Bookmakers declared Florida favorites to win an NCAA title on Tuesday. Hours later the Gators fell to conference rivals Missouri.
Whilst Indiana held on to the top spot on the AP poll this week, it was #5 Florida that held tight to the No. 1 spot on bookmakers’ lists of NCAA tournament favorites.
Odds of the Gators winning the tournament currently stand at 5/1. That makes it two weeks in a row that Billy Donovan’s side has impressed bookmakers enough to be considered the best team in college basketball.
But as has been the case so often this season, Tuesday held one more twist in the tale. The Gators traveled to Columbia, Mo., looking to follow up an 83-52 victory over the Tigers in Gainesville, Fla., by handing the side its first home loss of the season.
Missouri had other ideas and mounted a comeback from 13 points down. With 1:15 left on the clock, senior forward Laurence Bowers hit the go-ahead shot and the Tigers never looked back. Missouri (19-7, 8-5 SEC) edged Florida (21-4, 11-2 SEC) by a final score of 63-60.
It appears that the Gators may not top the futures list for much longer.
#1 Indiana (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) may not have topped bookmakers’ list this week, but the Hoosiers put one foot forward in its bid to secure that very spot when that list is next released, defeating conference rival #4 Michigan State (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten) 72-68 on Tuesday night.
The win was that much more impressive when you consider that the Hoosiers defeated the Spartans in East Lansing, Mich., where Tom Izzo’s side had previously been unbeaten this season.
Indiana currently has odds of 11/2 to win the NCAA tournament. Those odds are likely to fall in the wake of Tuesday night’s win, whilst the top spot in the AP poll is all but a guarantee come Monday with the Hoosiers now idle until next Tuesday.
Michigan State meanwhile saw its odds shorten from 12/1 last week to 10/1 this week. Those odds may be lengthening again after this huge loss. Sunday’s game at Ohio State now becomes very important.
Alongside Indiana, #2 Miami (22-3, 13-0 ACC) is also considered 11/2 to win the tournament. Those odds have shortened from 9/1 this time last week. The Hurricanes held off Virginia 54-50 on Tuesday night, and with a trip to Wake Forest this weekend, the side looks good to hold firm both in the AP poll and on the futures list.
After three losses in four games, #7 Michigan (22-4, 9-4 Big Ten) may have defeated Penn State on Sunday but the Nittany Lions played it close for much of the game. That wasn’t lost on bookmakers. The Wolverines saw their odds of winning the championship slip slightly, dropping from 7/1 to 15/2. With Illinois and Penn State up next, John Beilein’s side has the opportunity to impress again.
In losing to Maryland on Saturday, #6 Duke (22-3, 9-3 ACC) saw its stock drop slightly, with odds of winning the NCAA tournament falling from 17/2 to 9/1. The Blue Devils will remain a popular bet with the public, while nobody will deny that this team has the potential to go all the way, despite three losses in the ACC this year. A visit to Virginia Tech (Thurs.) and a home game against Boston College (Sun.) will give Coach K’s side a chance to bounce back.
Elsewhere on the futures list, #3 Gonzaga (25-2, 12-0 WCC) not only climbed up two places on the AP poll but also saw its tournament odds cut from 18/1 to 12/1. The Zags are one of only three teams in the futures’ top 10 that saw their odds shorten (Miami, Michigan State). With home games against Saint Clara and San Diego scheduled for this week, those odds may be coming down again next week.
The dominance of the Big Ten and Big East this season reverberates through the futures’ top 25, with both conferences having six sides listed.
In addition to Indiana, Michigan State, and Michigan, the Big Ten is represented by: #18 Ohio State (18-7, 8-5 Big Ten) at 30/1; #19 Wisconsin (18-8, 9-4 Big Ten) at 50/1; and Minnesota (18-8, 6-7 Big Ten) at 60/1.
The Big East is represented by: #10 Louisville (21-5, 9-4 Big East) at 12/1; #8 Syracuse (21-4, 9-3 Big East) at 20/1; #20 Pittsburgh (20-7, 8-6 Big East) at 40/1; Cincinnati (19-7, 7-6 Big East) at 50/1; #11 Georgetown (19-4, 9-3 Big East) at 60/1; and #17 Marquette (19-6, 10-3 Big East) at 60/1.
Marquette is one of three sides to have entered the futures’ top 25 this week. The others are #14 Oklahoma State (19-5, 9-3 Big 12) at 50/1 and #13 Kansas State (21-5, 10-3 Big 12) at 60/1.
Odds to Win NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament
Miami (FL) 11/2
Michigan State 10/1
Ohio State 30/1
North Carolina State 40/1
New Mexico 50/1
Oklahoma State 50/1
Kansas State 60/1
All odds supplied by Bovada.