Butler’s two-year run and VCU’s run last season certainly gives hope to every Division I basketball team in the nation, but the reality is that most times one of the preseason favorites is the team holding the national title trophy at the end of the NCAA Tournament. Connecticut was somewhat of an exception this past season, opening up at +1800 to win it all, but was still regarded as one of the best teams in the Big East before the season started.
Turning to the 2011/2012 season, all the early buzz has focused around North Carolina. The Tar Heels have been opened by BetDSI.com as the current odds-on-favorite at +200 to win it all next season. The decision by freshman Harrison Barnes to return to school next season rounds out a North Carolina roster that will also feature Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Dexter Strickland. Add in a top-notch recruiting class that includes standouts such as James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston and you have the makings of one very talented team.
Kentucky made it all the way to the Final Four this past season with three freshman starters and is expected to be right back on top next season as the second favorite at +650. The Wildcats will most likely lose Brandon Knight and Terrance Jones after only one year with the team, but they still have a solid core of talent in Doron Lamb, DeAndre Liggins, and Darius Miller. Even if any of these players decide to jump ship, Coach John Calipari’s has once again found a way to secure one of the top recruiting classes in the country. He has received commitments from Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, and Marcus Teague, who are all considered the top player in the country at their position along Kyle Wiltjer, who is the No.15 ranked player in the nation overall.
The fact that freshman sensation Jared Sullinger’s decided to forego the 2011 NBA draft to return to Columbus for his sophomore year immediately keeps Ohio State as a solid contender for next year’s title with odds of +800. Sullinger has already shown the ability to carry a team much like Kemba Walker did with Connecticut this past season, but will be surrounded by two quality players in Aaron Craft and Will Buford, who are holdovers from last year’s roster. The Buckeyes will also have a solid recruiting class led by center Amir Williams and guard Shannon Scott; putting them in excellent position to make a legitimate run at a national title.
Another team to watch is Syracuse at +1000. The Orange’s only major loss from last year’s team is Rick Jackson as they will still have Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine for one more season to make a run at a title. Syracuse also has an excellent recruiting class led by 6-foot-9 center Rakeem Christmas, who is the 19th ranked overall player in the country. It also signed guard Michael Carter-Williams, who is ranked fourth at his position and 20th overall.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.