Could these three college basketball teams shake things up and take it all?
The odds are in… and North Carolina, Villanova, Kansas and Duke are once again back on the map. The one difference is there are few clear-cut choices for 2017, though.
Each top squad has a few blemishes on their record, and the ones that stand out may surprise you. All three of them are from the West… and they have the makings of a team ready to take the gold.
The big name at UCLA is Lonzo Ball. Mostly because of his play, but also because of his father LaVar, who has been boasting about his son’s draft status and taking on the basketball world, one-by-one.
As for the team’s numbers, they’re off the charts. The Bruins are first in the nation in points per game and field goal percentage, while coming in third in 3-point percentage.
UCLA has won their last nine heading into the Pac-12 tourney. They’ll be deadly at +700.
Long gone are the days of Adam Morrison’s moustache, but the Zags are back and they are for real! They took No. 1 in the AP Poll mid-season, finished the year with a Top 25 best 30-1 record, and now sit fourth in the country. NCAA oddsmaker TopBet picks the Dogs to finish just outside the Final Four in fifth, but their future could be much brighter.
The Dogs led the West Coast conference and went 17-1 against teams within their conference, only one game all year against Brigham Young. They finished second in the nation in field goal percentage with .518 and second in defensive rebounds per game with 30.9.
The squad is big in the middle and on the boards, so Gonzaga could pose a real threat down the stretch.
The Wildcats are our wild card, but still put together a powerful season, finishing among the best in the stacked Pac-12 division and going 16-2 in-house. They also posted a respectable 27-4 record, which included wins over ranked squads like Michigan State and UCLA.
They are +1,500 outsiders looking in, but could make a run on the world’s biggest collegiate stage. They’ve only lost two of their last 23 down the season stretch and are entering the tournament as underdogs that could quickly become favorites.
What are your thoughts? Could these three teams take it all?