March Madness Odds – Who Will Win the 2019 National Championship?
We’re just a few weeks removed from Virginia cutting down the nets for the first time in the program’s history.
It’s a good thing Tony Bennett and his squad got to taste what winning a National Championship felt like in 2019 because 2020 will be about replenishing the talent in Charlottesville.
First, it was Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter who decided to leave school early and enter the 2019 NBA Draft. The very next day, Final Four MOP Kyle Guy decided to forego his senior year at UVA and throw his hat into the ring as well.
Talk about rebuilding your program after watching players leave early. Duke has to withstand seeing their top three freshmen all skip town.
The good news is Tre Jones is returning, and the top overall recruit in the country (Vernon Carey Jr.) is on his way to Durham.
In fact, the bookmakers are so confident in Coach K and his team that many online betting sites have already installed the Blue Devils as the favorites to win the 2020 National Championship!
When you consider the gaping holes that are left after the departures of Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish, this says a lot about the program.
Personally, it’s a bit early for me to deem Duke as the justified betting favorite, but only time will tell.
I plan on discussing a few teams who I could see emerging as the next national champs, and I’d also like to highlight some of the other notable underclassmen who have already declared for the draft.
But let’s first take a peek at the early March Madness odds for 2020.
Odds to Win the 2020 National Championship
I briefly mentioned that Duke is sitting atop the totem pole in terms of the betting favorites, but Kentucky is hot on their trail. John Calipari’s bunch can never be counted out, nor can the team in East Lansing.
Like Michigan State, the defending champion Virginia Cavaliers are right there at +800 with a chance to repeat. Do any of these prices catch your eye?
Who’s Leaving Early?
I alluded to Virginia and Duke each having to wave goodbye to their top three players respectively. However, Wahoo Nation and the beloved Blue Devils loyalists aren’t the only fan bases around the country who had to bid farewell to key members of their teams.
Here’s a look at some of the other premier talents in college basketball who have entered their name into this summer’s NBA Draft. Keep in mind that the nine men below are all projected to be lottery picks.
- Ja Morant – PG – Murray State
- Rui Hachimura – F – Gonzaga
- Coby White – PG – North Carolina
- Jarrett Culver – SG/SF – Texas Tech
- Jaxson Hayes – PF/C – Texas
- Bruno Fernando – C – Maryland
- Keldon Johnson – SG – Kentucky
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker – SG – Virginia Tech
- Nassir Little – SF – North Carolina
The Tar Heels are fortunate that Roy Williams is such a terrific recruiter because you can argue that North Carolina is losing their top five players from last season’s Sweet 16 team.
Luke Maye, Cameron Johnson, and Kenny Williams were all seniors, while freshmen Coby White and Nassir Little are making the jump into the NBA this summer. Big man Armando Bacot out of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, leads the way for the class of incoming freshman who will enroll at UNC in the fall, but forward Garrison Brooks will need to assume a much bigger role during his junior year.
At +1400 to win it all right now, I just can’t get on board placing the bet on North Carolina.
Who does have a chance to be the last team standing?
Kentucky Will Be Loaded With Diaper Dandies Once Again
Sophomore P.J. Washington joined freshmen Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson as Wildcat players who won’t be returning to Lexington next semester. While most teams would struggle to replace such productive and gifted players, John Calipari just keeps the wheels churning like clockwork.
Tyrese Maxey is inked in, and Kahlil Whitney has given his verbal commitment. Both are rated as top-10 incoming freshmen according to rivals.com class of 2019 rankings.
Keion Brooks is the 5th-ranked small forward and at 6’7” can do a bit of everything on the court. Trust me when I tell you the dude is a freakish athlete, or just press play below and witness it first-hand.
Kentucky is known for rotating freshman in and out of the program year after year, yet they still always seem like a legitimate contender who could win the National Championship. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that 2020 won’t be more of the same.
Can Texas Tech Get Back to the Final Four?
It looks like Texas Tech’s run to the final game was a bit of a “Cinderella Story” after all. The oddsmakers have listed the Red Raiders at +3300 to win the 2020 National Championship, perhaps slighting them considering what Chris Beard has proven he can accomplish.
With that being said, if Beard can take Texas to the Final Four on back-to-back occasions, he might just be the best college basketball coach on the planet.
Jarrett Culver, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, is heading to the NBA where he will undoubtedly be a top-10 pick. Matt Mooney, Tariq Owens, and Brandone Francis were seniors and have all moved on. This leaves point guard Davide Moretti as the only returning Red Raider basketball player who averaged more than 18 minutes per game. This may seem like a reason to automatically count Texas Tech out, and I’m sure some are ready to hand the Big 12 crown right back over to the Kansas Jayhawks.
But those are the same individuals who haven’t watched Jahmius Ramsey or Terrance Shannon Jr. play basketball. Jahmius Ramsey is a walking highlight reel, and the scary part for opposing teams in the Big 12 Conference is that Terrance Shannon Jr. might even be more explosive.
I fully anticipate Coach Beard piecing his roster together and maintaining one of the most ferocious and efficient defenses in the country. If you think the Red Raiders can make another run deep into March, don’t wait until they start the year hot and fall to +2000 or worse.
Lock them in now at +3300 while you still can.
Will Michigan State Be the Best Team in the Nation?
So long as Cassius Winston returns for his senior year and doesn’t skip out on his final year of eligibility, the answer to this question could very easily be yes.
Kenny Goins and Matt McQuaid had integral roles and will no doubt be missed, but I doubt the Spartans miss a beat whatsoever. Josh Langford will have had plenty of time to rehab his injured ankle, and Xavier Tillman will play even more minutes.
Tom Izzo only played Marcus Bingham Jr. 3.5 minutes per game in 2018/2019, but the big man from Grand Rapids promises to be a much bigger piece to the puzzle this time around.
Michigan State signed Mark “Rocket” Watts, an exciting combo guard who will plug into the rotation immediately upon arrival. Malik Hall is a 6’8” forward who will need to bulk up in order to bang elbows down low in the Big Ten, but his potential to be a superstar is undeniable.
Right now, Duke and Kentucky might be the popular picks, and I’m sure many who bet on March Madness will flock toward investing in what Coach K and Coach Calipari will be bringing to the table.
My 2020 March Madness Pick
But if I had to secure a single bet on who will win the 2020 National Championship at this very moment, I’m siding with the Michigan State Spartans. They came oh-so-close to reaching the final game this past season, only to be denied in the Final Four by an outstanding Texas Tech unit.
I like MSU’s mixture of young and experienced players, and I love the idea that they’ll be playing tough and meaningful games throughout the entire season. 2020 will mark the 20-year anniversary of Tom Izzo capturing his first and only title with Michigan State, and what better way to celebrate than to go out on top once again?
It’s probably much too early to try and predict how things will shake out. We still don’t know how rosters will shape up, and we’re nearly a full year away from the 2020 National Championship being played.
But do you have any doubts about Michigan State being loaded with aptitude? Do you have any qualms that Tom Izzo won’t get the most out of his players?
I sure don’t.
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