Have we learned much in the early going of the 2016-17 college basketball season? Duke remains the +300 favorite to cut down the nets next April but we haven’t seen the full force of the Blue Devils yet as three highly touted freshman have yet to make their season debut. But once healthy, Duke will prove worthy of being the team to beat. Here’s a closer look at the college basketball champsionship odds.
Updated College Basketball Title Odds (November 14th)
One night in and we have our first upset of the college basketball season: Wagner 67, No. 18 UConn 58. pic.twitter.com/mqCpu3nzWh
— ESPN (@espn) November 12, 2016
Coach Mike Krzyzewski hasn’t yet played his five-star freshman trio of Marques Bolden, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum as all are dealing with leg injuries. Giles, who underwent a left knee arthroscopy in October after rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered last November, will probably be out the longest.
Krzyzewski said Bolden is “getting better,” but said the team is being cautious with Tatum, who sprained his foot during practice in late October. No. 1 Duke faces No. 3 Kansas on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden at the Champions Classic. Duke has opened the season with back-to- back victories for the 33rd time under Krzyzewski and the 69th time in program history.
“I can’t give you a time,” said Krzyzewski after the game against Grand Canyon. “I don’t anticipate [Marques Bolden, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum] to play on Tuesday. They may not play the whole week. So we have to prepare the way we have our team right now with nine guys.”
Duke guard Matt Jones said despite all the Blue Devils’ injuries, he still expects to win the game. The Blue Devils have blown out Marist and Grand Canyon to open the season.
“We’re a team of no excuses… We feel that Duke wins games like those. Coach is a competitor and we feed off that," Jones said. "Me, Amile and Grayson have been in plenty of games like that and we expect to win as well.”
Kansas is +800 to win the national title but is 0-1 entering Tuesday’s game. The Jayhawks were beaten by a very good Indiana team 103-99 in Hawaii as four KU starters fouled out. Kansas had forced overtime by overcoming a five-point deficit with slightly more than a minute remaining. Senior guard Frank Mason posted a career-best 30 points while also leading Kansas with nine assists and seven rebounds. Mason scored the Jayhawks’ final 11 points of regulation, three times scoring a layup while being fouled to erase a multi-possession Hoosier advantage. Friday’s contest featured 16 ties and 17 lead changes, surpassing KU’s 2015-16 season high of 13 ties in three overtimes against Oklahoma (Jan. 4, 2016). Last season’s season-high 18 lead changes came against Kentucky (Jan. 30, 2016).
Kansas and Duke are two of only four NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs with 2,000-plus all-time victories: Kentucky (2,205), Kansas (2,186), North Carolina (2,177) and Duke (2,087). Kansas is facing its first No. 1 foe since the Jayhawks defeated USA Today Coaches Poll No. 1 Oklahoma, 109-106, in triple overtime on Jan. 4, 2016, in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas is facing an Associated Press No. 1 team for the 24th time in school history and the first time since the 2014 Champions Classic where it fell to Kentucky, 72-40, in Indianapolis. Kansas is 7-16 all-time versus the Associated Press No. 1.
I would take Kansas on NCAA basketball odds for Tuesday’s game but Duke’s better when healthy. The Blue Devils still have five other former McDonald’s All-Americans who figure to give Kansas all it can handle, including leading scorer and national player of the year candidate Grayson Allen along with super sixth man Frank Jackson.