We’re a long ways from the November start of the 2015-2016 college basketball season. A few weeks ago I gave out a long shot recommendation on the Syracuse Orangemen at 200-1 odds. That was value based in my eyes and has come down considerably since it was first released.
There will be several rule changes in effect next season that could cause a difference in a few outcomes.
Currently the top of the board for futures features a pro-heavy ACC list with Kentucky(SEC). Duke, Maryland, and North Carolina are all in the mix at the top of the future market. Maryland has had a blended mix of adding transfers similar to the way Gonzaga/Iowa State do, but also hit with developing key recruits that have stayed at Maryland. They have upperclassmen along with returning sophomore Melo Trimble that make them a dangerous team on paper.
Duke and Kentucky are there for obvious reasons. Coach K and Calipari have led the way of the 1 and done era.
But for the first time in the last five years I will not be picking a team from the ACC or Big East. In 2011 I picked UConn, 2012 I misfired, 2013-Louisville, 2014-UConn(Sweet 16 odds), and last year I picked Duke.
My odds on favorite heading into the 2015-2016 season will be the Kansas Jayhawks. The Big 12 did very poor last year in March Madness after being hailed as the top conference most of the season. Self and his talented Jayhawks teams have also faltered in the tournament on numerous instances.
There is no doubt he is a great coach. Before Duke won the title last year they faltered in round two to Mercer the season prior, they also had an exit caused by Lehigh a few years before that. Exiting in March does not mean a coach can’t get the job done in a matter of six to eight months.
Kansas in my opinion is under valued in the future market. Shopping around you’ll be able to find them in the range of 13-1 to 16-1.
What draws me to Kansas is their returning players. I love the nucleus in place with veterans Frank Mason, Wayne Selden, Perry Ellis, and Brannen Greene. Besides North Carolina’s veteran group there won’t be another team in the country that can match their chemistry. Kansas is also getting an early start to their season by participating in the World University Games in July.
Recruiting wise they’ve added two top 25 players in Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg. Both will help fill a void on the inside to a team that was too perimeter oriented last season. Their raw talent will provide the necessary hustle plays you look for in talented tall freshman. That mix usually goes well with a veteran group.
The word parity gets tossed around too much in college basketball. To me there is a big gap from the top ten teams in college basketball to the next five and on and on. You have a lot of teams that have minimal depth that fade in February and March as a result. How often players are transferring is also hurting the development of schools that would have a chance to lift from a top 15-25 team into the top ten.
Even the asset of playing in a power conference with key strength and conditioning coaches goes a long way. The transformation players bodies go through from one offseason to the next has grown leaps and bounds. You don’t see this occurring too often in mid to lower level conferences. It’s happening on the campuses of schools that have the state of the art equipment and top notch strength and conditioning coaches. This also pays dividends in-season as staffs have the personnel to keep a player’s body in preventive mode from injuries while still getting stronger in-season.
Kansas may have 3-5 losses in conference play but should be a solid one seed in March. Look for Kansas to creep down from their current future position as the preseason nears in college basketball. Grab the Jayhawks in future markets at 13-1 to 16-1 odds.