We all want to feel like the smartest guy in the room. That’s what happens when you win your office NCAA bracket pool. It’s time to put down your Excel spreadsheets and start paying attention to college basketball. Check out who is starting to look like a March Madness betting favorite at this stage of the season.
Having a hard time picking between the Final Four teams in your bracket? The best way to maximize your March Madness earnings is to also throw some money on some of your favorites.
Kentucky, Duke, Gonzaga and Virginia are all having great seasons. We pick a few favorites and a sleeper.
Kentucky (22-0) – It’s hard to not bet on Kentucky to win the NCAA Tournament. They are undefeated and have possibly the deepest roster in college basketball history. The Wildcats have as many as ten guys on their team who will be on an NBA roster one day.
Duke (19-3) – The only team that can match Kentucky’s size is Duke. Super rookie Jahlil Okafor will be the #1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Coach K has them disciplined and he always seems to win a title when he can out-match the talent in the paint.
Gonzaga (23-1) – I know, Gonzaga has been in this position before and hasn’t been able to get past the Elite Eight or Final Four. This year’s team is a little different. They lead college basketball in Field Goal Percentage (53.3%). They move the ball around and wait for the perfect shot.
Virginia (20-1) – We all knew Virginia would be good, but no one expected them to be great. There isn’t one stat that jumps out as to explain the reason the Cavaliers have been on a tear. Defense doesn’t always show up on a boxscore. They have been holding their opponents to scoring in the 50’s. Georgia Tech only scored 28 points…for an entire game. Defense could play a huge role in the tournament.
Northern Iowa (21-2) – The Panthers are my sleeper team. Missouri Valley Conference teams have historically done very well in the NCAA Tournament. They control the pace of the game well. The conference as a whole is very underrated. ESPN rarely shows any regular season highlights from the conference, but they do show up in March. Northern Iowa always takes the best shot and they take their sweet time doing so. They rarely get to 70 points in a game, but they hold their opponents in high-40’s and low-50’s.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.