Another week has come and gone in the NCAA men’s hoops regular season and although there was some shuffling near the top of the rankings, Indiana stayed steady at the top spot. While the Hoosiers have maintained the No. 1 ranking for more weeks than any other team in the country, the Gonzaga Bulldogs crept a little closer to mighty Indiana, climbing up to the No. 2 spot, which is the highest Gonzaga has ever been ranked in its school’s history.
The Hoosiers nabbed the nearly unanimous weekly selection by knocking off Big Ten rival Michigan State on the road on Tuesday by a score of 72-68. Indiana guard Victor Oladipo led the way for his team with 19 points, including the game’s final six and he did all of this on an injured ankle.
“I was probably 85-90 but plus the adrenalin and the fans it got me to 100 percent,” Oladipo said, via USA Today.
Even after badly injuring the ankle a week ago against Purdue, which caused him to leave the game, Oladipo was not going to miss playing in what was perhaps the biggest regular season game of his career against a fifth ranked Spartans squad.
“You would have had to have killed me in order for me to have missed this game,” Oladipo said.
The win marked the first for Indiana at Michigan State since 1991. They had lost their last 17 games at the Breslin Center, but this year’s team has proven to be a group of true road Warriors, as the Hoosiers have won six of seven on the road this season and have gone 6-0 against ranked opponents.
Not to be outdone, the Bulldogs of Gonzaga continued to dominate opponents this week and with the help of a Miami upset loss, they were able to rise to the No. 2 spot in the AP Poll for the first time ever. Now the Zags have their sights on that No. 1 spot as they look to finish the season strong.
Gonzaga is now 27-2 on the season and are winners of ten games in a row. Their 81-50 victory against San Diego on Saturday also clinched at least a share of the WCC title, which makes 12 conference titles in 13 years for the Zags. They lost the conference championship to Saint Mary’s last year after owning it 11 years in a row.
We know where these teams rank in the AP Poll, but where do they stand in the NCAA Tournament futures odds? Currently Bovada.lv has the Hoosiers at No. 1 there too with 9/2 odds to take home the championship, while the Bulldogs slide in at the six spot with 9/1 odds.
Most bettors and odds makers have given the Hoosiers the best chance to win the title all year and with the wealth of talent and experience they have, we can see why. The Hoosiers are certainly deserving of their ranking and their odds, but when it comes to the Bulldogs, things are a little more iffy. Gonzaga’s only two losses have come against top 15 ranked teams, but those are the only games against top 15s that the Zags have played. Their biggest win of the season came against #22 Oklahoma State, which is their only win against a ranked team all year.
This past week Indiana proved it can hang with and beat the best teams in the country, while Gonzaga has yet to prove the same. For now, I would stay away from the Zags at 9/2, but consider the Hoosiers at 9/1 a pretty lucrative looking wager.