Who Would No. 1 Seeds Be in NCAA Tournament as of Today

If the college basketball season ended today, who would the four No. 1 seeds be? According to odds on Bovada and topbet, the four top seeds would be Kentucky, Duke, Wisconsin and Arizona.

It is near the beginning of March, which is college basketball’s most important month and just around the bend in less than three weeks is Selection Sunday.

Observers everywhere in college basketball are giving their opinions on what the 2015 Tournament field would consist of and what teams would be the No. 1, 2, 3 seeds and so on. Odds makers are betonline and sportsbook.com have also released their odds on the same.

If the season were to end today, the four top seeds based on odds we be Kentucky, which is 4 to 5 to win the national championship, Wisconsin sitting at 6 to 1, Duke at 10 to 1 and the Virginia Cavaliers at 12 to 1. The overall No. 1 seeds would hands down be the Kentucky Wildcats.

While both Gonzaga and Arizona share the same odds at 12 to 1 as Virginia, the Cavaliers would get the nod over the two because of their power ranking.

Another tie that would have to be broken for a No. 2 seed would be between Villanova and Kansas who are both at 30 to 1 to win the title. That seed would likely go to Villanova based on two things. The power rankings and on Monday night the Jayhawks lost to Kansas State to put their Big 12 regular season championship in jeopardy. Villanova on the other hand has won 8 straight including two over teams that were ranked at the time.

Of course, it is very early for answers to who will be the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. There are two weeks left of the regular season followed by conference end of the season tournaments and the remaining games along with conference tournament outcomes will influence the selection committee going forward.

Kentucky has a tough game against Arkansas this weekend, while Wisconsin must play No. 14 ranked Maryland Tuesday night. Therefore, anything can still happen to stir up the pot and likely will before it is all over.

Four Projected No. 1 Seeds
KENTUCKY 4 to 5
WISCONSIN 6 to 1
DUKE 10 to 1
VIRGINIA 12 to 1

A Look at Favorites and Long-Shots As I Pick the Final Four

Donovan
Donovan
Billy Donovan points the way to Florida's third basketball championship.

The NCAA Basketball Tournament starts today and like the rest of you, my brackets are completed and have been submitted. I’m certainly not going to bore you with every one of my picks but in case you want to throw some last minute money on a team I’m going to give you the odds on the favorites and a couple of long-shots as well as my Final Four.

Florida 11/2 – I really don’t care how good or bad a conference is. If you go unbeaten in conference play you’re doing something right. This has been the most consistent team all year long despite having a very average offense. The defense is very good and Coach Billy Donovan has solid senior experience.

Michigan State 7/1 – The Spartans have become the overwhelming pick to not only get to the Final Four but to win the whole thing as well. Their run through the Big Ten Tournament masked some of the issues that plagued them in the season including their bevy of injuries. Are they peaking at the right time?

Louisville 13/2 – Speaking of peaking at the right time, the defending National Champs blitzed the field in their conference tournament and quite frankly, deserved a higher seed. Louisville will have experience on their side but they are under .500 in single-digit games and their free throw shooting is brutal.

Miller
Sean Miller has the Wildcats in prime position for a title run.

Arizona 9/1 – Since losing forward Brandon Ashley the Wildcats have gone 9-4. They were 21-0 prior to that. Despite the loss, I still think the ‘Cats are a threat because of their defense. If they can get just enough offense from their guards and big men they have a serious shot.

Virginia 10/1 – The Cavs aren’t exactly a scoring machine but they make up for that loss of points with stifling defense. They have held opponents to around 55 points per game. In the big dance, you win with defense, rebounding and a solid backcourt and Virginia has all three.

Wichita State 10/1 – What can you say? The Shockers are 34-0; score 74 points per game while giving up almost 20 points less per game. They have plenty of experience from last year’s Final Four run and play very efficient basketball. Do you trust their weak schedule though?

Kansas 10/1 – The Jayhawks will begin the tourney without Joel Embiid for at least the first round and possibly more. I would go so far as to say I don’t think you’ll see him at all. KU is just 2-3 since his back injury and their turnovers need to be reduced. Andrew Wiggins can carry this team but how far?

Duke 12/1 – My concern with the Blue Devils is rebounding and going cold. They rely so heavily on the three-point shot that going cold is a death sentence. Jabari Parker can take over games at times but he will need help to advance the Dookies very far.

Long-Shots (50/1 or Lower)

Ohio State 66/1 – The Buckeyes started so well this season and never really seemed to recover from their mid-season swoon. Thad Matta can flat-out coach in the tournament so keep an eye on them.

Providence 200/1 – The Friars come in as hot as anyone having blown through the competition to win the Big East. They aren’t real deep which is an issue but they rebound well and knock down their free throws as well.

North Carolina State 300/1 – The Wolfpack picked up a couple of big wins in the ACC Tournament to get themselves into a play-in game. They took advantage by beating Xavier to make the Big Dance. They must improve their three-point shooting and foul shooting to have a legitimate chance.

Tulsa 1,000/1 – The Golden Hurricane has won 11 straight games and is coached by Danny Manning who once carried Kansas to a National Title. Why couldn’t he do the same from the bench?

FINAL FOUR PICKS: Florida, Arizona, Louisville, Iowa State.

NATIONAL CHAMPION: Florida. Good defense, leadership, coaching and consistency add up to a title.

Conference Tournaments Offer Wagering Opportunities Too

NCAA
NCAA
Don't wait for the Big Dance! Start March Madness with some conference tourney wagering.

While many conference tournaments are already underway across the country, the ‘big boys’ start their tournaments next week. We are just nine days from Selection Sunday and while the little conferences have their say in who will represent them, the larger conferences have no such worries.

Conferences like the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and so on know they will have multiple schools getting into the big dance while conferences like the Ohio Valley or SWAC are more than likely looking at just one team, the conference champion, getting in.

Fair or not, that’s the way basketball in the collegiate ranks works. It’s also why we as fans pay so little attention to these tournaments until their championship games are set. Even then our interest is little and is much more focused on the major conference tournaments ahead.

If you are already foaming at the mouth at the thought of filling out your NCAA brackets then I have something to tide you over. Many of you are already doing this but I know many of you aren’t and you are missing out!

I’m always on the lookout for numerous ways to gamble around the office. It’s a good way to build morale and goodwill in the workplace. All too often, we assume that there is nothing to do between the Super Bowl and the NCAA Tournament and I’m telling you that just isn’t so.

Depending upon where you live in the United States, you should be holding a conference tournament pool based on your nearest major conference.

If you live in Texas then you should be hosting an office pool for the Big 12 Conference Tournament or perhaps the SEC Tournament for you A&M folks.

If you’re in the upper Northeast you should have an American Athletic Conference Tournament pool or ACC if you’re in New York, Boston or Western PA.

Big Ten
Get a bracket just like this for all the major conferences and get your co-workers involved.

I think you get the idea….

What you’ll want to do is just set up a very standard bracket. For the Big Ten, you can print them right off at BigTen.org. The amount of money you decide per entry is up to you and hopefully you’ve been your office’s ‘gaming commissioner’ long enough to know whether $2 per sheet is good or if $20 per sheet is the number.

I suggest filling out the bracket as you would any NCAA bracket but there a couple of things to consider. Because you’re dealing with a small amount of games, you might want to give point values to each round of the conference tournament.

This will help eliminate some potential ties but it won’t alleviate all of them. Therefore, you’ll need a tie-breaker and I have two such ways of going about this.

The most standard practice is to go with “Write in the final score of the conference championship game.” You could use point spread first or use closest in terms of total points for the tie-breaker as well.

The other option for tie-breaker (or as a second tie-breaker if you have a small number of players) is to have each entrant choose the tournament’s most valuable player. This can be quite fun because almost always we see teams make runs to the conference title game that we never saw coming.

That means a larger pool of players to potentially choose from.

Regardless of what you do, don’t wait around for Selection Sunday and March Madness. Get the madness going sooner by wagering on conference tournaments next week. Good luck!