges Niang will finish his college career, which gives the Cyclones a legit senior Player of the Year candidate. Toss in three returning double-digit scorers and a quality freshman class, and the Cyclones should be the favorites to win the Big 12.

Oklahoma 25/1 – This all hinges on Buddy Hield. The would-be senior has an NBA skill-set, so where he’s projected to go in the upcoming Draft will likely decide whether or not he heads to the pros or stays in the amateur ranks. If he bolts, the Sooners are merely average.