The Big Ten and Pac-12 will highlight action Sunday in college basketball. The month of March begins today and that means the NCAA tournament and March Madness cannot be far away.
Nevertheless, teams are battling for position in their respective conferences preparing for the start of their conference tournament in less than 2 weeks.
Out west, the Oregon Ducks visit the Stanford Cardinal, while the Purdue Boilermakers visit the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Oregon followed its huge upset of Utah 69-58 last Sunday as a home dog by 4.5 points, with an important 80-69 win over California as a road dog of 2 points this past Wednesday.
The Ducks are 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread in their past eight games overall.
Stanford routed Oregon State by 27 points on Thursday as a home favorite of 9 points. However, the Cardinal is only 3-4 SU and 2-5 ATS in its past 7 games played.
Oregon is 4-1 ATS over its past five games after a win SU. The Ducks have covered 6 of their past 8 games on Sunday.
Sanford is 1-5 ATS in its past 6 games played on Sunday. The Cardinal is 6-3-1 ATS in its past 10 games played at home.
The visiting team is 5-3 SU and ATS in this matchup over the past 8 games.
Purdue visits Ohio State on Sunday as an underdog of 9.5 points. The Boilermakers have made some noise of late at 8-1 SU and ATS in its past 9 games overall. On Thursday, the Boilermakers defeated Rutgers 92-85, but failed to cover as a home favorite of 14 points.
All five Purdue starters scored 10 points or more in the win over Rutgers.
Ohio State has had a few problems down the stretch with a 3-3 SU and ATS record of its past 6 games played. However, they look strong in a rout of Nebraska 81-57 on Tuesday as a favorite at home by 13.5 points.
Purdue is 17-5 ATS over its past 22 games versus an opponent with a winning straight up record and is 6-1 ATS over its past 7 games following a win SU.
Ohio State has covered the spread in its past 6 games played at home but is 4-9 ATS over its past 13 games after a win ATS.
Head to head, the team at home is 7-2 SU over the past 9 games played. Ohio State is 4-2 ATS over the past 6 games between the two teams.
Purdue defeated Ohio State 60-58 SU and ATS as a favorite by 1.5 points.
One question for close to the entire college basketball regular season has dominated: Will the Kentucky Wildcats finished the season undefeated.
Now Kentucky is sitting at 28-0 as it head into Saturday’s big game against No. 18 ranked Arkansas. With 28 games played, the Wildcats need just 12 more wins to match the last college basketball team that finished the season undefeated, Bob Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers in 1976.
The question remains on everyone’s mind, but the odds remain against it.
Bill Self, the Kansas coach whose team lost by 32 points to Kentucky in November said at the time if the Wildcats were still undefeated in February, then a perfect season could happen.
In the 12 games that remain, some should be quite close. Prior to the end of the regular season, the Wildcats much play the Razorbacks, Florida as well as Georgia. Both the Gators and Bulldogs gave Kentucky tough games the first time they played in earlier this month.
Kentucky could play any of those same teams during the SEC tournament or even rivals such as LSU or Texas A&M.
If the Wildcats do make it out of the regular season and SEC tournament unscathed, they would still have to win 6 games of which as many as 4 could be versus ranked teams.
One analytical expert ran a calculation on Kentucky going undefeated and the Wildcats came out with a 24% change of going 40-0, earlier this season.
Kentucky’s odds of ending the regular season undefeated have gone up to over 74% at this point. Its chances of winning the SEC tournament are now 73% and over 48% of winning the national championship, says one basketball expert. Last season, no team entering the tournament had more than a 15% chance of taking home the title.
Most odds makers are giving the Wildcats just a 24% chance of winning the national championship and going undefeated, which is very high for something that has not been accomplish for the past 39 years.
Nevertheless, it will take excellent coaching from head coach John Calipari since his players are between 18 and 22 years of age, with the majority less than 20 and pressure situations, which will only increase as they continue winning, will make it hard on the young players.
Having recorded its first No. 1 ranking since 1992 earlier this week, Michigan now finds itself at the top of the College Basketball Futures list.
Michigan (20-1, 7-1 Big Ten) tops the list with 5/1 odds of winning the 2013 NCAA men’s basketball tournament in March. Last week, the Wolverines were 6/1 in the same category.
Following wins over Purdue (home) and Illinois (road), John Beilein’s side remained one of only two Division I schools to continue forward with just one loss on its record, the other being Kansas.
Michigan celebrated its top ranking on the Futures list with a 68-46 drubbing of Northwestern on Wednesday night. The Wolverines will now look ahead to Saturday’s huge matchup with Indiana.
After topping the Futures list last week, Indiana (19-2, 7-1 Big Ten) now finds itself in second place. Odds of the Hoosiers winning the March tournament stand at 11/2, down from last week’s 5/1.
Indiana scored a big win over Michigan State on Sunday to follow-up Wednesday’s win over Penn State, a team winless in conference play. That was enough to see Tom Crean’s side remain a high contender.
The Hoosiers prepared for their big Saturday night showdown with Michigan by handing Purdue a lopsided 97-60 defeat on Wednesday night. Expect Saturday’s winner to top next week’s Futures chart.
After scoring convincing wins over Georgia and Mississippi State on the road last week, Florida (17-2, 7-0 SEC) finds itself moving one spot up the list to reside in third. Odds of the Gators winning the tournament currently stand at 7/1, representing an improvement on last week’s 9/1.
The Gators are the current form team in the SEC and will be looking at a big showdown this weekend with Ole Miss (17-3, 6-1 SEC). Momentum will be on the side of the Gators – unbeaten in conference play – who handed South Carolina a 75-36 defeat on Wednesday. Ole Miss meanwhile fell to Kentucky on Tuesday.
Whilst Michigan may be sitting pretty atop the AP rankings, Kansas (19-1, 7-0 Big 12) took that honor on the USA Today Coaches Poll. Bill Self’s side recorded wins over Kansas State (road) and Oklahoma (home) en route to the preferred position.
Bookmakers are less keen on the Jayhawks though, assigning the school odds of 15/2 to win the tournament. Whilst that’s an improvement on last week’s 9/1 odds, it’s still only good enough for fourth. That won’t sit well with a team that believes it is the best in the country.
Having won a scrappy game against West Virginia on Monday night, Kansas will host Oklahoma State (14-5, 4-3 Big 12) – winners of a close game against Iowa State on Wednesday – on Saturday.
A midweek hammering by Miami (FL) was always going to see Duke (18-2, 5-2 ACC) fall down the AP rankings, and it wasn’t a huge leap to think the Blue Devils might slip on the Futures list.
The side from Durham, N.C., did just that. Odds of the school winning the tournament marginally fell from 15/2 to 8/1, putting Coach K’s side in fifth place on the list. (Both Florida and Kansas did a spot of leapfrogging here). A win over Maryland may have prevented those odds dropping even further.
The Blue Devils posted a first true road win of the season on Wednesday, defeating Wake Forest 75-70. The side now looks to this weekend’s clash with Florida State (12-8, 4-3 ACC) to continue making the climb back to the top.
Louisville (12/1), Arizona (14/1), Syracuse (14/1), Gonzaga (20/1), and Ohio State (22/1) round out the top 10 schools on the Futures list.
Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio State are joined by a further three Big Ten sides in the top 25. Michigan State (33/1), Minnesota (33/1), and Wisconsin (50/1) each makes the list’s upper echelons, which plays out as a testament to how tough the conference is this year.
The ACC is the next most successful conference, with four teams appearing in the top 25. Alongside Duke, Miami (25/1), North Carolina State (30/1), and North Carolina (40/1) represent the conference.
Out west, Oregon (18-3, 7-1 Pac-12) may well be making tracks up the Pac-12 and AP rankings, but bookmakers are yet to respect the upstart Ducks. Dana Altman’s side has been assigned odds of 50/1 to win the tournament this year. That figure puts the side joint 21st on the list, and below conference rivals UCLA (33/1). Wednesday night’s 76-52 loss in Stanford might be enough to suggest the bookies are right to stay away from the Ducks.
Odds to Win NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament
Michigan Wolverines 5/1
Indiana Hoosiers 11/2
Florida Gators 7/1
Kansas Jayhawks 15/2
Duke Blue Devils 8/1
Louisville Cardinals 12/1
Arizona Wildcats 14/1
Syracuse Orange 14/1
Gonzaga Bulldogs 20/1
Ohio State Buckeyes 22/1
Kentucky Wildcats 25/1
Miami Hurricanes 25/1
North Carolina State Wolfpack 30/1
Creighton Bluejays 33/1
Michigan State Spartans 33/1
Minnesota Golden Gophers 33/1
UCLA Bruins 33/1
Cincinnati Bearcats 40/1
North Carolina Tar Heels 40/1
Pittsburgh Panthers 40/1
Butler Bulldogs 50/1
Missouri Tigers 50/1
Oregon Ducks 50/1
UNLV Rebels 50/1
Virginia Commonwealth Rams 50/1
Wisconsin Badgers 50/1
For an extended list of odds – which includes 55 teams – visit Bovada.