Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 9:52 AM
Gotta say that if we've heard it once than we've heard it a thousand times in recent days from the various college basketball "experts" out there who claim there are probably 8-to-10 teams that can win it all next month in Atlanta.
We get it, folks: The main gist of what's being said here is that there is no one super-power out there and the distribution of standout teams is indeed widespread - but count us among the folks who believe there are probably more than 10 teams out there than can get hot and win six NCAA Tournament games in succession and so in keeping with this "theory" we'll get you the current "Odds to Win it All" with attached comments for the here-and-now Associated Press Top 25 teams.
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Now, here are the Associated Press Top 25 teams with their Odds to Win it All (and note the figures below are based on $100 per-play wagers):
|1.||Gonzaga||+500||Country's new No. 1 team has it all but can they defeat 3 or 4 consecutive power conference teams in the tourney's final two weekends?|
|2.||Indiana||+350||Nobody moves the ball in the half court like this IU Hoosiers crew but if/when big man Cody Zeller "disappears" than it's trouble time|
|3.||Duke||+600||The return of the smooth-stroking Ryan Kelly has Blue Devils Nation amped but what happens when their 3-ball shots don't drop?|
|4.||Kansas||+1200||Watch out for Bill Self's squad that just now may be peaking as last year's NCAA Tournament finalists are deep, athletic and strong|
|5.||Georgetown||+1500||Player of the Year frontrunner Otto Porter is often a one-man gang but since when has anyone learned to slow him down this year?|
|6.||Miami||+1200||Veteran team really impressed with strong showing in last weekend's 3-point loss at Duke and 'Canes won't fold at crunch time|
|7.||Michigan||+750||Maybe point guard Trey Burke opened up everyone's eyes with stunning finish vs. M-State last weekend but he'll need help late|
|8.||Louisville||+800||Tell us right now that PG Peyton Siva will keep mistakes/fouls to a minimum and w say the 'Ville could give Mr. Pitino another crown|
|9.||Kansas State||+ 5000||The 'Cats not given much of a shot despite top 10 ranking but Big 12's top defensive team could go deep if Rodney McGruder is hot stuff|
|10.||Michigan State||+ 950||Sparty is one tough-minded team but we've been saying it all along that PG Keith Appling is a major-league bust at crunch time|
|11.||Florida||+ 600||Shot selection can be a real problem spot for the Gators who otherwise have all the parts in place and a great tourney coach in Billy Donovan|
|12.||New Mexico||+5000||Maybe it's high time everyone 'round the land discovered G Kendall Williams and F/C Alex Kirk as these dudes could have Lobos flying high|
|13.||Oklahoma State||+5000||Count us among folks who believe these athletic Pokes are real dark-horse threat to win it all as G Marcus Smart could have coming-out party|
|14.||Ohio State||+2000||No reason to kick the Buckeyes to the curb just because they're not a top 10 team anymore as Thad Matta is one brilliant March coach|
|15.||Marquette||+6000||Speaking about brilliant coaches, Buzz Williams deserves Coach of the Year consideration after losing key pieces from a year ago|
|16.||Saint Louis||+4000||Keep in mind the Billikens won at Butler this tear and so there's no fear when traveling outside the Arch City - hey, they are a legit power|
|17.||Syracuse||+1800||The Orange is headed in the wrong direction these days and maybe it's time for G Michael Carter-Williams to save their bacon|
|18.||Arizona||+3300||Never did quite believe the U of A 'Cats were a national title threat and now even Bill Walton says no Pac-12 team will win it all this year|
|19.||Oregon||+10000||The Ducks' dizzying neon uniforms may be all the rage but now-healthy PG Dominic Artis must be perfect to have Eugene kids make a run|
|20.||Pittsburgh||+5000||Wouldn't it be something if this was the year Pitt won it all and than head coach Jamie Dixon said farewell while going off to USC?|
|21.||VCU||+6000||If you're into listing the top tourney coaches than make sure Shaka Smart's on your short list!|
|22.||Wisconsin||+6500||Gotta believe that last weekend's Senior Day loss to two-TD underdog Purdue has everyone in Badger Nation a bit befuddled|
|23.||UCLA||+2500||Maybe freshman phenom Shabazz Muhammad can pull a "Danny Manning" and put the Bruins on his back for a whole month here|
|24.||Notre Dame||+5000||Sorry, but we're never gonna think this oft-plodding team can win it all and especially not with Mike Brey at the helm!|
|25.||Memphis||+8000||It may not necessarily be the glory days for these Tigers but this is their best team since 2008 and so all opponents should be careful|
MORE MINI-TOURNEY NEWS & NOTES
IT'S TIME TO CHECK OUT THE MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE AND THE SUN BELT
If truth be told, this is really the calm before the storm as College Basketball's glut of conference tournaments - or mini-tournies - really will bust loose next week when there will be days/nights when as many as a dozen on-the-board leagues will be in hot-and-heavy action and be sure that we'll have mini-tourney previews on all the conferences right in our in daily Jim Sez column space. Right now we'll stay focused on the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and the Sun Belt Conference Tourney as they swing into action on Thursday and Friday, respectively:
MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT - ScottTrade Center; St. Louis, MO
This now-annual "Arch Madness" is always a rollicking affair and #1 seeds are always getting a major run for their money and that will be no different here with top seed Creighton (24-7) far from a "sure thing" even though National Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott (23.4 ppg) will be the best player on the floor.
The Creighton Bluejays have major firepower while averaging a MVC-best 76.3 ppg but you do wonder if they are deep enough to win three games in three days here (that's Friday-thru-Sunday) and no doubt McDermott can't hit any prolonged dry spells here.
Look for Wichita State (24-7) to make a mini-tourney run here thanks to the MVC's best defense (allowing 60.8 ppg) but the big question here for the Shockers is who takes the last-minute, crunch-time shot … is it F Cleanthony Early or fellow forward Carl Hall?
The Favorite: Creighton
The Dark Horse: Indiana State
SUN BELT CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT - Summit Arena Court; Hot Springs, AR
This Friday-through-Monday shindig is supposed to be all about the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (27-4) who won 19-of-20 conference games this year with the lone loss coming at Arkansas State way back on January 3rd.
Note that MTSU has won 16 consecutive games while heading into this free-for-all - and you better believe the Raiders will be feeling the heat 'cause this is a one-bid league and so one false step into quicksand will send Middle Tenn to the NIT (again!).
In terms of major threats to Middle Tennessee State here, it's South Alabama that could create problems if F Augustine Rubit (18.9 ppg and a 48.4 percent shooter) can get hot and carry the Jaguars who enter the mini-tourney winners of nine of their last dozen games.
The Favorite: Middle Tennessee State
The Dark Horse: Arkansas State
NOTE: Stay on top of all the College Basketball action all week long right here at Jim Sez.