The college hoops schedule is in the final month of play and we are starting to get a clearer picture of the teams that may end up competing in the March Madness. I’ve outlined teams that have the best odds (still Duke at +170) and provide the best value (Kentucky +900), and now I’m going to focus my attention on teams that you should fade when the national tournament begins.
Bovada has Duke still the favorite at +170 followed by Michigan and Tennessee at +750, Virginia at +800 and Kentucky at +900 to round out the top five teams to win the NCAA Tournament.
Kansas Jayhawks (+1600)
When the preseason AP Top 25 was released, it was the Kansas Jayhawks topping the list. They were overtaken by Duke after its terrific start to the season but returned to the top spot after then-No. 1 Gonzaga fell to Tennessee and UNC in December. However, the Jayhawks have fallen down to 13th this week and following a loss at Kansas State on February 5, I expect them to tumble further.
The reason I don’t see Kansas pushing for a national championship this year is its inability to win on the road. The Jayhawks have played 11 games away from home this season, including neutral-site games, and have a 5-6 SU record, going 1-6 SU in their true road games. Kansas pours in 80.92 ppg at the Allen Fieldhouse, scoring fewer than 80 points in just five of its 12 games there. However, it scores just 66.57 ppg in true road games, topping 70 points only twice in those seven games. In neutral-site contests, it averaged 79.75 ppg with half the games going under 80 points.
Although the Jayhawks swept their four neutral-site games, three of them against then- or now-ranked teams, I just think they are going to struggle away from home in the tournament and at +1600 I really don’t see any value there.
Virginia Tech (+6000)
Virginia Tech has been ranked in the AP poll all season, reaching as high as ninth last month, and is currently ranked 11th, while sitting 16th on the oddsboard. At +6000, the Hokies seem like a decent wager, especially after they dismantled then-No. 23 NC State in front of its home fans 47-24 – that’s not the halftime score, that was the final. However, that was just the second win over a ranked opponent, dropping three other chances, including most recently falling 72-64 at home to then-No. 16 Louisville.
The reason I wouldn’t hitch my wagon to the Hokies is they haven’t proved they can step up in big games. In three contests against teams ranked higher than 20th, Virginia Tech is 0-3 with an average losing margin of 17, including losing by 22 at then-No. 4 Virginia. The Hokies are surrendering an average of 10 more points per game in ACC play compared to its non-conference schedule. They are also scoring 11 fewer points per game in conference play compared to non-ACC competition.
I think that the Hokies are a good team that could potentially make a Sweet 16 appearance, but I think when they tip off against tougher competition, they just aren’t at that level and will get rolled as they did against Virginia and UNC.
Here’s a look at the full list of odds to win the 2019 college hoops national championship:
|Loyola University Chicago||+25000|