Brad Stevens

National title odds: got $50 to put on Butler?

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One of my favorite things to do during college basketball’s offseason happens when a gambling website releases odds on who will win the national title.

They are currently posted over at Bovada, and no one should be surprised that Indiana is currently the favorite at 7:1. The Hoosiers are likely going to end up being the No. 1 team in the official preseason polls as they return basically their entire roster, including potential Player of the Year Cody Zeller. I am interested in whether or not Louisville (who is getting 8:1 odds) has had the addition of Montrezl Harrell factored in yet. If he is as good as some have said, the Cardinals may be the best team in the country.

Kentucky comes in third at 10:1, followed by UCLA at 12:1 and Duke, UNC and Florida at 15:1.

Those are all fairly obvious picks, however. You want some help making money? Here are a few of the picks I like:

– Michigan 20:1: The Wolverines returned Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. while adding a loaded recruiting class to a team that won a share of the Big Ten regular season title last year. They are a borderline top five team.

– Missouri 35:1: I know I’ve been hyping the Tigers all spring, but I’m enamored with this team.

– UNLV 35:1: The Runnin’ Rebels have one of the most talented and deep front courts in the country and a veteran point guard in Anthony Marshall. Playing in a tough Mountain West, they’ll be tested come March.

– Gonzaga 60:1: Kevin Pangos is the next great Gonzaga guard, and he may not even be the most talented player on the Zags’ perimeter when he shares the floor with Gary Bell. Should I mention Sam Dower and Elias Harris, too?

– Butler 65:1: Brad Stevens returns quite a bit of young talent, and while losing Ronald Nored will hurt, he’ll be replaced by Kellen Dunham and Rotnei Clarke, arguably the best shooter in the country.

Other picks: VCU (75:1), Minnesota (75:1), Harvard (100:1)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

North Carolina to wear black jerseys December 19 vs. UCLA

UNC Athletic Communications
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While there have been some alterations made to North Carolina’s basketball uniforms over the years, there haven’t been too many drastic shifts. Of course there was the move to the Alexander Julian-designed argyle print during the 1990’s, and there were also those jerseys in 1999 that had the interlocking “NC” logo as opposed to “North Carolina” on the front.

Friday the program announced a major uniform change for its game against UCLA December 19 in Brooklyn. North Carolina will be wearing black jerseys for the first time in school history. Senior guard Marcus Paige showed off the new look to his teammates, and it’s safe to say that they’re happy with the new uniforms.

Traditionalists probably won’t like the uniforms, and that’s fine. Changes such as these tend to focus more on the younger crowd (especially recruits), which in some instances like the status that can come with having something that’s both new and exclusive.

Villanova forward to undergo hip surgery

Jay Wright
Associated Press
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Two-time defending Big East champion Villanova will be down a man in its front court, as the program announced Friday that freshman forward Tim Delaney will undergo hip surgery. According to the release a torn labrum in Delaney’s left hip is the reason for the surgery, and it has yet to be determined how long the freshman will be sidelined.

“I’m disappointed for Tim,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “Tim had a great summer and preseason. He’s a very coachable young man and was picking up everything we do. The good news is that the doctors tell us this is an injury that can be fixed and we know Tim will be fully committed to his rehab.”

Villanova’s front court rotation will be led by senior Daniel Ochefu, who averaged 9.2 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds per game in 2014-15. Junior Darryl Reynolds and sophomore Kris Jenkins will also see minutes in the front court, with redshirt freshman guard/forward Mikal Bridges factoring into the competition as well.

Villanova also has Fordham transfer Eric Paschall, but he isn’t eligible to compete in games this season.