The Duke Blue Devils opened the season as the top-ranked men’s college basketball team in the country, but midseason struggles dropped their odds and left fans wondering if Duke could even make the tournament. A few months later and they have reclaimed that spot in the eyes of the oddsmakers as the +550 favorites to cut down the nets at the end of March Madness.
The Blue Devils are expected to jump back into the Top 10 in the rankings for the first time since Week 10 after winning their seventh straight game on Saturday, edging out the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 99-94 as 11.5-point home favorites.
Duke fell to as low as No. 21 in the national rankings on January 30th following a five-game stretch where the team went 2-3 without head coach Mike Krzyzewski on the bench due to back surgery. Since Krzyzewski’s return the Blue Devils have gone 5-0, and they are 18-2 overall with him. They went 4-3 under assistant head coach Jeff Capel.
The North Carolina Tar Heels are on top of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and they are set at +1200 to win the NCAA Championship.
The undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs are the No. 1 team in the nation according to the polls and they are listed as the +750 second choice behind Duke to win it all. The Bulldogs will more than likely head into March Madness with a perfect record and a No. 1 seed as they attempt to make it to the Final Four for the first time in school history.
The Kansas Jayhawks follow Gonzaga at +800 after a big week that saw them rally back to defeat the West Virginia Mountaineers 84-80 in overtime last Monday and then earn a huge 67-65 road victory against the Baylor Bears on Saturday. The Jayhawks are headed for a 13th consecutive conference regular-season title, taking out the two teams that could have possibly ended their run.
Regardless, the Mountaineers and Bears could be nice sleeper picks to win the national championship, with each listed at +2500. Those odds are still currently better than any of the top Big Ten teams, as the Wisconsin Badgers look to be the best of the bunch at +3300 following a 71-60 win over the Maryland Terrapins on Sunday.