2012 NCAA Men's Final Four

March Madness 2012 Schedule: Odds for NCAA Championship Contenders

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 13:  Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes cuts down a piece of the net in celebration of their 71-60 win against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the championship game of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 13, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Justin WeltonAnalyst IIMarch 11, 2012

Winning the NCAA Tournament is an extremely difficult accomplishment. Winning six games in a row against quality competition, against different styles of opponents and against teams that could get hot from the perimeter provides a challenge that few teams are capable of surpassing. 

With that being said, the odds of even the major teams in the tournament should be low when you consider everything that could happen in a one-game elimination tournament.

That's what makes college basketball so great—anything can and will happen.

Let's dive into the odds of legitimate championship contenders for the 2012 NCAA Tournament. 

Kentucky Wildcats - 17 percent

Kentucky lost one game all season and that was to Indiana at Assembly Hall on a Christian Watford buzzer beating three-pointer.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 11:  Terrence Jones #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats goes up for a dunk in the first half against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the championship game of the 2012 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 11, 2012
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

This team is the real deal.

With first-round NBA talent across the board with Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague, this is one of the best, if not the best, John Calipari teams in his career.

Just because they're the best team doesn't mean they are a shoe-in for champion. That's why they play the games. 

North Carolina Tar Heels - 15.6 percent

John Henson's wrist is a little bit of an issue but I think he'll be fine for the NCAA Tournament. When he is 100 percent healthy, North Carolina, the Preseason No. 1 in college basketball, has the talent to win the national championship.

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11:  Tyler Zeller #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels walks on the court during player introductions against the Florida State Seminoles during the Final Game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on M
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Like Kentucky, the Tar Heels have NBA talent, but they're mixed with a coach who has won the tournament before.

North Carolina will be a tough out with their dynamic offense. 

Syracuse Orange - 15.2 percent

I love Syracuse and their underrated talent. Despite all the off-the-court issues this season, the Orange have a team capable of winning the national championship.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Dion Waiters #3 of the Syracuse Orange reacts after making a three point basket in the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the semifinals of the Big East men's basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden on March
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

They have experience with Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche and Kris Joseph, they have depth with C.J. Fair and Dion Waiters and they have Fab Melo who is a difference maker in the 2-3 zone.

Syracuse can win a national title with this deep and talented crew.

Kansas Jayhawks - 12 percent

Kansas has the experience to make a deep run in the tournament. Thomas Robinson was fantastic this year, posting 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 09:  Assistant coach and former NBA player Danny Manning talks to Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the second half of their 81 to 72 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks during the semifinals of the 2012 Big 12 Men's Basketb
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Jeff Withey improved drastically this season in the pant. 

Tyshawn Taylor is the key for the Jayhawks. He can play great for stretches but fade in others. If the Jayhawks make a deep run, Taylor will have to play consistently well. 

Missouri Tigers - 11 percent

Missouri has unbelievable guards capable of taking over in the NCAA Tournament. Their downfall, however, is their size. How they use their guards on offense will be a tough matchup for opponents but they will have to defend, too. 

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10:  Kim English #24 puts his arm around Michael Dixon #11 of the Missouri Tigers in the second half against the Baylor Bears during the championship game of the 2012 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 10,
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

It hurt them during the year and I wouldn't surprised if it came back to bite them again

Michigan State Spartans - 10.2 percent

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans talks with Adreian Payne #5 against the Wisconsin Badgers during their Semifinal game of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Never bet against Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans. Izzo is a tournament coach that preaches defense and rebounding. They compete at a high level in the tournament, and they have the talent to go against the best in the country.

Don't be shocked to see Michigan State in the championship game. 

Ohio State Buckeyes - 9.8 percent

 

Jared Sullinger has turned it on down the stretch in the Big Ten.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10:  Jared Sullinger #0, Evan Ravenel #30 and Deshaun Thomas #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate on the bench against the Michigan Wolverines during their Semifinal game of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Basketball Conference Tourname
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With their experience, I wouldn't be shocked if Ohio State made a deep run into the tournament after their hot finish. 

Other - 9.2 percent

Let's be honest here, this year's tournament has the capability of having four mid-major schools in the Sweet 16 if not more. There are several mid-major programs and power conference teams that have talent capable of making deep runs. 

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Head coach Shaka Smart of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams reacts from the sidelines against the Butler Bulldogs during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on Apri
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Aside from the top of the field, there is enough talent down the line that several teams could get hot and win a championship. 

Duke with their three-point capabilities highlight the field of others. 

Knowing how many teams are in the field, I think that the "other" category is deserving of 9.2 percent. 

MARCH MADNESS 2012 Schedule

Selection Show (March 11) - CBS

Play-in Games (March 13-14) - truTV

First Round (March 15-16) - CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV

Second Round (March 17-18) - CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV

Sweet 16 & Elite Eight (March 22-25) - CBS & TBS

Final Four (March 31) - CBS

Championship Game (April 2) - CBS

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