Betting websites favor the Kentucky Wildcats to win 2018 NCAA men’s basketball national championship. Hey, only 11 months left until the next March Madness.
University of Kentucky
The Wildcats finished Seasons 2016-17 atop the Southeastern Conference standings, won their 49th regular season title, and beat the Arkansas Razorbacks 82-65 to win their third straight SEC Tournament championship. Kentucky defeated Northern Kentucky, Wichita State, and UCLA in the NCAA tournament, but lost to North Carolina in the South regional finals. And speaking of losing, the Wildcats will lose, or have lost, their lead scorer, rebounder, and… assister? assistant? The guy who averaged more assists per game. Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox have decided their future lies beyond the yellow brick road and declared for the 2017 NBA draft. Edrice ‘Bam’ Adebayo has also declared but not signed with an agent, so he might possibly return next season. Might. Well, I do declare. On the other hand, head coach John Calipari will have Isaiah Briscoe, Wenyen Gabriel, and five-alarm recruit Hamidou Diallo around whom to build next season’s team around.
University of North Carolina
The Tar Heels won their 31st ACC regular season title but lost in the semis of the conference tournament to Duke. UNC received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tourney where they defeated Texas Southern, Arkansas, Butler, Kentucky, and Gonzaga to win the national championship. That’s not nearly enough for betting websites, though. The reason is simple; the Heels dominated opponents because they dominated the boards – more specifically, Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks dominated the boards, but they have both graduated. Luckily, Luke Maye has shown hints of greatness. Maye Luke is the next big man on campus in North Carolina? We think he just Maye be.
The Blue Devils won their first ACC championship since 2017 to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament where they beat Troy in the first round but lost to South Carolina in the second. We know freshman forward Harry Giles will declare for the draft after one season at Duke, in which he averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 11.5 minutes. The question is why? Why not stay put, heal that knee, get an education, et sic de ceteris? Oh well, more’s the pity. Take for instance Jayson Tatum who, after fully recovering from some nagging injuries, went on to post 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Unfortunately for Duke, Tatum will also leave for the NBA. Fortunately for coach K, though, 2017 ACC Tournament MVP Luke Kennard will be among his returning starters.
University of Kansas
If the Jayhawks lost one man and one man only to graduation and/or the NBA draft, it would still be a man that’s worth three. Frank Mason III (2017 Naismith Player of the Year, AP Player of the Year, ABC Player of the Year, Oscar Robertson Trophy winner, Sporting News Player of the Year, and Big 12 Player of the Year) has graduated and barring any unforeseen event, is headed for a very lucrative professional career. All things considered, betting websites are being kind to Kansas.