College basketball’s 2014-2015 season is here. Time just keeps flying but I can say over the years I have not lost my passion for college basketball. It truly is a special sport to watch and of course make some cash on. This year should be as exciting as ever. As I usually do, I like to layout three potential NCAA college basketball winners to showcase.
Best Odds on Favorite: Duke 10-1
Duke did lose Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker to the NBA. Both were only at the program for one season before departing for the lure of NBA money. Do not think for once that Duke isn’t capable of replacing them. Coach K knew Parker would be gone and Hood truly was the type of player that had maximized his college potential. The depth in the backcourt with upper classmen in Rasheed Sulaimon and Quinn Cook is impressive. Last year with Hood and Parker shooting the ball at a high rate Cook and Sulaimon did not get enough looks at the basket. That’ll change this season. The back line with Amile Jefferson, Marshall Plumlee, and freshman Jahlil Okafor will be tough for the ACC and rest of the country to contain.
Best Mid-Tier Team: Louisville 35-1
I truly do not have any idea why Louisville is this undervalued. Sure they lost Luke Hancock and Russ Smith but last year the team was bogged down a bit by both. Russ took a lot of bad shots and Hancock never looked healthy like he did the season prior. The balance just was not there with the unexpected release of Chane Behanon and Kevin Ware’s decision to transfer. This season the offense will go through Montreze Harrell. Harrell has been a force since his freshman year and will be the best big man in the country in 2014-2015. Add Coach Rick Pitino’s thriving defense and sophomore Terry Rozier’s improvements from his freshman season and you have another Pitino coached team that can make a deep run in March. The step up to the ACC will help this team endure bumps early and progress in conference play through March Madness.
Best LongShot: VCU Rams 60-1
In the early summer VCU was 40-1 to win the NCAA title. The drop down to 60-1 is peculiar to me. Obviously that move has more to do with people buying major conference teams as viable title winners. The Atlantic 10 last season was the most underrated conference in college hoops to me. VCU returns several players from last year’s team and I expect their defense to crank up even higher. Don’t be surprised if they get a true at-large bid this year and make a similar run that they did as an 11th seed years ago. There only current problem is scoring efficiency on the offensive end, but if they can alleviate those woes by March look out.