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NCAA Basketball News and Notes: Early Odds On Next Champion

Odds on NCAA basketball have returned to sportsbooks. The 2020-21 champion may not play a full season, but if a champion is crowned, we want you to know who to bet on.

Gonzaga (+800) and Baylor (+800) are the co-favorites to bring home the title. They are followed closely by Villanova and Virginia (both at +900), Iowa (+1000), Creighton and Kansas (+1100), and Kentucky (+1200). Duke is usually in the top five when it comes to national title odds, but it is ninth on the list at +1400.

Of that group, the only team that isn’t worthy of a bet is Iowa at +1,000. They don’t have the talent, or the coaching pedigree, to be on this list. I would have liked them at a long shot around +2500, but there is too much love for the Hawkeyes.

Everyone always wants to take a long shot and hit a big payday, but the favorites are usually the way to go. The only time in this century a team greater than +2500 has won a national title was UConn in 2013-14 at +9500. They are the other team to win it at +2500 in 2010-11.

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Florida at +2000 is a team I would take a look at if you are looking for a big return on investment. They have talent, but they severely underperformed last year.

The Basketball Tournament Starts Strong

The Basketball Tournament, or TBT, kicked off on the Fourth of July. The tournament is filled with alumni teams from colleges across America.

The most impressive of the alumni teams to play on opening day was the House of Paign. The Illinois alumni, with Mike Daum, easily handled the Auburn alumni (War Tampa), 76-53.

Daum and Andres Feliz will need to carry this team’s offense if they are to advance past the overall No. 1 seed in Carmen’s Crew. Carmen’s Crew is an Ohio State alumni team that took home the trophy last year.

This should be a great Big Ten matchup that should result in some very good basketball. I like the House of Paign’s chances of pulling off the upset. All TBT games can be seen on the ESPN family of networks.

Maker Selects Howard

Makur Maker, the five-star center, became the highest-rated prospect to ever commit to an HBCU. Howard will immediately become the best player in the MEAC and will most likely make Howard the favorite to win the conference.

Maker won’t have the talent around him to have a realistic chance to pull off an upset if the Bison do make the NCAA Tournament, but he immediately brings attention to HBCU and MEAC basketball. Both badly need a positive note after the long-term viability of the conference has come into question.

Maker will most likely be a top five pick, and it didn’t matter where he chose to play his college season. While he won’t face the level of competition as if he would have selected a blue-blood school, this may open the floodgates for other top prospects to choose HBCUs in the future.

Pitino Suggests Shortened Season

Rick Pitino, the coach of Iona, tweeted the idea of starting the 2020-21 season in January and playing a conference-only season. While Pitino isn’t exactly in the NCAA good graces, the idea does hold some water.

With the coronavirus seeming to be heading in the wrong direction, a shortened late starting season may be a good idea. A January start would give universities, and scientists, more time to figure out what to do and either a cure or vaccine for the virus.

While teams would lose money from a conference-only season, it would keep student-athletes and staff much safer. It would reduce travel and limit exposure. If the NCAA really wants to look at keeping everyone safe, and not money, looking at Pitino’s idea wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

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