The best betting sites are favouring the North Carolina Tar Heels to win the NCAA Men’s basketball championship more than ever now that the Villanova Wildcats and the Duke Blue Devils have exited, stage left. For a little bit of back-story, both Nova and Duke were ousted in the second round of the NCAA tournament – colloquially known as March Madness – by Wisconsin and South Carolina respectively. The Wildcats were – actually still are, for now – the reigning national champions, and the Blue Devils are the Blue Devils. Well, so long Duke, time to go back to Hazzard County. Bye Nova; someday we will find you, caught beneath the landslide, in a Champagne Villanova in the sky.
Meanwhile, UNC beat the Arkansas Razorbacks in what may have been the greatest comeback in school history. Statistically speaking. According to the Go Heels.com sportsball writer Adam Lucas, “research by the UNC athletic communications crew has suggested that Carolina has never trailed by a greater margin with less time to play and still come back to win an NCAA Tournament game.” as one might recall, North Carolina’s greatest comeback-that-never-was took place – or didn’t – against Villanova in last year’s championship game. UNC trailed 67-57, with 4:47 left, but mounted an epic rally that culminated in Marcus Paige nailing an off-balance three-pointer to tie it at 74 with 4.7 seconds left. We all know how that ended up though.
Thus, the Tar Heels have one less thing to worry about this year, but North Carolina isn’t the only school whose stock has risen on the best betting sites as a result of Duke and Nova making themselves scarce. For example, the Kansas Jayhawks enter the Sweet 16 as the heavy favorite in the Midwest regional. KU has put their embarrassing elimination from the Big 12 tournament behind and entered March Madness with a one-track mind. As a matter of fact, the J-Hawks are the only No. seed that has actually looked the part. Universitas Kansiensis has won its games by a margin of plus-29 points, is shooting 54.7% from the floor, and has outrebounded opponents by a combined 30 rebounds.
But perhaps the team that stands to gain the most from Duke and Nova falling short of expectations are the Florida Gators. Florida does not have as good odds as, say, Gonzaga, generally speaking. However, the Zags were seeded No. 1 in the West Region, where they still have to contend with WVU and, barring any unforeseen event – or, as best betting sites call it, an upset – either Arizona or Xavier. Conversely, the Gators have suddenly become the bull goose in the East, where Villanova and Duke were seeded No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Now that both the Wildcats and the Blue Devils have gone kaput, Florida should have – at least in good theory – a clear path to the Elite 8, which would make it the first time since 2014. And hey, the Gators also lost in the quarterfinals of their conference tournament, just like Kansas. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.