After Another Baylor Loss, Kansas Now Clear-Cut Favorite To Win NCAA Tournament
We’re now less than two weeks away from Selection Sunday, which is upcoming on March 15. That means the NCAA Tournament is almost here and the smaller conference tournaments are about to start. After those, the big conference tournaments begin in one week’s time.
After another wild weekend of action, let’s look at some of the main teams to be considered for the 2020 NCAA Tournament national championship, which will be decided at the Final Four in Atlanta on the first weekend of April.
ODDS TO WIN NCAA TOURNAMENT: +600
The Kansas Jayhawks have become the betting favorite after beating the Baylor Bears just over a week ago and then watching the Bears lose at TCU this past Saturday. Kansas and Baylor were both at or near the top of the list of favorites for much of this season. Kansas has remained rock-solid while Baylor has very slightly fallen off the pace. The key for Kansas is the play of guard Devon Dotson. He complements the Jayhawks’ inside presence with a dynamic perimeter game. He scored 25 points this past weekend in a tough road win at Kansas State. If he is playing his best ball, KU will be a very tough out in March.
The concern for Kansas is the health of big man Udoka Azubuike. He has been playing hurt in recent weeks and had to leave the Kansas State game for brief periods of time this past Saturday due to more bumps and bruises. He hurt his lower back on one loose-ball scramble, and he grabbed at his ankle in a separate instance. Kansas needs him healthy, so this is a situation to monitor heading into March.
ODDS TO WIN NCAA TOURNAMENT: +1000
The Flyers have a shot at a No. 1 seed in the East Region and they’ll be a No. 2 seed at worst. Obi Toppin has been the breakout player in college basketball this season, a guy few people knew about but has taken the sport by storm. Jalen Crutcher is the Scottie Pippen to Toppin’s Michael Jordan on the Flyers, who are hoping their two best players can carry them to a deep run in March. Dayton has been playing in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Is the A-10 a good enough league to prepare Dayton for the challenges which lie ahead? Everyone is about to find out.
ODDS TO WIN NCAA TOURNAMENT: +1200
The Bears lost to TCU this past Saturday, which has really dulled their momentum. A loss to Kansas is understandable; a loss at TCU (16-13) is concerning. The Bears offense is not especially reliable, which means Baylor’s defense has to be the main engine behind the team’s success. That defense allowed 54 points to TCU in the second half of this past Saturday’s loss to the Horned Frogs.
Baylor is a well-coached and disciplined team, but it lacks superstars. If the team-oriented identity of the Bears suffers and other teams are able to outwork BU, the dream of a Final Four is going to come crashing down for Scott Drew’s bunch.
ODDS TO WIN NCAA TOURNAMENT: +1400
The Wildcats have won 16 of their last 18 games, which represents a big turnaround for a team which lost to Evansville at home and Utah on a neutral court. Just how shocking is the Evansville loss; the Purple Aces have lost all 18 of their conference games (0-18), yet somehow beat the No. 1 Wildcats earlier in the year.
Kentucky is getting balanced contributions from its roster. Immanuel Quickley scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a tough win over Auburn this past weekend, Nick Richards is a candidate for SEC Player of the Year and Tyrese Maxey is a fearless offensive player who is willing to drive to the rim and force defenses to react to what he does. Kentucky has a lot of players playing well and on the same page right now. This team is peaking at the right time.
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