Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Duke, Kentucky, Kansas the Vegas favorites to win title, reach Final Four

Leave a comment

Thanks to the addition of Reid Travis and Ashton Hagans to the roster for the 2018-19 season, Kentucky and Duke are now co-favorites to win the 2019 national title, according to odds released by the Westgate Sports Book in Las Vegas.

Both of the bluebloods are getting 5-1 odds to win the title and 5-4 odds to get to the Final Four, while Kansas and Oregon are sitting at 6-1 and 7-1 odds, respectively.

If you’re looking for a couple of good futures bets to make, Gonzaga at 30-1 odds to win the national title is absurdly low. For my money, the Zags are right there with Duke, Kentucky and Kansas as the best team in college basketball next season — personally, I have them second — and here they barely crack the top ten.

I also love Tennessee at 50-1 odds. The Vols are the reigning SEC champions that return the reigning SEC Player of the Year and sit in the top six of just about every preseason poll. I will certainly be holding those tickets before the odds get corrected.

Here is the full list.

TEAM TITLE ODDS FINAL FOUR ODDS
Duke 5-1 5-4
Kentucky 5-1 5-4
Kansas 6-1 5-4
Oregon 7-1 5-1
Nevada 12-1 3-1
North Carolina 18-1 9-2
Michigan State 20-1 9-2
Virginia 20-1 9-2
UCLA 20-1 7-1
Villanova 30-1 7-1
Gonzaga 30-1 7-4
Auburn 30-1 10-1
West Virginia 30-1 7-1
Michigan 40-1 7-1
Florida 40-1 10-1
Wichita State 40-1 10-1
Indiana 40-1 10-1
Purdue 50-1 12-1
Tennessee 50-1 12-1
Syracuse 50-1 12-1
Texas Tech 60-1 15-1
Florida State 60-1 15-1
Virginia Tech 60-1 15-1
Western Kentucky 75-1 75-1
Arizona State 80-1 20-1
Cincinnati 80-1 20-1
Ohio State 80-1 20-1
Clemson 80-1 20-1
Miami 80-1 20-1
NC State 80-1 20-1
Texas 80-1 20-1
Texas A&M 80-1 20-1
Kansas State 80-1 20-1
Maryland 100-1 25-1
Vanderbilt 100-1 25-1
Mississippi State 100-1 25-1
Louisville 100-1 25-1
LSU 100-1 25-1
Baylor 100-1 25-1
Penn State 100-1 25-1
Wisconsin 100-1 25-1
Xavier 100-1 25-1
St. John’s 100-1 25-1
Butler 100-1 25-1
TCU 100-1 25-1
Arizona 100-1 25-1
Arkansas 100-1 25-1
Alabama 100-1 25-1
Notre Dame 100-1 25-1
St. Joseph’s 100-1 100-1
Seton Hall 200-1 50-1
Iowa State 200-1 50-1
Missouri 200-1 50-1
San Diego State 200-1 50-1
Illinois 200-1 50-1
Providence 200-1 50-1
Southern California 200-1 50-1
Houston 200-1 50-1
Creighton 200-1 50-1
Oklahoma 200-1 50-1
Saint Mary’s 200-1 50-1
Minnesota 200-1 50-1
SMU 200-1 50-1
Memphis 200-1 50-1
South Carolina 200-1 50-1
Marquette 200-1 50-1
Georgetown 200-1 50-1
Washington 200-1 50-1
Rhode Island 200-1 50-1
Utah 200-1 50-1
Buffalo 200-1 200-1
Marshall 200-1 200-1
Northern Iowa 200-1 200-1
Richmond 200-1 200-1
Utah State 200-1 200-1
New Mexico State 200-1 200-1
Charleston 200-1 200-1
DePaul 200-1 200-1
Dayton 200-1 200-1
St. Bonaventure 200-1 200-1
VCU 200-1 200-1
Oregon State 300-1 75-1
Northwestern 300-1 75-1
Iowa 300-1 75-1
Nebraska 300-1 75-1
Goergia 300-1 75-1
Oklahoma State 300-1 75-1
UConn 300-1 75-1
Boise State 300-1 75-1
Boston College 300-1 75-1
New Mexico 300-1 75-1
UNLV 300-1 75-1
Davidson 300-1 75-1
Valparaiso 400-1 400-1
Northeastern 400-1 400-1
Montana 400-1 400-1
Georgia State 400-1 400-1
Bradley 400-1 400-1
Colorado State 400-1 400-1
Wright State 400-1 400-1
Furman 400-1 400-1
Grand Canyon 400-1 400-1
Middle Tennessee 400-1 400-1
Southern Illinois 400-1 400-1
Toledo 400-1 400-1
Louisiana 400-1 400-1
Belmont 400-1 400-1
Missouri State 400-1 400-1
La Salle 400-1 400-1
Tulane 400-1 400-1
Pennsylvania 400-1 400-1
Western Michigan 400-1 400-1
UAB 400-1 400-1
Vermont 400-1 400-1
Stanford 500-1 125-1
Illinois State 500-1 100-1
Loyola-Chicago 500-1 100-1
UCF 500-1 100-1
Wake Forest 500-1 100-1
BYU 500-1 100-1
Temple 500-1 100-1
Georgia Tech 500-1 100-1
Colorado 500-1 100-1
Ole Miss 500-1 100-1
Saint Louis 500-1 100-1
Fresno State 500-1 100-1
Harvard 500-1 100-1
Old Dominion 500-1 100-1
Rutgers 500-1 100-1
Tulsa 500-1 100-1
UC Davis 1000-1 1000-1
South Dakota 1000-1 1000-1
UNC Greensboro 1000-1 1000-1
San Diego 1000-1 1000-1
North Texas 1000-1 1000-1
Iona 1000-1 1000-1
East Tennessee State 1000-1 1000-1
Wofford 1000-1 1000-1
San Francisco 1000-1 1000-1
UC Irvine 1000-1 1000-1
UTSA 1000-1 1000-1
Kent State 1000-1 1000-1
South Dakota State 1000-1 1000-1
Massachusetts 1000-1 1000-1
Liberty 1000-1 1000-1
Yale 1000-1 1000-1
Rider 1000-1 1000-1
George Mason 1000-1 1000-1
Ball State 1000-1 1000-1
Louisiana Tech 1000-1 1000-1
Florida Gulf Coast 1000-1 1000-1
Southern Miss 1000-1 1000-1
South Alabama 1000-1 1000-1
Northern Kentucky 1000-1 1000-1
Monmouth 1000-1 1000-1
Washington State 1000-1 1000-1
Princeton 1000-1 1000-1
Cal State Fullerton 1000-1 1000-1
Stephen F. Austin 1000-1 1000-1
Jacksonville State 1000-1 1000-1
Indiana State 1000-1 1000-1
Ohio 1000-1 1000-1
Eastern Michigan 1000-1 1000-1
North Dakota State 1000-1 1000-1
Miami (Ohio) 1000-1 1000-1
Towson 1000-1 1000-1
Weber State 1000-1 1000-1
Georgia Southern 1000-1 1000-1
Bucknell 1000-1 1000-1
Illinois-Chicago 1000-1 1000-1
Seattle 1000-1 1000-1
Texas State 1000-1 1000-1
Duquesne 1000-1 1000-1
Utah Valley 1000-1 1000-1
Milwaukee 1000-1 1000-1
Hawaii 1000-1 1000-1
Wyoming 1000-1 1000-1
William and Mary 1000-1 1000-1
Albany 1000-1 1000-1
UNC Wilmington 1000-1 1000-1
California 1000-1 1000-1
UCSB 1000-1 1000-1
Cleveland State 1000-1 1000-1
Portland 1000-1 1000-1
UMBC 1000-1 1000-1
Central Michigan 1000-1 1000-1
Pittsburgh 1000-1 1000-1
Oakland 1000-1 1000-1
Evansville 1000-1 1000-1
Texas-Arlington 1000-1 1000-1

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
4 Comments

INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
7 Comments

LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

Getty Images
4 Comments

The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
4 Comments

STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.