As midnight madness, and the beginning of college basketball season, approaches tons of websites are counting down their lists of schools from worst to first. That's too slow, so let's take a look at the three schools that have the best odds to go on and win the 2012-13 Men’s NCAA Basketball Championship according to the fine folks at the Bovada Sportsbook.
With 17/2 odds, the Louisville Cardinals have the third-best odds to win. With a fine blend of youth and experience, Louisville boast stars like Peyton Siva, who helped carry the team to the Final Four last year, and a healthy Wayne Blackshear can really turn the tides in the Cardinals' favor. New faces in Luke Hancock and Montrezl Harrell will make immediate contributions.
Head coach Rick Pitino has always been at the top of his game, leading his teams to Big East titles as well, including last year's victory.
Ahead of Louisville are the Indiana Hoosiers at 8/1. The school hasn't won a Big Ten championship since 2002, nor have they advanced past the Sweet Sixteen round since that year either, but with a revamped squad and high expectations placed on them by head coach Tom Crean, things are looking up for the Hoosiers.
Indiana has all five of its top scorers from last season returning, which has catapulted the program up the charts in many preseason power rankings. Cody Zeller is a preseason first team All-American and has been selected by The Sporting News to be the National Player of the Year. Flanking him are Christian Watford, Victor Oladipo and Jordan Hulls, who are all also racking up preseason accolades.
However, those schools will have to find a way to topple the Kentucky Wildcats who, with 13/2 odds to win March Madness, are Bovada's top choice for the national championship. Head coach John Calipari led his squad to win last year’s tournament after going 16-0 in regular season play in the SEC. Overall, Calipari is 102-14 as a coach since taking over the program three years ago.
Kentucky has seen a lot of turnover, with John Wall, Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague all making quick stops at the school before jumping to the NBA, and now with Anthony Davis gone as the NBA's top draft selection last summer, there's a void to fill on the roster. That spot may be taken by freshman Nerlens Noel who is already drawing comparisons to Davis because of his similar size, skill set and unique hair — at least his is on top of his head.
With a week left until Midnight Madness, it's time to start organizing your picks for the 2012-13 college basketball season.