College Basketball: 5 Favorites to Cut Down the Nets During March Madness

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst IFebruary 12, 2011

College Basketball: 5 Favorites to Cut Down the Nets During March Madness

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    March Madness is one of the best sporting events of the year, and it gives any Cinderella team a chance to get the national championship.

    The underdogs are always exciting to watch in the tournament, but it’s the favorites that usually walk away with the title. This year there are five teams that have climbed to the top of the college basketball world.

    Here are the five favorites to win the college basketball national championship in this year’s field of 68.

Pittsburgh Panthers

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    The Big East is one of the most talented conferences in all of college basketball, so it is no surprise that they have a team listed among the favorites to win a national championship.

    The Pittsburgh Panthers have what it takes to cut down the nets when March Madness is over. Pittsburgh is one of the top ranked teams in the country, and they have played very well in a demanding Big East conference. They play well on the road which will be important in the tournament.

    One concern for this team is injuries as leading scorer Ashton Gibbs has already missed some time with a knee injury, but the Panthers are still winning.

    Jamie Dixon has plenty of depth, however, including Brad Wanamaker and Gilbert Brown who both average double digits in the scoring column.

    The odds to win a National Championship include Pittsburgh at 12:1

Texas Longhorns

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    The first team from the Big 12 to check in as a favorite to win the national championship is the Texas Longhorns, one of the best teams in the country.

    The Longhorns have gotten comfortable being ranked in the top five during the season and are arguably the best defensive team in the country. Rick Barnes is preaching defense and strong rebounding to get this team prepared to make a run at the national title.

    Jordan Hamilton is averaging 19 points and 7.7 rebounds to lead the Longhorns, and their most impressive asset is the way the way they attack the offensive glass and set up for second chance shot opportunities.

    The Longhorns are loaded with seniors such as Gary Johnson, Matt Hill and Dogus Balbay who will help come tournament time

    The odds for Texas to win the National Championship are listed at 8:1.

Kansas Jayhawks

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    Bill Self has the Kansas Jayhawks in position to get a No. 1 seed in the field of 68 and make a run for the National Championship.

    Kansas has had experience this year playing against some of the toughest teams in the country as they have played the 15th hardest schedule in the country and fared very well.

    Offensively they are among the best in the country from the floor shooting over 52 percent on a nightly basis. Marcus Morris is the player to watch for the Jayhawks as he averages 16.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

    When Kansas beats a team, they punish them, and more often than not win by double digits.

    Kansas is listed at 5:1 to win it all and will be a team to watch when the madness starts in March.

Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Anytime you start off the year on an impressive winning streak like Ohio State, you have to be considered as a potential team to win it all.

    The Buckeyes sit atop an impressive Big Ten conference that boasts four teams ranked in the Top 25. Freshman forward Jared Sullinger leads the team in points and rebounds and is in the running for player of the year.

    They are the highest scoring team in the Big Ten with just over 77 points per contest and can beat any opponent on any given night.

    The Buckeys are listed at 3.5:1 to win it all at Hollywood Sportsbook, and youth and inexperience could be the only hurdle in their way to a national championship.

Duke Blue Devils

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    The defending champions will always have a chance of returning to the Final Four. Duke won it last year and brings back a team with plenty of experience.

    Coach Mike Krzyzewski leads the Blue Devils and is one of the most respected coaches in any sport. He has a myriad of outstanding accomplishments to include four NCAA Tournament championships.

    Duke has one of the best players in all of college basketball in senior guard Nolan Smith. Smith was an All-Final Four player in 2010 and this year has become the go-to guy on the floor as evident by the 34 point performance in the comeback win over North Carolina.

    He, along with Kyle Singler, makes the Blue Devils the favorites to win it all. A look at the odds to win the National Championship shows the Blue Devils favored at 3:1.

    There is no reason to believe that Duke will not be there again this year.

    March Madness is always interesting to watch unfold and see if a favorite can win it all. This year should be as exciting as ever.

    Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at

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