Return of Big Man Zach Edey Makes Purdue a Team to Watch out of the Big Ten
With the NBA Draft in the rear-view mirror and most of the movement in the transfer portal pretty much wrapped up, a pecking order for the 2023-24 college basketball season is coming into focus. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 2024 College Basketball championship odds.
It should not come as a surprise to see Blue Blood programs leading the way with Duke and Kansas currently having the best odds with Kentucky not far behind.
Purdue’s Zach Edey is the only member of the first or second All-American team headed back to college, and that will make the Boilermakers a team to keep an eye on during the chase for the national title with defending national champion UConn a team that can’t be counted out despite seeing Jordan Hawkins, Andre Jackson and Adama Sanogo head off to the NBA.
Here’s a look at how things currently stand as Duke, Kansas and Purdue have the best odds to reach the Final Four.
Blue Devils, Jayhawks Lead the Way
Once Kyle Filipowski decided to return to Duke, that would make the Blue Devils one of the teams to beat.
Despite Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively turning pro, the Blue Devils return the top four scorers from last year’s team with Filipowski, Jeremy Roach, Tyrese Proctor and Mark Mitchell as well as another highly touted recruiting class.
Kansas will look much different with top two scorers Jalen Wilson and Gradey Dick off to the NBA and other players also moving on.
Former Michigan star Hunter Dickinson will join returning Jayhawks Kevin McCullar and K.J. Adams and Dajuan Harris.
Arterio Morris transferred in from Texas, Towson’s top scorer Nick Timberlake while Kansas native Parker Braun returns home after playing the last two seasons at Santa Clara.
Seven players transferred elsewhere, but only two averaged more than 10 minutes per game as Kansas is tied with Duke at +1100 in the 2024 College Basketball championship odds.
Big News in Big Ten Country
It was significant in more ways than one when 7-foot-4 Zach Edey made th the decision to return to Purdue after averaging 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game during his breakthrough junior season.
Add in the return of freshmen Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith, senior Mason Gillis along with Southern Illinois transfer Lance Jones, and it is no wonder that Purdue is priced at +1200 to win the national title, according to the 2024 College Basketball championship odds, after falling short in the postseason a year ago.
What About the Defending Champs?
UConn will miss the sweet-shooting Hawkins, who turned the four-point play into something of an art form, dominant post player Sanogo and the energy of Jackson.
After solid freshman seasons, look for Alex Karaban and the 7-foot-2 Donovan Clingan to have even larger roles as sophomores Tristen Newton, Hassan Diarra and Samson Johnson are also returning. At the same time, Stephon Castle leads one of the top incoming recruiting classes so UConn, priced at +1600 in the championship odds, could make a run at another title. Seeing where the Huskies land in the college basketball rankings will be interesting.
Kentucky has seen its odds move from +1200 to +1600. The Wildcats will look much different without Oscar Tshiebwe playing in the low post, and that could mean more of a perimeter-based offense.
Jacob Toppin, Cason Wallace and Chris Livingstone also turned pro, while point guard Sahvir Wheeler transferred to Washington.
Antonio Reeves will team with the well-traveled Tre Mitchell and the top-ranked recruiting class led by Justin Edward, Aaron Bradshaw, DJ Wagner and Rob Dillingham.
With leading scorer Tyson Walker, A.J. Hoggard, Jaden Akins, Malik Hall and Mady Sissoko coming back, Michigan State could have one of the most experienced teams in the country. That has played a role in the Spartans’ championship odds going from +1800 to +1600. The NCAAB predictions could see the Spartans playing for a while when March Madness rolls around.
Best of the Rest
Marquette (+2000) will join UConn, Creighton (+3000) and Villanova (+3000) as contenders out of the Big East and more Big East teams could factor into the conversation.
North Carolina had quite the fall after playing for the national title. Many are calling for a bounce-back season. Still, there is a wait-and-see approach with the Tar Heels priced at +2500 to win the title after coming at in +1800 not too long ago.
Houston (+2000) and Texas (+2300) are teams to look out for in the Longhorn State with Arkansas (+2000) and Gonzaga (+2500) also in the mix.
Alabama has headed in the wrong direction, going from +1800 to +3000. Baylor also is dropping a bit, moving from +2500 to +5000.
When looking at the NCAAB schedule, Miami-Kentucky, Xavier-Purdue, Iowa-Creighton, UConn-Kansas matchups are among some of the non-conference games to watch.Follow us on Twitter
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