The college basketball regular season is winding down, which means March Madness is right around the corner. The best in college basketball are gearing up for conference tournaments, Selection Sunday and then the madness of the NCAA Tournament. Here is a look at the top teams when it comes to NCAA Tournament betting futures.
North Carolina are the favorites (+550), led by a high-powered offense that is seventh in the nation in points scored. The Tar Heels also lead the country in rebounding by a wide margin, including on the offensive glass, which is giving them many extra possessions. Roy Williams has an experienced team, led by Justin Jackson, and they are motivated by the stinging loss in the championship game to Villanova last season.
UCLA is next in line (+700) while Gonzaga and Kansas share the same price (+750). UCLA leads the nation in points per game while point guard Lonzo Ball leads the nation in assists in what figures to be his only season in college basketball. Gonzaga are still a favorite despite having their run for an unbeaten season stopped by BYU this past weekend. That loss might actually help them be a little more focused heading into the tournament. The Zags are 10th in the nation in points allowed and have displayed their defensive prowess against some of the best teams. In four games against ranked opponents, they have not allowed more than 71 points.
As for the Jayhawks, they are 18th in the country in points scored with Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III forming one of the best one-two punches in the NCAA. However, the Jayhawks are 167th in points allowed, so they have to improve at that end of the floor.
Duke (+900) is always a popular bet as the Blue Devils have been hit hard by injuries all season - including head coach Mike Krzyzewski. That has hurt their ability to be consistent but the Blue Devils do have a talented freshman in forward Jayson Tatum, who should be one of the top lottery picks outside of UCLA's Ball, Washington's Markelle Fultz and Florida State's Jonathan Isaac.
The defending champions from Villanova (+1200) are currently the No. 2 team in the nation according to the Associated Press but they are further down the list according to the oddsmakers. The Wildcats are powered by two seniors (Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins, who made the title-winning shot) and a sophomore (Jalen Brunson) who played major roles last season. The onus is on the rest of the squad to follow their lead. The Oregon Ducks are priced the same as Villanova and are led by Dillon Brooks. He helps pace a balanced offense that is 54th in scoring and they are 35th in points allowed.
Kentucky (+1200), Louisville (+1400) and Arizona (+1400) wrap up the top tier of teams. The Wildcats are again powered by a talented group of freshmen with Malik Monk leading the way. However, Kentucky is also 190th in points allowed and that could be their downfall. Arizona and Louisville are 30th and 31st in points allowed, respectively, but the Cardinals are 93rd in points scored, and Arizona is 128th. Balance seems to be an issue, which is why they're further down the list of college basketball betting futures.