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.

Iowa State’s starting center Jameel McKay remains suspended

Iowa State forward Jameel McKay celebrates on the court at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 82-77. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.

“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”

McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.

“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.

AP POLL: Villanova climbs to No. 1 in the country.

Jay Wright
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.

And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.

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The biggest shock to me?

The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.

They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.

Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?

Here is the rest of the AP Poll:

1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)

DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas