The UConn Huskies dominated a chaotic 2023 NCAA Tournament to win their fifth title in the last 25 years. They cemented their status as a blue-blood basketball program with a 76-59 victory over San Diego State in the national championship game.
Dan Hurley’s squad won all six games of the tourney by 13 points or more, overwhelming the likes of Arkansas, Gonzaga, and Miami along the way. The scariest part is that UConn only had one senior starter, and even he has an extra year of eligibility.
If Adama Sanogo chooses to not test the NBA waters, UConn figures to be a favorite to repeat as national champs. Even if he does move on, though, the Huskies have a loaded roster and are capable of being in the mix.
It might seem too soon to be looking at the national championship market. After all, the transfer portal is loaded with talent and many rosters remain unclear at this point in the offseason. But the unknown is when bettors can take advantage of the best prices.
In fact, UConn was listed at 80/1 to win the national championship at one point last summer. San Diego State was being offered at 100/1 and came one win away from securing the first national championship in program history.
With that in mind, here is a look at a few teams to keep your eye on in the national championship market this offseason.
Best Bets to Win 2024 National Title
Duke — During Jon Scheyer’s first season at the helm, Duke failed to win a weak ACC and was bounced in the first weekend of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. But that doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story.
I was impressed with Scheyer’s ability to make midseason adjustments while his team was hit with the injury bug. For example, Tyrese Proctor was moved to point guard as a freshman and the offense really hit its stride after that. Duke won the ACC conference tourney in impressive fashion.
Proctor is set to come back, as is Mark Mitchell. The Blue Devils also bring in another loaded recruiting class that features three five-star recruits. You will see this team ranked near the top of many of these way-too-early rankings, and they should definitely be in the mix next spring.
Creighton — Were bettors one year too early on the Bluejays? After everyone bet on Creighton to win the national championship last offseason, I wonder how much support this team will get this time around. The Bluejays ultimately lost to San Diego State in the Elite Eight.
But the Bluejays were at their best near end of the season, going 6-2 in the month of March. They finished as the No. 12 overall team in Ken Pomeroy’s end-of-season rankings. With a chance to bring back a bulk of the roster, Creighton should be treated as a serious contender in 2023-24.
Kansas State — Let’s start with the obvious. Kansas State is losing its top players in Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson after they led the program to an Elite Eight appearance. It is going to be difficult for the Wildcats to make another deep run without bringing in some serious talent.
But we honestly shouldn't doubt Jerome Tang at this point. In his first year as a head coach, he led KSU — which was picked to finish last in the Big 12 — to 26 wins and a No. 21 ranking on KenPom. Believe in Tang, especially when there are some intriguing long-shot prices on the Wildcats once again this summer.
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