If you’re getting ready for 2015 March Madness betting, then chances are that you’ve already given Kentucky an automatic pass to the championship. After all, the Wildcats have been truly dominant this year while posting a 29-0 record and garnering all 65 first-place votes.
Assuming Kentucky can finish the last part of the season strong and make a run through the 2015 NCAA Tournament, they’ll become college basketball’s first undefeated team since the Indiana Hoosiers in 1976. So does Bobby Knight have reason to begin sweating his legacy?
If we simply base this off history – where only seven teams have run the table – then no, Knight’s place as coaching the last undefeated team will continue. But then again, the Wildcats are about four-fifths of the way towards tying the ’76 Hoosiers. So who can taint their record before they complete the historical feat? Here’s our odds on which teams have the best chance.
1. Wisconsin: 25-3 record, 8-to-1 odds of winning
While Wisconsin lost a close game at #14 Maryland, they are still in the hunt for a number one seed come tournament time. Senior 7-footer Frank Kaminsky (17.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG) continues to be one of the toughest matchups in the nation with his ability to also hit three’s (39.7%). The Badgers also close out the boards and play strong fundamentally, which will serve them well against any cold-shooting team – even Kentucky. Additionally, they can employ a slow tempo that frustrates more-athletic teams.
2. Arizona: 26-3 record, 12-to-1 odds of winning
Led by freshman forward Stanley Johnson (14.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG), Arizona still has a solid shot at a number one seed when the 2015 March Madness field is decided. The positives of this team include that they’re extremely athletic and can actually match up with Kentucky in this regard. However, the downside is that they’re also upset prone and can look very average at times.
3. Gonzaga: 29-1 record, 12-to-1 odds of winning
The huge benefit for Gonzaga is that, like Kentucky, the Bulldogs are destined for a top seed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. This is of course due to the fact that they play in the weak West Coast Conference. But despite the competition level, the Zags are no doubt worthy of being a national champion. Especially when considering their strong backcourt and big size in the paint. 6’10” junior forward Kyle Wiltjer (14.6 PPG) is part of the size factor, and he can also step out and hit the three (46.5%).
4. Duke: 26-3 record, 12-to-1 odds of winning
Jahil Okafor (18.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG) is considered by many to be the best player in the nation, while fellow freshmen Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones have also played really well. Considering all of the talent here, Duke has an opportunity to thwart Kentucky’s title plans. However, they’ll have to overcome a lack of senior leadership to make a strong run through the tournament.
5. Virginia: 27-1 record, 12-to-1 odds of winning
After winning 30 games last season, the Cavaliers are once again making a run at this number in the always-tough ACC. Their lone loss came to Duke, but they’ve beaten everybody else through a combination of balanced scoring and excellent offense. On top of this, they’re also very athletic and are another top team that can match Kentucky in this respect.